Has Spring Sprung?

Was today’s warm weather light at the end of the tunnel? Or will we be plunged unceremoniously into chilliness and gray again next week? Ugh, fingers crossed. You can never tell with Virginia!

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It’s That Neu Neu Thing

A Gray Day in Lucerne/Luzern

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tonight we went out to eat in an old castle that used to have a moat around it, but the moat had been replaced with parking and grass. We ate a lot of food (duh), and then I found out after dinner that the chef (a French guy) had actually lived in Charlottesville from 2000-2001, working at Keswick. That’s what being abroad really drives home – well two things actually: 1) the world is HUGE and you’ve seen nothing of it and 2) the world is TINY and you will find someone who is connected to you in some weird way, wherever you are. So we chatted a bit (he saw George Bush and Michael Jordan in the same day while visiting DC…I think that’s what he said) and apparently he wants to move to Canada (?) and live with beavers and fake French people. Joke! I’m sure America’s hat is awesome. Joke! Well, not about the awesome part of course. (Oh man I should probably visit Canada sometime soon, huh? I’m so ig’nant).

Oh and those pictures are of Lucerne. Funnn!

Even though the weather was a bit shite I still actually pretty well enjoyed myself. I realized once I was walking up near that giant wall in my pics that the ALPS were surrounding the city and there was water and trees and leaves…it was pretty dern pretty – like being in Narnia without unicorns or talking animals or ice queens. Enjoy!

La-La-La-Lausanne

Trying something new…how does this look in ya’ll subscribers’ e-mails? Bad/good? Do we hate it love it?

The Last from Geneva

Let’s see…a funny sign for cleaning up your dog’s crap…a little boy playing hide and go seek…hot shoes by a newly discovered brand Swear London…um, the “baby lady boutique” (barf)…an Irving Penn exhibit…I wonder if that really belonged to Ines de la Fressange (no I’m sure not) and an awesome bike shop. Ta-da!

Not Just Another Pretty Place

Geneva is in the French part of Switzerland. What’s weirdest about the language divide here is just that – the divide. It’s not like everyone speaks a little French or a little German or some combo of the two plus some Italian. It’s like one train stop you’re completely immersed in the French language and EVERYTHING around you is in French…then one town over EVERYTHING is in Swiss German. Weird.

This being a trip that I planned, everything got screwed everything up, again. I took the right train, but missed my connection, having failed to realize I had a connection to make. Then I got on another train that I wasn’t allowed to take and kept my fingers crossed tickets wouldn’t be checked. As soon as I took a seat I saw the security guard. He came into the car and looked right at me, but I didn’t motion to take my ticket out of my coat and, amazingly, I think he assumed he’d already checked my ticket! He started checking with the people in the seats behind me. I definitely didn’t have a valid ticket for that train, so…there is a God. Then as soon as I got off the train to embark on my daylong journey around the city, the strap to my new old backpack snapped. Snapped! Just like that. I guess the leather was too dry. I was able to tie it together, but it’s a bit too short now and not particularly comfortable – that’s what she said! Sorry I had to, oh man I’m so immature :/ it’s so terrible! 😦

I heard more English in Geneva than I’ve heard in all the rest of Switzerland, and I got the impression there were a lot of graduate students there. At lunch I totally eavesdropped xxcore on these guy’s (who I’m assuming were studying something like public policy) conversation which went something like this: “blah blah blah dams are an inefficient source of energy blah blah that’s why Poland joined the EU (laughter).” They’d probably never even seen one episode of the Rachel Zoe Project, but I did learn from them that apparently farmers in the Gruyere region don’t like biological methods of farming because they “don’t like being told by the central government what they already know better.” {I told you I eavesdropped xxcore – I was eating alone!}

I tried Couchsurfing in Geneva, but it didn’t work out so I stayed in a Swiss hostel and I have to tell y’all, I hated it. It was Institutional and Cold. It was like a correctional facility or a hospital. And there was only one in town. And it cost 35 francs (just under 40 USD). For a SINGLE BED. In a dorm room I shared with EIGHT people (including an eighty-year-old man who came in shirtless and started burping. I was really worried he’d start farting/lose control of his bowels in the night, but I got lucky!)[which means those things didn’t happen.]

I also stopped in a bookstore where I was reminded of paging through the book reviews in French Vogue – I was always stunned to see how “un-designed” the French covers are. In the US we must definitely judge a book by its cover because our cover designs can be so elaborate! But looking over the French titles I couldn’t help but wonder if our covers aren’t just overwrought? Maybe our attn spns r shrtr.

Anyway, this is a picture of small adorable babies. They’re all different colors so they could all be mine! That’s how it works, right? SOO CUTE.

This Haus is Not a Home. It’s a Bookstore.

This is a bookshop called Domus Haus. I spent a few hours there yesterday, poring over design books (my fave is Turning Pages: editorial design for print media. w00t fanboy luv.) I also found my new favorite magazine at Domus, Apartamento, a worthy successor to my dearly departed Domino. The interior editorials are down-to-earth, and the photos are more inviting/flavorful than the stand-offish pages of, say, Elle Decor (barf). Apartamento = Domino – girlishness + The Selby x hipsteryness. It looks and feels like something Gert Jonkers and Jop Van Bennekom would endorse. In the stacks I also found Self-Service (plus back issues) and Purple, although I can’t afford either right now {do I want to?}(someone can – Purple’s Lindsay Lohan covered-issue was there when I first stopped in, and this time it was gone! I wonder if she’s a selling point in Switzerland?)

Tomorrow morning at 8am I head off to Geneva. Then Saturday I’m in Lausanne and some other French speaking towns. Fun! but also DIE. 8am = too early – morning person x agony. No posts for at least three days! Ahh! And I won’t have my computer?? END OF THE WORLD. This sums up how I feel about that (be sure to read the caption at the bottom for the full effect).

You Can Always Go…Downtown (Basel)

Just out walking for an afternoon…oh, but that blurry hand? I stopped to ask this guy for directions and noticed his ring. It is awesome. But I didn’t want to stop him in the middle of explaining to me how to get to the Rhein and say, “continue talking and gesticulating as if I’m listening, while I frame up this shot of your hand.” So I put my camera on “burst” mode and tried to catch the shot without looking. Hahaha. So the camera focused on the background…CAMERA FAIL>

I had my first “night on the town” in Basel last night – went to a bar to meet up with someone from Couchsurfing. Nothing earth-shaking, but at least I know for a fact that there is life in this town after 8pm.

I need a haircut. I am “woolly.” I also need to shave – I have unofficially and accidentally embraced the spirit of “no-shave November,” so now I look like Abe Lincoln (according to a friend who saw me on Gchat). Sexy.