Well at least it will be my last day if I sober up and get out of here in the morning. The day was a drunken blur. With some reading and napping. Hope to leave in 10 hours. I am drunk now and maybe Ill write more if I clean up in the next few hours.
I came to Switzerland at the perfect time. From what I heard they had a relatively dry winter and it only picked up in the last couple of weeks. Today the temperature raised another few degrees outside to make it a nice day, around 45 f. With this climate shift comes a whole lot of water that seems to start running off of everything around making puddles during the day and slippery patches of ice at night. I have almost fell on my ass more than one time recently.
Since the snow has gotten too wet to snowboard on lately (by Swiss standards, we’d still love it in California), I spent most the day hiking around the local town, doing a bit of blogging/internet research at my free WiFi bench, reading Narcissis and Goldmund, napping, and just having another great Swiss afternoon.
During the evening we found out it was Casey’s 21st birthday and we had to celebrate! So I decided to use my hard earned bartending skills to whip up a makeshift shaker and make shots for everyone! Well, needless to say, we drank and drank (someone else’s liquor, because I sure didn’t buy it), after a while I began to take it easy while everyone else began to drink 80proof right out of the bottle (I know I am letting so many of you down). I think I called it a night before everyone else and just landed in my bed with my head spinning slightly. By the way, the ratio at the party was like 14 guys and 3 chicks, sorry Josh, but going to bed early was the only option. (sorry in advance for my offensive use of the word “chicks”, for all you crazy women’s rights chicks out there)
Well today was dreary, and although I did make it up to the mountain to snowboard, after three hours I just headed back to the hostel soaking wet from the rain. It has got a little warmer in the last couple of days and has melted much of the snow from the previous week. I wasn’t too distressed though, I just spent the rest of the day doing my laundry, eating and reading, I didn’t even get up the energy to get my camera out for more than a little while. I starting to delve a little deeper into books about the regions I will be exploring in the next few months, and I started to get excited to move on from this beautiful country.
That brings me to the next part of my adventure that I am going to need help with. Around the 22nd/23rd of this month I will have roughly 3 weeks to wander South Eastern Europe. Where should I go? What do you, my readers, want to see? Romania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia? I am hoping to meet Ed in Hungary the second week of April and work my way north. That gives me about 3 weeks to check out some of the countries I just listed. Which do you want to see? Everyone post a comment with your opinion and let me know. (that means everyone who is reading this, not just my family!). It’s kind of like a “choose your own adventure” book (for those of you around my age).
Wow! Today flew by. I woke up a little late and skipped the snowboarding, well, because I felt like it. I spent the morning wondering around the Alps just taking these pictures and wondering about how a place could be so amazing. I also thought of all the other places I am going to find in the next year. I am on my trip, enjoying it completely, and I can not wait for the next places I am going to see. The day flew by just relaxing, and as Jo Isley calls it “devoid of adult responsibility”.
So I got a message from Matt, my little brother who is in Alabama studying theology, and because of some airline difficulties he is not going to make it to Milan but will be in Rome on the 18th of this month. So I did a little research and decide to head to Rome, where I have never been, to enjoy a sanctified bottle of wine with my baby brother (and his roommate I guess, who I’ve never meant). I am probably going to head out of Gryon, Switzerland on Sat. the 11th, and spend a week working my way south, through Italy,to Rome. Readers be ready for a change from the snow!
I climb out of my top bunk, glance out the window and guess what? Thats Right! Another spectacular day for snowboarding and breathing that beautiful alpine air. I woke up a little late so I skipped breakfast, threw on some snow cloths, grabbed my board and made a straitline to the train up to the ski lifts. I grabbed a couple of crousaints and a banana at the market to eat on the gondola and headed up.
This was the best day for snowboarding yet. It was clear and dry, the only complaint was that it was slightly on the cold side (15 F). But really, who am I to complain. I ended up spending all four hours of my half day pass on the mountain, then headed down to grab some groceries and a bottle of wine for dinner. I spent an hour finishing up “Wicked”, then took a little catnap because I knew it would be a good night because we were headed to town for a pool competition.
Some new friends, James and Dave, and I headed up to compete in a friendly pool game with an assortment of local Brits, Aussies, and French. Needless to say for those of you that have seen me play pool that I was out in the first round, yet I didn’t stress because my 5 franc ($4) entry fee included my first beer. I spent the next hour or two just drinking a few beers and visiting with everyone who is up here working through the snow season. A little buzzed, I took a slow walk back to my hostel for the end of another beautiful Swiss day.
I learned an important world tour photography lesson today, if you leave your memory card in your computer, when you go to take pictures on the slopes your camera won’t work. I sucked a little because this morning was so great that everyone should have seen it. Fresh snow on everything.
The snowboarding this morning on the other hand was spectacular. Nice soft powder, crisp air with a little snow still falling, it was the kind of morning skiers and snowboarders dream of. The day started to dwindle around noon as the clouds rolled in and the mountain quickly became a whiteout. I headed down off the slopes around 130pm when I thought to myself “If I get lost out here its going to take forever to find my way back to town.”
