Saturday, April 07, 2007

Spring Break Euro Style...

The past week has provided for a mixture of emotions and experiences.

Saturday: I had intended to productively spend the day working on papers and reading in quiet anticipation of the looming arrival of a dear friend. What I actually spent the day doing is emailing, surfing the web and watching movies. That is until my computer crashed. Upon freezing, I turned of the machine only to find that it would not boot-up. It was also around this time that I noticed for the first time a extremely small dent right about where my left wrist lies on the computer. To this day I still have no idea how it got there. After feverishly texting varies computer savvy members of my family across the Atlantic I got a call from my Dad with various suggestions. I ended the night early so stressed that my computer was still not functioning and in anxious anticipation of my friend's arrival the next morning.

Sunday: Before beginning the two hour trek across town to Heathrow airport I made one last attempt to start up my computer, to no avail. After waiting at Terminal 3 for about an hour I got a call on my cell from my friend saying she was infact at Terminal 2. Hugs and exclamations of joy and excitement were quickly shared between the two of us. We returned to my room in East London to allow her to shower and drop off her stuff before heading into Central London for the remainder of the day. I of course made a quick stop at the Apple Store to make an appointment to meet with a "Genius" to get my sick computer well again. The idea of having to rewrite the 5,000 word paper I had tremendous effort to finish weeks before its due date ran through my mind and caused me great pain and stress. After being assured my work was 'save' and making an appointment for Tuesday afternoon, we headed to Buckingham Palace and then Knightsbridge Tube stop.

Monday: We began our day with craned necks looking up at Big Ben, followed by a walk around Parliament. The majority of the day was spent walking around Leicester Square and lunch in Chinatown. We also hit up shops at Oxford Circus and made a quick stop in Harrods. Dinner was spent in a traditional English pub with fish and chips and a pint of cider, I hate beer. After two pints of cider one tends not to be in the mood for a lot of walking, so we decided to randomly jump on the next bus that came our way and see where it took us. Needless to say it was a late night.

Tuesday: Unfortunately for my travel companion much of the day was spent in the Apple Store, too much. I am greatly sorry to inform you that my hardrive on my less than a year old computer is kaput. I was able to make a cd copy of my work but was forced to buy an external hardrive from which I now run my computer off of. An internal hardrive replacement will have to wait until I am back in the States, where they can be purchased for cheaper....and by my father (hopefully). The evening was spent walking down Piccadilly Circus wondering through my two favorite book stores and practicing our fake English accents.

Wednesday: A hurried morning was spent packing bags before heading to the Tate Modern. After a world win tour of modern art we sped back to my room to collect our bags and head to Luton airport. This is when I got stressed. I do not handle travel time deadlines well. My friend spent hours convincing me we would indeed make our flight and I sat staring at my watch chewing my gum with ruthless gusto. We infact made our flight with mere minutes to spare. With the stress of travel behind us, we landed in Geneva airport with a sigh of relief and renewed joy and excitement. My cousin and my travel buddy spent hours talking middle school science teaching strategies while I sat making sarcastic comments in regard to their bizarre interest in a subject I have yet to find use for.

Thursday: Sleeping in is just not an option when your on a couch in a living room with a one year old pulling your hair and a three year old asking why you are 'still' sleeping at 7am. My travel buddy and I threw on some clothes and with bleary eyes walked down to the local grocery store for some provisions. After a shower and delish pastries we took the train into Geneva where we spent the day shopping and perfecting our British accents.

Good Friday: With the sun rising over the French Alps in the foreground, we sat eating pastries and sipping tea. Breakfast turned into a five hour affair as we chatted, laughed and marveled at the view on the balcony of my cousins condo. I now have my first European sunburn. By the time we were showered and walking through town it was well after 2pm. Only pausing to take pictures and declare how cute everything was we headed to the local creppery. We returned to the condo to bake brownies and have a few amaretto sours on the balcony before heading out to an evening event. After this the giggles began. The first episode of which revolved around trying to open a wine bottle. Now, I am no novice at this, much to my father's chagrin im sure. However, the corkscrew opener found in my cousin's kitchen seemed to be beyond my middle school science teaching friend and myself. We were finally forced to walk across the street head down in shame, wine bottle in hand to my aunt and uncles to ask that they open our bottle. Upon returning the evening festivities began. A selection of cheeses purchased the day before provided for intrigue, as we had no idea what exactly we had selecting. French is not our first nor second language, it is however to be found on all the food labels we had purchased. I hardly need add this adds an element of surprise to one's dining experience. As the evening progressed the wine bottle was finished, the cheeses sampled and the conversation progressed to full giggles surrounding any number of bizarre and intriguing questions and statements. As is common for any and all of our "study sessions", late night chatter and mid day analysis.

Saturday: The phrase of the day was "Euro chic". This also usually induced giggles. After an early morning scramble to get ready and a quick run to the train station we boarded the train to what I referred to as "Domoarigato". A two hour train ride found us in Italy. We spent the following three hours wondering small back roads, marveling at the surrounding Alps and living in the moment. For lunch we bought ourselves cheap boxed wine and a small pizza, after all, were in Italy. We found a piazza and anchored ourselves to a bench for vino tasting and people watching. Once sufficiently toasted we hooked arms for support and meandered the streets before taking the next train back to Switzerland. Just prior to leaving Italy however, I was overcome with the desire to pee. It was at this point that I found my first squatter in Europe. I do not recommend downing cheap wine and then attempting the feat of squatting while using the restroom. Needless to say the following train ride past quickly as we both slept our way to Bern. The day ended with dinner, amaretto sours and quiet reflection on the weeks interludes.


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