Sunday, August 31, 2008

30 Here I Come....

...and by the signs of it I am already there. I have been living up my last two-weeks in my twenties. We went to a Counting Crows concert on Friday night ad we sat on the lawn - we ended up next to these very drunk ladies (I am guessing mid-40's) and they were hooting and hollering in their rented chairs. I am all about enjoying the concert but screaming every five minutes for no reason does help with the enjoyment. I turned to Bruce and said - I think I might just be too old for the lawn.

Then there is the bigger problems. I lost my car keys somewhere in my house. This happened Thursday night. I did not lose all my keys just my car key. I drove home Thursday night - I was really tired and I went pretty much straight to bed. All I remember when I was driving home was separating my keys because they were clanging. I have looked everywhere - including digging through the kitchen trash and I can't find them. It is driving me nuts - especially because I don't lose my keys. Is this a sign of what's to come?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Identical Cousins

If you haven't heard the Patty Duke Show intro than you don't know what you are missing (I have posted it below.) However this is the story of me and my cousin Kellie. Kellie is younger than me (pictured on the right) but we have been told that we look a lot a like.

It happened three times this weekend. The first time was when my dad turned to Kellie and told her where her mother (his wife was) yes he thought he was talking to me. Then we sat down at a table and someone asked us if we were identical twins. Then when we said we were just cousins the people at the opposite end of the table said - NO, you have to be sisters. And we politely said no - we are just cousins, identical cousins - then I proceeded to sing the Patty Duke song and everyone looks at me very very strangely - including Kellie. I am not sure if she is as amused with it as I am - but hey what can I say.

I thought it would be funny if I created a merged picture of us both - but funny turned into creepy - but I figured if I posted it maybe Uncle Jack (the lurker aka Kellie's father) would make a comment. So here goes nothing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It Wasn't Pretty - But I Finished

Today, I finished the 10 mile Crim Road Race. We started the run at 8 am and it was already 78 degrees. By the time I got to the 7th mile - I was so hot. This is when I am glad that I am a wimp and I listen to my body - because when I felt that I was going to pass out or blow chunks like many other people did - I just stopped and walked. I finished the race in 1:52 minutes, which isn't breaking any records, but I finished. I have been coming to the Crim Road Race as long as I can remember and this was the first time I ran the 10 miles (with Bruce.) It actually was the first for a lot of people in my family. My Aunt Janet ran her first 10 and my identical cousin Kellie (who came in from DC for the race) ran her first ten.

The 7:11 crew came in town for the big event (MIA Tony and Meghan.) We had fun hanging out and the next event is Urbana, OH for a football game. It should be fun. Well as much fun as you can have a high school football game. Actually we will have more - because that is just our style. It's only been a couple a weeks (2) but it was great to see our friends again. Joe brought Lori and Quinn Robert's fam was back in Ohio because his little one was sick. Karyn ran the 10 too she was our winner - however she couldn't stay for the festivities because she was celebrating her 10 year high school reunion tonight. However I cannot verify this and who knows she may just want to get home to jump on her new trampoline (which by the way sets her up perfectly to compete in the 2012 Olympics.)After the race, it's a tradition in my family to hang out for the big party. Bruce said to my cousin Kellie today that it's about the race not the party. Kellie quickly informed him that he was wrong, and this is a clear sign that he is a new comer to the family, because it is about the party, the race is just a nice event before it. Now when I say party think - huge tent with food and beverages, with live music (DJ at first but then a live band.) This year's high light was the Contours - the one orginal member in the band showed up with his three fill ins for a concert. Now Bruce had to work tonight - so when he left early - he wasn't shamed, not by me or the family. However, I was told that I need to start schooling him on the ways of the Crim. However if you have ever met my family - you would know that it is always about the party. We love to laugh and have a good time and if there is no party - we find a way to make one. Below is a picture with me an my youngest cousin Olivia - she will be 7 this year - which makes her 23 years younger than me - you do the math. She ran the Teddy Bear Trot which is a quarter of a mile - she said to me that when she grows up like me - she will run the 10 mile too - hopefully I will be able to still run it with her.

