Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sliding down Mountains and other Winter Highlights

I was very pleased to have Brian here with me for 12 days over Christmas. After my busy trip to South Africa, my project milestone presentation, and then company, Christmas, and New Years, I have lots of catching up to do on just about everything: vacuuming, laundry, photos, emails, thank you cards, bills...School is on track though. :) Here's just a bit of what I've been doing since I returned to Switzerland, and I'll try to post some further updates soon.

Here we have my wonderful little brother and my wonderful Christmas tree--my two favorite things in my apartment for the past 2 weeks! Dom and I picked out the tree just before Brian came. I was delighted to have such a tall tree (2 meters!) but when I got home and started to put the lights on, I realized it wasn't a proper* tree at all, but a cactus masquerading as a Blue Spruce. Even with gloves, decorating was a painful process, and that's why the lights look like I just threw them at the tree and left them where they landed.

We spent a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon careening down the side of a mountain toward Grindelwald. Skiing is a possibility yet for this year, but sledding is still my preferred means of transportation down steep white slopes.

I'm standing here around the corner from the cable car stop at First.

We came around a bend in the path and slid to a stop right in front of Restaurant Rasthysi, where the old man who made my Irish coffee had a wonderfully crinkly face, like many people in the mountains do, and he was playing Mark Knopfler in the background, and was kind enough to talk to me in Swiss German, though I could tell from his eyes my accent amused him. According to the trusty internet, his name might be Mr. Rolf Schneller.

This building is across from the Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen. This is the largest waterfall in Europe if I'm not mistaken, and so that you, too, can experience the falls, I've procured this video for you.

Imagine everything grey and dripping, and you'll have a good idea of what it was like the day Brian and I were there with Hans, Dom and Ben. Ben hopped on one foot the whole length of the footbridge that stretches across the waterfall, because I bet him he couldn't. I owe him a franc.

We took a day trip to Luzern with Janet and a new friend named Nargess.

Brian and Nargess and some kid we don't know were racing on a rowing simulator. I competed once too, but I fell off my seat and then my feet were stuck in the stirrups and everyone beat me while I was still trying to get back in the saddle.

We are standing at one end of the famous wooden bridge in Luzern. This one was made by the same guy who made the bridge I jumped off in the summer (remember that? they're very similar bridges, only the one I jumped off is longer). One more Bridge picture for the fun of it. You're sure to recognize this:

Annnd, there ya have it. Installment one of blogs about the holidays, the Christmas sight seeing, and my time with Brian.

*No, I do not consider cacti proper trees, no matter what your taxonomy book says.


  1. Calling me an unrefined Philistine, huh! That's the second time in two days I've been called that by a Swiss person; Yesterday I dared toast some pretzel bread in front of Dom and affirmed that yes, I'd even toast Zopf. He thought that was despicable.

  2. I have to ask: is the fact that he was playing Mark Knopfler a good thing or a bad thing? Because if you thought it a good thing, you have just won a new fan in the form of my brother. "Local Hero" is just about his favorite movie ever, and Mark Knopfler holds a similar position as a musician. Henceforth you will no longer be known as "Stephanie, Janet's Friend," but "Stephanie of the Most Excellent Taste." :)

  3. yes! that's an upgrade! :) I love Mark Knopfler music.

  4. I have to admit that I think being Janet's friend also shows excellent taste, but I know I'm prejudiced in the matter.

  5. Indeed you are! But I agree. She's a special lady and a pleasure to know.

  6. Good thing I catch up on blogs occasionally or I would have missed this opportunity to grow red in the face. ;) I didn't see much of Brian, but the time we had was a pleasure. So glad he could visit!

  7. It will be great to watch Mark Knopfler, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.