Friday Hikes in the Swiss countryside

Post by Lauren

I had taken a sabbatical from Friday hikes for awhile because of my feet, but started back up for the past two weeks. I absolutely love the views walking in the countryside, so was grateful for time outdoors. Here are a few snapshots :

AVUSY, a 50 minute bus ride from center city Geneva:


GLAND to ROLLE, a 15-20 minute train from Geneva’s main station:

The great news is that between this and Burgundy last weekend, I have a lot more painting inspiration. I hope people like vineyards 🙂


Gratitute Friday: Painting en plein air

Post by Lauren

It’s been a great week…..I got to paint 3 times outdoors in the last 8 or so days. I am very thankful for the burst of beautiful weather before we head into winter here in Switzerland.

The first time, I painted on the right bank, and had a glorious view of Mt. Blanc. You have to look really hard at the above photo, but you can see the snowy white mountain range almost disguised by the clouds. Here was the result:

The second time, I did the left bank in the financial district. This little guy kept hanging out after I shared a part of my baguette.

The third time A met me. It was the best time for three reasons. One, I had company. Two, she brought wine. Three, some Americans tried to buy her painting on the spot. An interesting time!

Bon weekend, everyone!

My first Swiss Painting

Post by Lauren

So, you may have noticed on our post about our new home that our water closets have an “interesting” tile color.

I took some inspiration from the Friday hikes I do with the American International Women’s Club to try to improve the situation. Two weeks ago, we hiked through some wheat fields from Jussy to Vesenaz and some of the natural yellows in the wheat fields and paths were similar to our the bathroom. So, I figured it might help our visitors not concentrate on the tile-work. Let me know what you think on the “match”.

Also, I thought you might want to check out a few photos from the hike that provided this inspiration and also see the faces of some of the wonderful women who have helped me feel more at home here in Geneva.

Gratitude Friday: Curiosity and Learning

This week’s gratitude post goes out to curiosity & learning.

This is top of mind because we traveled to the U.K. this week. So, after 3 jam-packed days of absorbing everything we could culturally, visually, and culinary about London, I did what I always do when we go on a trip that involves a historical destination….search for all possible books, movies, wikipedia articles, etc. to learn even more about where we just were.

When Gabe and I went to Greece last May, even before arrival back to the US, I was watching Alexander in our hotel room, shortly followed by 300 and Troy. Much to my happiness, my bible study group was also starting a study on the book of Esther the week I returned and so that whole 2 month study included more snippets and context about Xerses & the Persian Empire around the Grecian times. I think I may have driven the ladies crazy trying to encourage them to watch 300 & Alexander to get a better picture in their minds of that day & age!

Exploring Greece, 2009

So, in London this week, we learned a ton about the monarchs, particularly Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria and Lady Jane Grey. So they are on my list to absorb all literature, information I can about female monarchs and the wives of Henry III. Last night, I watched Elizabeth for the second time – it put our Tower of London visit and the story about her time in captivity there into vivid picture vs. my first viewing. I also need to re-watch The Other Boleyn Girl…its been a few years.
Also, another fascinating area for me was the devastation to London during The Blitz and the stories from those who lived through it. This was started in the US, when my book club read The Postmistress and The Gurnsey LIterary And Potato Peel Pie Society last year. We had also read Sarah’s Key that shed some light on that horrific time. Reading historical fiction helps me have more empathy and understanding for what the people who lived through that time went through. Both Gabe and I really wanted to go see the Churchill Museum (recommended by our friend Nick) but we didn’t have time this trip.

I also added Oliver Twist and The Canterbury Tales to my must read list too based on seeing some of the streets in our touring. I particularly felt more compelled to read some of Dickens work since Gabe and I enjoyed a few beers in the pub basement which he frequented. Just kidding…but still, its time to re-read some of these classics, especially since many times the classics are free on Kindle.

Seeing a show at the Globe was a highlight for me. I must re-watch Shakespeare in Love as it provides a fun look at this Elizabethan era, while not historically completely accurate.

Also, for more regarding the last century, Notting Hill, Alfie, Love Actually and Bridget Jones Diaries. Mainly, just so I can continue to hear more British accents (love them!) and potentially see familiar scenery from London.

Anyhow, back to gratitude:

-I am just very fortunate to be able to go on these trips to historical sites to inspire me to keep learning more and more.

-I am grateful for living in a day and age where travel & the quick dissemination of information is possible. Building on that, I am thankful for Wikipedia, iTunes and Amazon for letting me feed my habit from Switzerland. If it wasn’t for that technology, I’d be impatiently waiting for my first trip back to the US to stock up on knowledge in the English language. And I’d have less room in my suitcase for enchilada sauce.

-I am grateful for still having the love of learning. I love being a “sponge”.

-I am also grateful for my husband putting up with my habit and not minding too much. Thanks, babe (didn’t you want to see Young Victoria this weekend??)!

-A bonus “shout-out” to my book club ladies in Charlotte, NC for contributing by recommending these great historical fiction novels!

Book club at my house, circa 2008

My last Book Club @ Tara’s April 2011

So, what do you love learning more about??