We stayed at the party until after 2pm. Then we headed back to Lapeer County. My dad and mom drove me (which was a good thing, because I was exhausted.) Plus they had to come get their dog which was at my house I just got out of a much needed shower - I am sure my parents probably appreciate it more than I do. Now I am helping my mom upload her first video to YouTube. Then it will be time for a well deserved nap! So another 10 miler done, however next week will be a big challenge, Bruce and I have an 18 miler on the training schedule. I am hoping for very cool weather, because as I said today - I am a cold weather runner!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I would say I have a little cleaning left to do.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Truth About Me & TiVo

Ok, so this year has been a rough year between me and TiVo. When it comes down to it when didn't have the time for each other. Really it was me - not TiVo. With working and all the grad school classes I had to make choices and despite trying very hard one of those choices meant less time with TiVo.

So now I am back. And to be honest it's been hard for me and TiVo. It's like we had a bad break up and now we are just working on being friends, but we (me) are afraid to jump in and really commit to each other again. What does that mean, well I haven't even turned on the TV with TiVo, instead I have been watching the Olympics from the kitchen or in our bedroom - while folding laundry.

I think there is a bit of nervousness - how much have I missed, what have a missed, how long will it take me to reorganize and catch up on my shows. And to be honest right now I am addicted to the Olympics and not just the Phelps swimming saga - last night Bruce and I watched the finals on the Trampoline - like many of you probably - I was like this is an Olympic sport- who knew and then the most shocking thing (no not that China won gold - because really is that shocking) is that the Canadians rock at the sport. When I think Canadian sports at the Olympics - I think hockey and curling - not the trampoline.

So as I prepared to join the working world again after an unbelievable summer off - I am thinking about how I will patch up my relationship with TiVo - because as the blog states TiVo Changed my Life - I am just hoping that the magic can happen a second time. I am sure it will. If not I will have to change the blog to the iPhone changed my life, because well it has.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back Home As a Graduate

So I am just going to throw this out there - I don't feel much different, not smarter, better looking, older - just nothing. I expect it's like a birthday - when the day finally comes you don't necessarily feel a year older (however that could change come this birthday.) If you have been away or just arriving to this blog - I graduated from grad school on 08.08.08 in Geneva. Thanks for watching: Dad, Uncle Jack and Aunt Mary Ann!

Bruce and I finally arrived home at 1 am on Thursday morning - Thank You Continental. (I hope you read the sarcasm in that.) Since then I have been a cleaning mad woman. I think you could call it nesting. I just am trying to get everything put away before the school year starts. Which should have started on Friday - but the union worked it out so it starts next Wednesday, but these extra days have been much needed.

There is a great relief to graduating though. I don't have this looming feeling that I should be doing something - more important than cleaning. This year, I always felt like there was something else more important or more productive that I should be doing. Anytime I relaxed - I couldn't relax because this guilt would creep in and well there is no point to that.It is also strange too not seeing your friends and professors everyday - when that became the norm for a month in Geneva. Now we are spread across the country and a great deal of planning must go into our next visit. Which for most of us will be next weekend - when we run the Crim. Bruce and I are running the 10 mile, but I am not sure what the rest of the 7:11 crew is planning on doing. I am excited about the Crim, because not only will it be great to see my friends, it will be great to see my family because whether they run or not they are all known to frequent the party afterwards - which has to be everyones favorite part.

As for TiVo - well that is a long story for another post - maybe even today. But for the most part I have been an Olympics addict. When I mean addict, I will watch anything from Badminton to Crew to Fencing to Gymnastics to Kayaking to Swimming. You name it, I will watch it. And I get emotional - I cry like a baby - it's not pretty. But as I write this I think I should be near a television because something must be on that I have to watch - to think of it, I am not even sure when the Olympics end.

