Sunday, January 21, 2007

I've been in Nyon, Switzerland for the past week. I'll be here a few more days, until I fly back to London on Wednesday. Loving it here. Can not wait to spend more time here in the future! I'll be in London about a day before taking the train out West to my beloved city of Bath. The rest of the weekend will be spent there with my mother's friend and her family.

While here in Nyon I have spent most of time with my cousin and her two small children. But on Friday my Uncle and I took the day to visit the UN. The only building open for the public to tour is the Palace of Nations. We took the hour long tour in English, as neither of us have our French skills up to snuff yet (slash at all). We wondered the halls that Kofi Annan and now Ban Ki-moon, have no doubt walked through. We sat in conference rooms that the General Assembly have met in, where peace agreements have been made and conferences of great importance have been held. Here is an interesting fact that I am sure very few would know about the main UN grounds in Geneva- peacocks can be found roaming the grounds. The land the UN now stands on there was left by a wealthy Swiss family under three conditions. One of these conditions was that there always be peacocks wondering around. Odd but interesting.

Yesterday the five adults and two kids loaded ourselves up into the European minivan/station wagon and drove for an hour and half to go to the annual hot air balloon festival. To the disappointment of my cousin I did not seem enthused enough at the prospects of a hot air balloon festival. However upon stepping out of the car after a semi-long journey into the crisp Swiss Alp air and looking out into the amazing vista and seeing bizzarro balloons floating about the sky- I changed my tune. I had expected to see the same scene I had when living in West England. During the summers there it was not unusual to see the sky dotted with half a dozen or more hot air balloons. What I saw yesterday was much more entertaining however. We stood within a few dozen yards of ballooners filling their balloons and preparing them for launch. These were no ordinary hot air balloons either. I saw colorful ones, small ones that held one person in a chair, huge ones that held 10 people in its basket. I saw one that was shaped as a newspaper, one as a horse and unfortunately one shaped as a clown. The mild winter that Switzerland, as well as much of Europe in general, has been experiencing was both nice and unfortunate. Normally snow blankets the mountains and creates a fresh palate to walk on, instead we drudge through thick mud. But where we normally would have bundled in order to keep from freezing, we were able to walk around in sweaters and some in only t-shirts.


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