Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekend Adventures - Part 1

And now for a new segment I like to call "Weekend Adventures", since I will be doing most of my travelling on the weekends. On Facebook I have a photo album with the same name since loading pictures on here is a little bit tedious.

Ok, so this adventure happened two weekends ago but I really have to tell you about it. Really.

Below is a map of where I went:

As you can see, I focused my travels in the southwest part of Switzerland. A couple from Pully (a suburb of Lausanne) were kind enough to be my hosts/chauffeurs for the weekend. The events of the weekend were prearranged by this couple and my host family so I didn't know much about what was going to happen beforehand. Our activities can be broken down into the following categories:

1) Eating
2) Driving

Look for those buzzwords as you continue to read.

I arrived in Pully at lunch time (Point B on the map). The host couple, two other couples and I sat at a table on the veranda and it began. Three courses and three hours later, we got up from the table. SO MUCH FOOD. It was all amazing, of course. But I was pretty much done in. We got in the car (here comes some of the driving part) and drove an hour to Vouvry (Point C), where we attended a tent mission. For those of you who know what I'm talking about, it's a gospel service in a tent open to the public. Very different but really good experience.
After that, we drove to Vevey (Point D). I could devote a whole post to this place and probably will some day. It's an upscale but artsy village on the lake. What we ran across however, was not upscale or artsy. It was an American-style car show, complete with American-style music and redneck dress. If you've never heard Lynyrd Skynyrd sung by a bunch of French people, well, you're not missing much. It was a very interesting clash of cultures. I laughed at the ridiculousness of it but then realized no one else found it funny when I received a few glares.

The sunset over the lake, however, was no laughing matter.
Afterwards, we drove back to Pully and sat down for another enormous meal of tuna spaghetti. I nearly wept at the table. I could not believe we were eating again.
That night I did not sleep very well in my tiny cupboard-like room.

The traditional Swiss breakfast is tartines, or toast with jam, using the traditional tresse au beurre (butter braid bread). After the previous day's feasting, I was pleased to munch on a simple piece of toast. My hosts, however, did not stop until they had put away a loaf and a half of bread between the two of them.  I watched in awe, nervously nibbling a crust, as both of them (fit as oxen!) plowed through a week's worth of carbohydrates. 
After meeting, we drove a long ways to Yverdon (Point E) for lunch on Lake Neuchatel at the brother of one of my hosts. This time I was prepared for the multiple courses and ate sparingly at each one. This time we managed to sit at the table for four hours and I was nearly crying with boredom by the time we got up. It was pleasant company but they spoke mostly French and talked about important grown-up things like mortgages and salaries. At this point I would like to note that I was younger than everyone we met the entire weekend by at least 5 years. 
When everything under the sun had been discussed (which after four hours should have been literally everything), it was time to go to the next stop. The trip from Yverdon to Gimel (Point F) was by far the longest but also the most beautiful. Located in the Jura Mountains, Gimel is a scenic, windy place where another couple lives. We walked in and sat down for another three course meal. At this point, I'm pretty sure a little hysterical giggle escaped but I managed to cover it with a tiny coughing fit. Again, the food was fantastic but I ate the tiniest portions. I may have slightly offended the cooks with how little I ate. I tried to explain how full I was already but they didn't seem to understand. Over and over I heard,
"Eat, eat! This is what we do here. We enjoy our food and our conversation!" 
Dessert. Usually the best part. 

I'm not complaining, I had a really great weekend. Met a lot of really awesome people and saw what this corner of the country has to offer. And I really appreciate this culture. There's no hurry to get up from the table and no stigma attached to second and third helpings. In America we have a tendency to put everything on the table, eat in 30 minutes or less, and then go do something. In Europe, they eat slowly and they eat a lot. There's no pressure to get up from the table and go on a hike. I really think I can get used to this. It's just going to take a lot of patience and a hip flask of Pepto Bismol.


  1. Do you think you could send me one of those little tarts?? I would love to eat a three course meal... just not 3 in one day. What did one of your 2 course meals consist of? For curiosity's sake...

  2. Ellie,
    I can totally relate to your dining frustrations. ;) In Italy it was the same way... And in Ireland. My goodness do they try to stuff you with food! - My host dad always said "Mangia, Mangia!!" (Which means Eat, Eat!!) - Very frustrating when you are bursting. Anyway, good luck - don't worry, it will get easier!

  3. how can you complain so much about FOOD?! ;) i'm so jealous. i can almost smell the deliciousness through your blog.


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