My first post from my iPhone. I can't say that it's great - but it was easy and successful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why I Love/Loathe International Travel

I am sitting here at the Newark Airport, 13 hours into our trip, waiting for our connecting flight to Detroit. We have nearly a 4 hour layover so it wasn't a rush - which is good and bad. Good because you don't have panic as you go through customs, wait for your luggage and then try to re-check your bags praying that they will make your flight. However, I am sitting in the A terminal of Newark airport with hundreds of other travelers in these oh so comfortable chairs, just wishing I was home. 

Our flight from London was not so bad. It made it off the ground on time, however, I had a small child sitting behind me that felt it was a super fun game to kick the back of my chair for 7 hours and 40 minutes. His mother seemed to be oblivious of his actions. I tried to get to the Zen place and realize that he is a little boy and it's a long flight - but it took all the I could to not turn around and bite his head off. The other highlight of the trip was when that same little boy broke some part of the seat and the efficient flight attendant came to fix it, but slamming her hand into the back of my seat several times - giving me whiplash - then when I looked back startled she sweetly replied I'm just trying to fix the seat. I understand that lady but a little warning before you body check me with the seat would be much appreciated. I was already crafting my letter to continental airlines to complain. 

Dear Continental, 

I understand that you are now training your flight attendants to defend the plane in case of attack, however could you please encourage them not to break out those skills on defenseless sleeping passengers. For this is what happened to me on my flight back from London - as your flight attendant claim to be fixing the seat, however, I have learned that she has a mean right.

Your Truly,
Jennie "with neck injuries" Holladay

Last time I wrote a letter to an airline, they gave me 500 bonus miles. Oh yeah baby - 500 frequent flier miles closer to a free trip on your airlines instead of paying hundreds of dollars for the same awesome experience. 

Ok if you can tell by now this is my most un-favorite part of the international travel. This day is always the day that I wish I had the money to shell out of first class. As I walk by the huge seats on my way back to coach - I just say small prayers hoping that someday I will be bumped up on a Trans-Atlantic flight.

It's been over a month since I have been home. I was telling Bruce on the plane the two things I missed the most were ice cubes. I am not sure why Europeans haven't embraced the ice cube like we have, but I miss that nice tall glass of ice water at dinner (or any time really.) The second was the frequency of bathrooms - they just aren't as plentiful as they are in the states when you are out in public.

However don't get me wrong - there are things I will miss about Europe. The very convenient public transit system. There are many more but right now I am thinking about home and my dog - Daisy. Well here's to hoping our flight to Detroit takes off reasonably close to on time. Again, I love to travel - I just don't love the current condition of air travel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Two Thumbs Up for Spamalot!!

Last night Bruce and I went to see Spamalot and it was great. It was laugh out loud funny. THis is a good thing because to be honest I have never been able to sit through an entire Monty Python movie - despite how funny people tell me that that are - it just doesn't do anything for me.

We also went to the British Museum, Portobello Road and the College of London (that is where Bruce went to school when he studied here in 1998.)

We are having fun, but are a little exhausted still from our 15 mile run or could it be the 15 month graduate course. Who knows? Today it's more exploring and possibly another play.
An amazing rainbow over Trafalgar Square.
Bruce outside College Hall (a dorm) where he stayed while studying
at the University of London.

That's me holding up a pillar at the British Museum.
That's me decoding the Rosetta Stone.
It took me about 5 seconds (because that is all the time I could stand being smashed by hundred's of tourists.
Bruce and I on the hip Portobello Road.
More Portobello Road shots - on the weekend the street is filled with vendors.
On Monday it's pretty empty.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fish, Chips & 15 Miles

This morning we woke up in London and went running. Training for the marathon has been unique because we have been in Europe for a month of long runs and everyone weekend we have been in a different city. So the first weekend we ran 12 miles in Paris, then 8 miles in Nice, France, then 10 miles in Geneva, Switzerland and today we ran 15 miles in London. 

