Friday, January 12, 2018

A Day in Switzerland

I have come to a conference in Lausanne to present a paper- it would have been so nice to have spent longer here, but I thought that I would be paying for it myself (the University took a long time to approve funding and consented just before Christmas), so I'm doing it on a nano-budget.
I have seen things from the train (regrettably, not a double-decker, although they had those in Geneva).
It looks like a giant version of Northumberland.
There are huge pom-poms of mistletoe growing in lots of the trees.
There are chicken-yards next to robot factories.
The water in the streams and rivers is a beautiful shade of turquoise.
I have learned...
Swiss people are kind and considerate (a man leaned over to a stranger on the train and offered to lend her his iPhone battery charger when her iPod appeared to have run out of power).
Swiss Youth Hostels are like British hotels.
Quite a lot of French can come out of my mouth if I don't think too hard about it.
I can understand 25% of a French academic paper just with my school French, and because a lot of academic terms are very similar.
It's tiring working out what the remaining 75% means.

Last night I did an interview about my research for a Swiss radio station, so more about that when it its broadcast.

It's a bit cold and misty out there; the guy in the Youth Hostel recommended the beautiful views of the mountains if you walked to the University from the Youth Hostel, but nothing was visible today and a troupe of extremely hungry swans pursued me across the grass from the water's edge so I scooted up here pretty quickly. There's no snow in this part of Switzerland in spite of the avalanches in the Alps; its the same as January in London, minus the dirty drizzle and noise, although it's very much roads'n'rail.
Oh yes- there is some amazing graffiti here.

Countdown to presentation time....


Steve Jillings said...

As someone who lived in the Suisse romande and who could often be found spending weekends in Ouchy and idly gazing across Lac Leman, I have to admot that comparisons with Northumberland passed me by I'm afraid. Then again, I guess I'm technically from 'darn sarf'

Helen McCookerybook said...

I think maybe you had to be there.

Helen McCookerybook said...

Where's the best place you have lived Steve?

Steve Jillings said...

Hi Helen, that's a really difficult question, but in terms of quality of life and life, work balance I'd have to say Neuchãtel, Switzerland wins hands down. Used to spend a lot of time in Lausanne (it is a bit of a "hipster" city and the Suisse Romande's version of Zurich in that score) and Bern(e), just across the cultural border between French and German Switzerland - seriously, living in Switzerland with it's different cultures and languages was like visiting four different countries without ever having to pass through immigration.

Trouble is we discovered that Mrs J suffers from SAD - winters could be brutal (-30C anyone during our 2nd year there) and so the opportunity to relocate "here" (midway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara) was just too tempting - we've lived here now for 12 years and as far as my wife (and Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino) "it's the only place to be."