About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


We checked out of the hotel this morning, but left the car in the parking garage a few hours.

Katrina wanted to visit a photography museum before we left Lausanne. Brandon and I would find a park and hang out until she was done.

First off, we stopped at Starbuck's for breakfast. After breakfast we caught the Metro and rode it to our various stops. Brandon and I got off first, near the park. Katrina continued on to the stop near the museum.

Katrina visited Musee d'Elysee. Brandon played in the park while I read my book. I've been reading Clive Cusslers' "Night Probe".

The park had some cool features, including the clubhouse.

About an hour and a half later we received a text from Katrina that she was about finished at the museum. We decided to meet at the top station of the Metro line.
On our way back to the car we stopped at Starbucks and McDonalds for some lunch to go...how American of us.

Our drive to Geneva took about an hour. We arrived at our hotel, a Novotel, in the early afternoon. After checking in and getting settled in the room, we headed into downtown Geneva.

But first, we had to stop and take pictures of the sunflower fields near our hotel.

Katrina was excited to see sunflower fields near our hotel.

We thought this sign was funny - no peeing, no dogs, no dancing, no graffiti, no throwing bottles over your shoulder.

We found parking near the main train station and headed towards the waterfront. Our plan was to ride on the tourist tram to get an overview of the city. The downtown waterfront area was a crazy mess of people, cars and closed streets. Apparently August 1 is a holiday in Switzerland - Swiss National Day.

We found the trolley stop but had to wait about 30 minutes for it to return. Brandon bought some popcorn to help kill time.

The trolley ride around Geneva was pretty intersting. Its amazing how many international organizations have headquarters in Geneva. Our tour took us past many of these places, through the old city area, the waterfront and up into the hills along Lake Geneva for a grand view of the city.

Headquarters of the International Red Cross

United Nations

Broken Chair

I just thought this building was fun to look at

Lake Geneva

We thought this was funny. Apparently our tour included a stop at a Swiss gas station.

At the end of our tour, which lasted almost two hours, we walked through the festival on the waterfront then found a restaurant for dinner. Italian was our choice for today.

We spent the evening walking along the waterfront, people watching at the festival, watching all the carnival rides, and looking at art along the promenade. The was also a large print display of photos taken in Chernobyl, 25 years later. Very interesting.

Recycled art

Brandon went through one of the fun mazes

Around 10:30pm the sky erupted in fireworks. We watched most of them before heading back to the car then back to the hotel for the night.

Tomorrow we head home, about a 4.5 hour drive back to Italy.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Today we toured Lausanne.

First stop of the morning was a cafe for tea, cappacinno and juice. Then we started our Rick Steve's walking tour.

Lausanne is the Olympic Capitol - its been the home of the International Olympic Committee since 1915. The Romans founded Lausanne along the banks of Lake Geneva. With the fall of Rome and rise of barbarians, the locals fled up into the hills, where todays old town lies. Today, Ouchy is the waterfront district that thrives on tourism. Lausanne is home to 125,000 inhabitants. The city has a very progressive city government that subsidizes are and cultural events.

We followed the Rue du Grand-Pont through the pedestrian zone and the high end shops, towards the cathedral on the hill.

Views of the city

Rooftop garden

This fountain caught Brandon's attention. The sphere spins while water flows around it.

Brandon and Katrina spotted this in the pedestrian zone.

Near the top of the fill sits the Cathedral, an Evangelical Reform Church. This is the biggest church in Switzerland, at more than 300 ft long.

Inside of the Cathedral - Evangelical Reform Church. The pipe organ is American made by Fisk, a Boston company. It's worth is estimated at 4 million SF, about the same in American dollars.

From the cathedral we continued uphill to the castle. This castle is closed to the public. The statue is of Major Davel, a local hero. At this point Brandon took control of the camera.

Castle - photo by Brandon

Major Davel

Photo by Brandon

Artistic shot - photo by Brandon

Katrina - photo by Brandon

Playing with bees - photo by Brandon

Photo by Brandon

I am the Rick Steve's tour guide - photo by Brandon

Swiss postman - photo by Brandon

Our tour turned back downhill past the Cathedral and down to Place de la Palud and Place de la Riponne. We hiked down quite a few flights of stairs to the main pedestrian zone to see the Foutain of Justice.

Stairway down the hill - photo by Brandon

Fountain of Justice. I guess its being worked on. - photo by Brandon

Well, the fountain wasn't up and running at the present time. Lunch time. Katrina wanted to try the White Elephant, a restaurant we passed back on top of the hill. Back up the stairs we climbed and climbed, but it ended up being well worth it. Lunch was excellent. They serve only the daily special, and today it was salmon with rice. Wow! Brandon had a half portion and should have had a full portion. He loved it. If you are ever in Lausanne, try the White Elephant. It's located halfway up the street that leads from the cathedral to the castle...on the right.

Back up the hill we go - photo by Brandon

White Elephant

After lunch we walked back down the steps and into town and wandered around a bit. Brandon spotted a toy store, so we checked it out. We worked our way toward the main station and caught the Metro down to Ouchy, the waterfront.

Slide inside the toy store

This is how they clean the pedestian zone...with a Glutton.

Giant Swiss Flag - photo by Brandon

The first thing Brandon spotted on the waterfront was a playground, so he played for awhile. Katrina and I found a shady spot to talk and read.

Photo by Brandon

We wanted to walk along the waterfront, so we pulled Brandon away from the playground. There is a nice paved promenade that runs along the lake. Out on one of the points, we stopped and enjoyed some gelato. Once again, Katrina and I found a shady bench, ate our gelato, talked and read. Brandon finished his gelato and ran around for awhile.

Peddle boats with slides

Coca Cola themed peddle boats...I love it!

Brandon and I watched a game of chess

Waterfront park art

Katrina wanted to check out the Olympic Park, located on the lakefront, so we headed that way. The park is where many of the Olympic headquarter buildings are located, as well as walking paths and a sculpture garden. We found a bench and did some more reading - noticing a trend here?! Brandon ran around with the camera and took pictures of the sculptures.

Photos by Brandon

We were tired and hungry, so we headed back to Metro and rode it up into the old town. We had dinner at a Mogolian grill - similiar to the one in Corvallis. Wow, that was good. And a German beer to wash it all down.

Back to the room to call it a day. I went down to the bar, drank a beer and worked on my blog until my battery ran out.

Tomorrow we head to Geneva.