Bruce and I have been pretty good on sticking to our running schedule. I think last week was the only week that we decided to skip long day (six miles) and replace it with two smaller 3 milers. 

Today's run was through Trafalgar Square, by Westminster Abbey, by Buckingham Palace into Green Park around the park, then into Hyde Park and around the entire park and back to St. James Park. We ended up running around St. James park a couple times, but in the end it was a good, but thoroughly exhausting run. As I told Bruce, we crammed 8 hours of walking into 2.5 hours. 

Then we took a nap - because again we were exhausted. But when we woke up we headed out to walk around. We were famished so we enjoyed the British tradition of Fish & Chips. We bought tickets for Spam-a-lot tomorrow evening. We bought it from a half-priced booth, however we aren't certain we got the best price, but oh well. I think Tuesday night we will head to one of the smaller theaters in our neighborhood - which is advertising a funny play about teachers - which couldn't be more fitting.

We are now back in the hotel - we may go out again, but who knows we may call it a night. I will give a full review of our theatre experience right here later this week.

Friday, August 08, 2008

7:11 Club runs for the last time in Geneva

We took off this morning a little early because three of us are on the graduation committee (Bruce, Meghan and I) and we had to meet to discuss graduation (which is today.) Here's the link if you want to watch at 12:30 pm est.

This morning we took our 2nd annual photos of the 7:11 club on the rock.

The serious picture. We wanted the to dress up our shirts a little hence the tie.

A happy club.
The very happy club.
Look at that gun show!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

6 say Fondue - 1 says Fondon't*

Last night the 7:11 club headed downtown Geneva for Fondue. We went to the Edelweis hotel (which is a total tourist trap) for dinner. When we went in the first thing we heard was the rockin' Alpine Band. The band had two members and many many instruments - of course there was the accordion, the alpine horn, the cow bells and a bowl with a marble. So you know that they were rockin'.When we arrived, we asked for a table of seven. But right before we were seated - Robear (who though has a French-Swiss name, but doesn't like cheese or chocolate) let us know he was going to go somewhere else to eat. Which makes sense if you don't like fondue, but we all think he is just trying to break ties slowly - that way when Geneva is over it will be easier for us all.

During dinner - Meghan, Karyn, Joe, Tony and Bruce took their turns at the Alpine Horn. However Bruce stole the show when he played the Kentucky Derby song - it turns off playing tuba in the high school band helps you become an excellent Alpine horn player. If teaching doesn't turn out well he might just have a future in the Edelweis Band.
Then Robear returned and we all headed down to the Festival. It's the national celebration of Swiss day (which was August 1) and it goes on all week. We went down - enjoyed a crepe and the atmosphere. I think Bruce is the only one who enjoyed a crepe because we were all too full to eat one. However soon after we got to the Festival - Robear headed home. Again, slowly letting us down.

The rest of us headed to the very dangerous bumper cars. I know what you are thinking - bumper cars - that is clearly not dangerous, but oh how wrong you are. At the European carnival - there are no safety regulations. And they could care less if you are wearing a seatbelt. During the ride - one guy got out of his car to complain that his car wasn't working - apparently he was unaware of the pedal on the floor that you need to push. He then jumped back on while everyone else was going and got back in his car - that now worked. However by the picture below you can't tell who is the most competitive person in the group (Meghan.)

Then we headed home, we all reminisced about how we missed the last bus last year - which resulted in us walking all the way home, which is a long walk at midnight just ask Karyn. However this year we made sure that we were on the bus!!! However, Joe decided half-way through our trip that we should recreate that memorable night. So at a bus stop not to close to the John Knox Center - he jumped off. I said, "don't go." I think we all thought that he was going to jump back on at the next set of doors - ha ha real funny. But he didn't and the bus kept going and we stayed on.
Now looking back we probably should have gotten off at the next stop and waited for him - but frankly I don't think anyone wanted to walk more than we already had to. We knew he knew were he was and was very capable of taking care of himself (through Lori's many years of schooling) and making the long walk home. And thankfully he made it back late last night. I am sure if he hadn't arrived by morning we would have sent out a search party. When asked what he was thinking and why he didn't jump back on the bus - his answer was clearly he hadn't put much thought into the decision. In the end it makes for another funny story.