I took the train home, shot a few pictures, had some tea and read my book until dinnertime when I had some leftover pasta from last night. These relaxing days in the Alps are treating me well, I feel healthier than I have in a long time, a few more days and I’ll probably feel like moving on.
Ohhhhh…… my head can still feel the Shotski. It turns out that not everyone around has my standards for buying good vodka. It may be that it was 10 francs (about $7) a bottle or it may be that mixing it with Jello just hurts the brain the next day.
The Alps have a very interesting ability, they seem to suck days/motivation up and trade it for great views, awesome cheese, cold beer and snow. A lot of snow. Those of you out there that I have sent up here in the past know what I’m talking about. A good book, a spectacular view and maybe a walk to the market will make you feel like you accomplished everything in life you cold ever have wanted. I think it is something in the air, it smells so wonderful that you just never want to leave because life really doesn’t get much better. I wish my blog had scratch-and-sniff so I could share it with everyone out there in computerland.
The rest of the day was a rather uneventful day, I made some phone call, had pasta for dinner, watched “Goodfellas”, and hung out in my room and talked to my roommates about travel.
Snow , Beautiful, Snow. And lots of it keeps falling from the sky all day long. I got up early, ate breakfast and decided to snowboard for the day with my new roommates Nick and Jana. Well it turns out, to much snow can be a bad thing, even for a ski resort. Most of the lifts where closed and the only run open was one super long one (about 5k) which took you all the way back to town. In itself this single run was cool, but the only way up from the bottom back to the top was a 30 minute train which was so pack with soaking wet skiers that by noon I called it a day and just set off to find some lunch.
When I woke up on the couch in the common room somewhere around 5pm, my new friends informed me it was friday night and we where required to get drunk. So much for my proposed sobriety. Damn. Spent the rest of the night drinking off the Shotski (a ski that is mounted with shot glasses and 4 people line up and do shots together), doing Jello shots, and having a merry old time. At some point everyone thought it would be a good idea to hike though the freezing cold a kilometer to get to the nearest bar. The walk there wasn’t horrible but did ended with numerous slips and falls onto the wet and muddy sidewalk.
Another glorious day in the Alps.
I was wide awake at 7:30am this morning, still exhausted, but I couldn’t sleep, especially with the glorious Alps sitting outside my window. I got up, went downstairs and realized that I still didn’t have any food. So I headed down to the market to stock up on some eggs, cheese and bread for breakfast.
I decided not to jump right on my snowboard the first day but spend the day just taking it easy, doing a little food shopping, and finally finish recovering from my last 2 weeks of non-stop parties/jet-lag.
Spent the afternoon wandering about looking for whatever I could find and take pictures of. It was cold. Well, I finally found a nice covered picnic table, so I decided to sit and do a little picture work. I turn on my computer and what do I find? WiFi! That’s right you virtual travelers, Rob found the perfect spot, out of all of the little town of Gryon, Switzerland to steal the internet. So don’t worry our daily update will try to remain daily. (unless of course there is a huge storm and I can’t muster up the courage to trek through the snow to my WiFi’d picnic table table)
I spent the evening cooking dinner, reading and having a debate with Nick and Jana about the values of a Capitalistic society vs. those of a Semi-Capitalistic/Semi-Socialistic society.
Other than excitement today was a pretty mellow day, but when you have views like this, who can complain.
Switzerland Railroad Tracks. March 1, 2006
Well for all my talk, my first day was rather uneventful. After my morning layover in Dublin and my pint of Guinness. I boarded my plane to Geneva which should have been a short 2 hour hop. After getting on the plane they let us know that it was snowing in Geneva and it’d be an hour until take off. Bummer. Finally got to Geneva, grabbed my bags around 3:30pm and missed the train heading into the Alps by about 2 minutes, which left me in the train station reading and writing in my journal for about an hour and fifteen minutes. When I finally got on the train headed to Bex (from where I would catch a cograil to Gryon), I missed my stop in Bex and went 20 minutes to the next stop in the wrong direction. I turned around, paid another 7 francs for another ticket to Bex heading the other direction and when I finally arrived in Bex it was almost 7pm (So much for making sunset).
When I finally got to the hostel in Gryon I spoke with my friend Matt, (who works there and wasn’t expecting meus) and he told me the place was full of groups. Well, after shifting me around he found a bed in a room full of tequila drinking South Africans who where on vacation form their jobs in London who have been here for a week. It was the last bed in the place, and after being told “you might have to spend the night on the sofa in the TV room” I really couldn’t complain, anyhow they seemed like nice chaps.
Needless to say by this time it was 9pm and I have been up for more or less for 40 hours, so I drank a bottle of wine I bought from the hostel, chatted with some new friends about their recent and my upcoming visits to Tanzania and called it an early night.
Geneva, Switzerland. Train Station. March 1, 2006.