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!


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.

A Day Out in Bern, Switzerland

Bern means bear in German. Bern actually does have some bears too; they’re kept in a wide-open (but closed off) space by the river. I of course had to take a picture of the Chinese lantern in the market because every time I see anything Chinese now it’s like, “Hey, y’all! I was jist there!”

The bread shaped like a little man? He looks like this guy from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. And the guy in a black cloak on the ground? How much does he look like Yuababa’s twin sister in Spirited Away right before she transforms into a bird? (sorry, couldn’t find an image link for the uninitiated).

While walking around the market I found that ring, which looks really cool and was pretty old – guess how much it was? 300 Swiss francs (at this exchange rate, over 300 USD). Yikes.

Oh and yes, that statue is eating small children. If you want to know what these different places are, just let me know 🙂

Last Night a Man Bag Saved My Life

Bags are a vital asset to any man’s wardrobe, be they totes or backpacks or messenger bags. Prada or Gucci or vintage or Pucci (Pucci doesn’t make man bags), it’s all good. I think if I had to write a list of priorities for the future it’d be something like:

1) Civil equality
2) Worldwide women’s liberation
3) Man bag de-stigmatization

You don’t have to be ashamed to grab a bag as you walk out the door! Be free! Raise it up! They’re super practical, too. You can use them to lug around your concealer InStyle fishing poles. SO this particular one is actually vintage and MAN IT IS A BEAST. I’ve been looking for a bag in this style ever since I fell in love with Proenza’s PS1, but wanted something more masculine (erm, that one’s a purse anyway ha) and also not $1,500. So this was great! I bought it at a market in Paradeplatz here in Basel. If you’re from here/know here then that will maybe mean something to you. Although it might have been another Platz…I’m only 75% sure about the Parade-bit. Anyway, the guy was selling all of these old bags he said he brought into town from Bern. Most of them were old book bags, leather bags actually meant to carry nothing more than a book or two (tough leather rectangles). They were cool but this bag is the pièce de résistance of vintage man bags, if I do say so myself.

Peace Out, Z-Town

1) I’ve never read those Dragon Tattoo Girl books, but that hard-looking chick with the red hair? That’s what I imagine a girl with a dragon tattoo looks like.
2) Switzerland has its own Subway mascot named, “SubWayne,” and he is definitely smoking a doobie in their advertisements.
3) They sell Magic cards in vending machines here. Sexy.
4) Hahaha, there is a chain of gyms here called, “Athleticum.” Yeah.
5) No worries, dad! I didn’t buy anything at either of the stores featured, I just make sure to visit stores when I’m in an area because I’m obsessed with design and retail. The first pics are from The Apartment Store. There’s a lot of A.P.C there, for interested parties, and they also have Aesop products. The second batch of store shots are from Making Things, Zürich’s answer to the Opening Ceremony/Colette store model. They had a lot of knits and rugged-outdoorsy-inspired pieces that cost more than a lumberjack makes in a year. There’s also a Salvation Army across the street.
6) And that’s an Alaïa. At Trois Pommes. Switzerland’s chain of high-end boutiques. Go to thems if you like touchin’ fancy things. And then awkwardly deflecting questions of, “What were you looking for?” and “Would you like to try that on?”