*contribution from Joachim LaValley - please friend him on Facebook - he needs more friends than Meghan. Or you can read his wife's wonderful blog - Tails from the Bird Coach.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wrapping Up Grad School

It's August 6th and I literally have two days left of graduate school before graduation. And to top that off Friday isn't really class it is graduation. Which you can watch live on August 8 (that's 08.08.08) at 12:30 pm EST if you choose. Click here for a link.

Today, I am doing laundry and finishing up the last minute touches on our project. Bruce and I are going to spend a couple days in London after we are done. It should be nice, we are treating ourself to a nicer hotel - it's a graduation present to ourselves.

As I look back at this past 15 months - it's been a whirlwind. Bruce and I started this program expecting it to be challenging and fun, but it fair exceeded our expectations. Most of the course has been online - but as it has probably become really clear if you read this blog - we also spent two summers in Europe. Along with everything we have learned in class, we learn so much more while at our residency in Geneva. We have also had a lot of fun - who knew grad school could be so much like undergrad when it comes to fun.

I've had a chance to go to the United Nations, meet leaders of influential NGO's (non-governmental organizations,) learn new technology, learn how to write grant proposals, travel, join a running club and make new friends (just to name a few.)

Yesterday 18 of us headed down for dinner at my new favorite restaurant in Geneva called Fifty/Fifty. While we waited for the group to arrive, we met a very cute young bartender - who was enamored with Meghan. But despite our pushing and prodding - she wouldn't go on a date with him. (And he did ask - she claims it was because he was only 19 - the general consensus: 19 whatever.) We were celebrating our friend Doug Hart's last night. Doug is heading back home to Michigan, because he just got a new job teaching in Lousiville, Kentucky.

The picture below is from our dinner that was made at our new room (yes we are in a loft room now that has a small kitchen.) It is much nicer than our older room, it's usually where the professors stay when they come. Bruce and I lucked out!! The key is it only has one bed - which means for other roommates it may not work.

This morning, I woke up and was ready to run at 7:11 am. We ran a short route with major hills because were we are in Geneva there is no course without hills. My only complaint is dehydration - it is so easy for me to drink water at home, but here I am just not drinking enough water.

After lunch we will head downtown to buy our class presents for a our professors. Meghan and I are hoping for a fondue dinner tonight - we will have to see if we can talk the rest of these hosiers (the 7:11 club) into it.

However the highlight of the trip was the 7:11 dance routine (performed by the boys of the group.) Now a word of warning this is the worst video ever due to the fact, that I did it on my small camera and I was laughing (hysterically laughing) the entire time. The music that you can't quite hear is Miley Cyrus - I will see you again. Yes, the Miley Cyrus that is Hannah Montana. Now because you can't see it - please know that our professors names are Jeff, Gary and Sharman.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The 7:11 Club Climbs
the Highest Peak in the Alps

