La Suisse!

Posted on March 10th, 2012 by

Now that it’s been quite some time since my last blog (my sincerest apologies), I’m finally sitting down to tell all of you what life has been like since settling into my new home in Nyon.

My weeks are pretty much filled with lectures, excursions, and homework. We’ve had a few pretty cool outings to the United Nations and the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva. The lectures have all been interesting, and getting the chance to speak with people who have on the ground experience with different sorts of international humanitarian efforts has been fascinating.  While I thoroughly enjoy most (I don’t know if I’ll ever find the joy in international economics) lectures, I don’t know if I would enjoy working for any of the international organizations we’ve learned about.  I’m not really sure what it is I’m looking for, but I don’t think I’m going to find it with the EU or other IO’s.

Zurich, Switzerland ...a great place!

The weekend of February of 3rd-5th I went to Zürich, Switzerland with a few girls from my group. Zurich is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and is North East of Geneva….but then again,  any city in Switzerland is pretty much  North East of Geneva.  Zürich and Geneva are two completely different cities, from their languages to their mannerisms, and general sense of street cleanliness (Zürich is definitely cleaner, in my opinion).  So it’s very bizarre to realize the two cities are actually in the same country. Everyone talks about how cool it is to be able to get on a train and be in another country within 4 hours, but I think it’s cool how you can spend 2 hours on a train and be in a city that FEELS like it should be a completely different country. Ohhh, Switzerland.

 

That weekend also was one of the coldest in Switzerland all winter.  Being from the great state of Minnesota, I rarely underestimate Mother Nature’s ability. Even so, 2 jackets, 3 pairs of leggings, 3 pairs of socks, and legwarmers were no match.  We were troopers though! We didn’t let the freezing cold interfere with our seeing of sights. The first night there, we wandered the city and found a relatively cheap pasta place (12 Swiss Francs= 13/14 USD). Saturday, we spent our day touring the city and taking in all the beautiful architecture.  We saw a number of different churches, including St. Peter’s Church with the largest clock face in Europe (28 ½ ft is what I’ve heard). We also walked along the Bahnofstrasse. Supposedly it’s one of the most expensive and exclusive shopping streets in the world, which is why I was utterly baffled when I walked right past a Claire’s teen jewelry story…I literally don’t think there could have been a store I expected  least.  We aslo bought macaroons (another Zurich claim to fame) at Sprüngli, visited the FIFA headquarters which was my personal favorite activity of the day –although the grounds were closed for the weekend. You would think that with the FIFA’s open, honest, and generally just good business (just kidding, everyone) they would AT LEAST leave their grounds open to the general public on a Saturday. Alas, it was too much to ask.

FIFA headquarters

Before we left Sunday morning we went to the Swiss history Museum. It was interesting, but the museum was huge and the amount of stuff you could see was overwhelming. I definitely got lost a few times. And after about an hour of reading every sign and stopping at every exhibit, we decided a general brisk walk through was necessary if we wanted to make our train on time.  Overall, it was an excellent trip and I really enjoyed my time in Zurich.

The next weekend, my friend Hassie came to visit.  He stayed with family right across the border in France and spent the weekend touring and seeing all the beautiful things Geneva had to offer….well, sort of.  This weekend was also extremely cold. His first day here, we headed out in the general direction of Lake Geneva, only to make it about a block. The wind was unbearable so we decided to call it a day, get something to eat (it’s always fun to inform people how expensive Geneva really is), and head back to his relative’s place.  Hassie’s relatives, or as he describes them, “they’re not technically family, but they’re kind of like family,” were amazing! A very hospitable Italian couple who displays their world travel souvenirs and collections on pretty much every inch of wall possible.  That Friday night, Hassie and I sat down to dinner with them, even though we had just ate in Geneva. That next day, after attempting to get some reading done (to no avail) I met up with Hassie again , the weather wasn’t as bad as the previous day’s, so we decided to take a walk in Geneva and see the “old town.”  I really enjoy going into the old town. In my opinion, it’s the most interactive place in Geneva. There are tons of small boutiques, pubs, churches and other old buildings to admire, it really is a beautiful place. The rest of Geneva is really only made up of different organization’s and corporation’s headquarters….places you can’t enter without some sort of special identification or permission. Sunday was spent showing (I use that term loosely as I’m still trying to figure this town out myself) Hassie the city of Nyon.  What was particularly cool was that after the freezing cold and windy weekend the entire path along the lake was covered in ice. Literally, the docks, the stone ledges, the path, the trees…it was all ice.  It was a really cool thing to see and I’m glad Hassie was there to share in the experience!

The gang goes to Zurich!

The following weekend, after Hassie’s visit, my program and I went on a field study trip to Brussels, Belgium and Paris, France. I’ll save all of that for my next blog (which won’t take me another month to post, I promise), this one is already long enough!

 

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