Sunday, May 24, 2009

Un bon weekend

Thursday, I went sailing with a group of friends in Rapperswil, on the south side of Lake Zurich.  It was a lovely day, and though the wind was elusive at first, everyone got some good time on the boat.  We planned a pique-nique (that's French for pic-nic) for dinner, and Silke and Olivier pull out a camp stove, fondue pot, wine, nutmeg, pepper, garlic, a huge loaf of bread and a large quantity of cheese.  They proceeded to make fondue over the camp stove.  It was quite merry.  

My grad student, Aline, invited me to her parent's home in Neuchatel this weekend.  We left on Friday and got in a good wander around the old town.  There was a castle, an old prison tower, a protestantized cathedral and a lot of cute little streets.  There was also some sort of ancient bicycle convention and about 200 people rode around town on those old bikes with a huge front wheel.  Costumes included.  The town is really old (14th century?) and a lot of the old buildings are yellow-hued with colorful shutters.  There were lots of sidewalk cafes and happy looking people going for their afternoon stroll.  There were a couple of lovely gourmet food shops with charcuterie, artisan cheeses, and italian imports.

Her home is up in a valley about 5 km from the lake.  They have a breathtaking view of the valley which is currently checkered with yellow safflower fields and dotted with quaint little towns.  I met her family, who were quite charming, and got to practice my French listening skills.  I think they actually increased dramatically this weekend.  Rather I just remembered.  It's been about 6 years since I studied French after all.  And they have cheese after dinner.  

More on the rest of the weekend tomorrow.

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