Ok, well maybe we didn’t technically climb up – but we were there. This weekend we headed to the Bernese Oberland Region of Switzerland. To be frank this is what I thought Switzerland would be like when I first came to Geneva – but I have learned that Geneva is anything but typical Swiss. But back to the weekend, our adventure began with the drive. Yes we rented another mini-bus this time it was a Volkswagen. On early Saturday morning we packed everyone into the mini-bus in our assigned seats, which means Karyn & Meghan in the back, then Tony and Joe and across the front (and yes there are three seatbelts) you have the pilot: Bruce, the co-pilot: Jennie (those of you keeping track aka me) and the co-co-pilot: Robert.
We headed what we deemed a short cut, instead of going around the mountains we decided to cut through them on the Jungpass. Well all I have to say is if you get car sick – this isn’t the road for you. (Thank God, I had an important job as the co-pilot in front) We wound our way up the mountain in this mini-bus, which was scary at times because the road is narrow and you are often on the edge of the road that just drops (apparently shoulders are overrated.) However, what comes up must also come down. I have never been so exhausted after a car ride – every muscle in my body was tense. Robear was making fun of me – however, I turned to notice that not only was he holding the “oh sh$t bar” with one hand, he was gripping onto the door with another. It also doesn’t help as a passenger when the driver Bruce is yelling wee as we make these hair pined turns heading down the mountain in neutral. Needless to say our brake pads were probably glowing when we got down.
Despite the treacherous ride the scenery was beautiful. The mountains where speckled with Swiss ski Chalets. When we crossed over into the German speaking part of Switzerland, we stopped at a little party store where the owner was wearing what you would think to be a typical traditional Alpine dress.
Thankfully we arrived in Interlaken around noon – in one piece and no one got sick on the way, well Meghan was close but we got her out of the car just in time. When we arrived in Interlaken, we got information about taking the train up the mountain to Jungfrau – which is the highest train station in Europe. They call Jungfrau the top of Europe. Well when we got there we learned that a single ticket was 177 chfs. Which with the current exchange rate is about $177 – it wasn’t the number most people wanted to hear. There was a cheaper option to go up another high peak in the Alps the Schlitthorn – however it involved, not one but two cable cars, which the guidebook called an option with dramatic views – which to me only mean one thing – frightening views. So at that point I told the group that – I would not be offended if they left me and went with the cheaper option – but I was here and I was going to fork out the 177 chfs to head up the mountain in a cog train as opposed to dangle over it in a cable car. Bruce (after last year) felt that he had no choice but to accompany me. In the end, everyone but Robear bit the bullet and bought the ticket for the 2+ hour train ride. So I am sure you are asking yourself what in the world did Robear do with himself for 5 plus hours. Well he rode the train with us to our last change and then he hiked down the mountain. He almost made it all the way, but he hoped the train at the last station.The train ride to the top involved two changes. We first took a train from Interlaken to a town at the foot of the mountain. There we switched to a cog train – the train has an additional track in the middle like a roller coaster that lets it go up step inclines without derailing.
Now I know that you maybe thinking she is afraid of heights how can she do this, however, if something is under me I can do it. It makes no sense, but for some reason the logic works for me. So I embrace it. The last train, actually traveled in a tunnel all the way to the top, which was opened around 1912. So it was the most boring part of the ride. After an hour in the tunnel, we made it to the top called Jungfraujoch (which is the train station) which is not technically at the top of the mountain, but it is pretty high up there.

When we got to the observation deck, we saw a couple getting married. We were lucky because the sky was clear and the views were awesome. We spent some time at the top just taking it all in. Then we headed to the gift shop, I got a pin for the collection and Bruce and I got a poster – which we will have framed when we get home. After a stop at the bar for a beer (which has become a tradition for us.)
We headed back down the mountain on the train. We took an early train (not the last one, because we wanted to spend some time at the stop we left Robear at. It was a pretty cool little area and we thought it would be fun to hike around. However, our train ran into technically difficulties in the tunnel and it was late. Which meant that everything was closed when we got there. As we waited for the next train, which was the last train of the day. I had to use the bathroom badly, which thankfully was not closed. However when I was in the bathroom, I saw a wallet laying on top of the toilet paper dispenser. I picked it up to turn it in. When I got out of the stall – I looked inside to see if there was any identification. To my surprise there was not a name or a picture id, but there was cash and a lot of it probably 1300 Euros (yes, I said Euros people – so if you do the math that is about $2000) – there was also a credit card with a name. To me it appeared if the woman was from Japan or China, seeing that I can’t recognize the difference between the two. I immediately turned the wallet in to the railroad office, however tempting it was to play finders keepers, I turned it in because I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I hadn’t. The railroad took my name in case the women never claims the wallet I guess I get it, but I hope for her that she finds it, because that is a ton of money and I would be freaking out if it were me.

