Swiss Sporting Events

Post by Lauren

Everyone was off of work Monday for the national holiday. It was the first one Gabe had taken since everyone in the US continues to work (and need things) on his Swiss holidays. We had planned it to be leisurely and imagined it like the tranquil scene below:

However, things got a bit “sporty”.

First, we met up with the group down at the river. Since Geneva has a plethora of yacht owners, they have been talking about taking out their “yacht” on the lake or the river ever since we had met. They had launched about an hour prior, and this is the scene to which we arrived:

We rode around in the yacht (or at least some of us did, as we couldn’t all fit at the same time with the picnic) for a little bit and hung out in the sun. Note the patriotism demonstrated by crew.

After we discovered how strong the current was after all the rain, we realized that it was going to be hard to get the ship back home upstream. Therefore, we had to come up with an alternate plan. It involved Adam scaling the wall.

Once the yacht was aboard land, we came up with an another activity as can be seen below. I was a chicken at first but the group quickly convinced me to partake in the fun.




A traditional Chinese treat!

Post by Lauren

Sunday night, we had a culinary treat when R & L invited us to their home for a traditional Chinese dinner. We had tried their fabulous spring rolls before at an earlier Canadienne Buffet party, so with the anticipation, we lightly picnicked for lunch on the way back from Lyon so that we would have plenty of room for the delights.

And we were so glad we saved room! They cooked a magnificent feast for us and we got to try ten different Chinese dishes. They were all A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! It was so hard to pick what to go back for second bowls of as everything was so unique and tasty. I think we both ended up trying everything twice.

While we love Chinese food in general, our prior experience had only been limited to USA-style. So, this traditional family-style meal was a first for Gabe and I. It far exceeded the Chinese we had ever had before, so now we are spoiled 🙂

All the girls decided we need to teach each other how to cook different dishes that were our “specialties”, so I certainly look forward to my Chinese lesson someday soon. I think Gabe looks forward to me getting this lesson too!

Thanks for hosting such a lovely evening, L & R !!!

Happy Swiss National Day

Post by Lauren

Happy Swiss Day, everyone!!! Just to give some perspective, the 1er août (said premiere-oot) is like the equivalent of the 4th of July for Switzerland. They decorate everything all over the city, and of course, everything shuts down in true Swiss holiday tradition.

They even changed the trash bags out in honor of la fête!

We wanted to get the hard-boiled eggs featured below to celebrate in style, but forgot to get them 3 days in advance before all the stores closed for normal Sunday and Holiday Monday.

Based on taking French from two Swiss-French teachers, I actually know some history on this holiday. My AIWC teacher, Esther, loves to teach us little things about history in basic French, which is really appreciated by all of us. So, here goes:

In 1291, in early August, there was no Switzerland. There were constant attacks of other countries wanting to conquer the areas which now are Switzerland. Three independent republics made a pact saying they’d protect each other, which formed the groundwork for the later development of the Confederation Helvetica, or CH.

Still today, all the cantons operate independently, with their own police, transportation, taxation and school systems. There are four different languages spoken in Switzerland, and the canton official language depends on your geography. This system allows different geographic regions to still exercise their historical preferences, but still be a part of the overall country of Switzerland.

Based on this date back in 1291, they have a fête on the 1st of August every year to celebrate this confederation of Switzerland.

We checked out the festival this evening in our city, Geneva, which has quite a big to-do. However, this type of festival takes place all over Geneva in all the little towns and villages. They say you can go out to the mountainside and it is quite a sight to see the bonfires in the distance. S taught me that the bonfires symbolize the communication the towns had with each other as that was their only method back in the day. Therefore, bonfires and lanterns are some of the characteristics of the 1er août fête.

Check out some of the scenes from the fête as well as a video of the huge bonfire in the park!