When we got to the bottom of the mountain, Robear was waiting for us. However it was just after 8 pm and nothing was open. We all had a brat and headed back to the van because we were staying in a small town just west of Interlaken called Faulensee. Now this time we put Robear into finding us an affordable place to stay. And he found us an affordable place, it was called the Lakeside Lodge and it was only 30 chfs per person.We had two rooms – one with one bed and one with six beds. So if you can see right now where this is going. Think youth hostel, but a little less cosmopolitan. It ironically reminded us of the baraks of the underground Swiss fort that we just visited in Vollorbe. When were arrived there was no check-in, just a note on the front door indicated the rooms we were in. Robear, since he booked it, took the single room. The rest of us went to the room with the bunks. So if you want my suggestion about the Lakeside Lodge - I think the basketball hoop outside says enough: Slam It.Of course we weren’t ready for bed, and many of us needed something to take our mind off our modest accommodations. So we headed out on the town looking for a place to have a beer. We headed to a bar only to learn that if we waited 10 minutes the night club downstairs would open. When I say night club, again those words invoke a much more cosmopolitan feel than the club’s actual appearance. Think more of your neighbor’s basement with a bar, a disco ball, a jukebox and two middle aged bartenders, one that happens to be a transvestite. Oh yes, she was definitely a man in a sweater dress. But a friendly man in a sweater dress that seemed to be amused with her new American cliental.

When we got back to the Lakeside Lodge, we were all happy enough to fall asleep, well except for Joe – who spent the entire night talking and poking Meghan who was on the bunk next to him. (Please refer to the pictures of the room.) He kept waking up through the night and he would say things like, Meghan are we the only ones up, do you think we should wake the others up, is it time to wake up and go home, why won’t anyone talk to me, that’s fine I am going to go see if Robert’s up (Joe exits the room and then comes back.) Now remember that Meghan wasn’t up – this was Joe just talking. It was actually hilarious. And we have been teasing him non-stop since it happened.

We left the hostel this morning. Each of us are convinced that we have some kind of bed bug from the Lakeside Lodge. It also didn’t help that when we were getting money out of the ATM that there were huge half-dollar sized spiders hovering over the machine. Which we all then became convinced would end up in our room.

We headed to the town of Spiez, much bigger than Faulensee (many of us who hadn’t showered, due to the fact that there were no towels or hot water at the Lodge. We were tired an somewhat cranky.) However, coffee cures all ills (or most of them) and we had a great cup of Melange (coffee with steamed of milk – a latte if you will.) Then we headed to the Spiez castle – which was a cute little castle on the lake. Then we went to the town of Thun. Here is the geography – Interlaken is between two lakes (Thunersee and Breinzer See.) We stayed in Faulensee which is on Thunersee, so is Spiez, however Thun is on the opposite side of the lake from Interlaken. They were all Alpine towns, but they all had a much different flavor. I am glad we got to experience them all.

This afternoon we headed back to Geneva, this time on the freeway. Which was a much more relaxing drive. However, as the co-pilot and the co-co-pilot, Robear and I had a very important job and that was juggling all the ipods (4 to be exact) for the music (which had to be played at rock concert levels due to the fact that there were no speakers in the back.) Joe could be considered the third co-pilot because he two would ready his ipod with a new song. Needless to say, that along with making sure we stayed on the right road, it was an exhausting trip. And I think I have lost hearing because I keep having to say – what? when Meghan talks to me and I am sitting right next to her in the computer lab. The rest of the crew can feel free to add comments if I missed anything. (see more photos below.)
A view from the train.
Trains passing on the cog tracks.
Me successfully making it to the top.
A picture of the Alpine Bird flying away.
Meghan & Karyn on top of Europe.
The train station where I found the wallet full of money - which I turned in.
Alpine Cows that make that Alpine Milk for the delicious Swiss chocolate.
In the middle of the street - in the middle of downtown Interlaken.
Jumping for joy in Spiez.
Robear and I in Thum.