Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Genève: deuxième partie

On my second day in Geneva I got a little taste of what it is like to actually live and function as a resident in a foreign city, and not just parade the pretty sights like a tourist. This morning I went to the grocery store with Bethy to pick up some ingredients for some fall treats we wanted to make to enjoy the autumn season.  Finding some of the simplest ingredients was a challenge, baking powder and baking soda were the especially tricky.  We had to go back to the apartment and translate our entire shopping list into french which helped a little bit.  We were pretty successful!  There were a few "specialty items" that we couldn't find such as pumpkin puree and marshmallows (we later found marshmallows at a Wal Mart equivilant and discovered that they are apparently an all American food thus considered a foreign food in Switzerland.  There were directions on the back of the package with very detailed instructions on how to "BBQ" a marshmallow as well as an entire paragraph dedicated to describing what a s'more is and how it is a traditional American food.  Go America.)

                                             A close up of the tricksters that were hard to find
I didn't realize that the pancakes we know and love are considered "American Style,"  I learned all sorts of things on our little trip to the market.   After our excursion to the store we came back, put away our goodies then made some good old American style pumpkin spice pancakes (minues the actual pumpkin...) Since syrup was one on the things on the list we couldn't find at the market, Bethy improvised and made a dolce de leche topping with pumpkin pie spices in it I thought it was delicious.  We also had some juicy persimmons that complimented our spice pancakes perfectly. Oh joy, I just love the fall!

After our wonderful meal we spent the rest of the day shopping!  Geneva has a nice shopping district that is a fun bustling atmosphere to be a part of.  We spent most of our time in H&M then strolled over to Bata shoes, we ended up getting matching boots! Twins!  They are different colors though, so we won't be the identical kind of twins.  After we had shopped until we almost dropped we stopped by a roasted chesnut station to try the treat that we all sing about every Christmas season.  They were a lot different then I imagined they would be, but I thought they were delicious!  And now when I sing about chesnuts roasting on an open fire, I know all about how yummy they are!

Then we wandered through the small charming streets of Old Town on our way to the restaraunt we had planned to meet Reece at for dinner.  All the old stone buildings looked so magnificent glowing so brightly against the dark night sky.

Tonight we dined at Chez Ma Cousine.  On one of Reeces first days working at CERN he asked all his officemates for suggestions on places to make sure to eat at while he and Bethy were living in Geneva. Almost all of them mentioned this place and told him exactly what to order.  Beth and Reece and eaten here a couple of times before I came to visit, so they knew the ropes when they took me.  It really was delicious, the thing to order is the roasted half chicken that comes with a healthy serving of thick cut fries and a house salad.  The chicken was incredible, perfectly seasoned and so nice and juicy!

By the time we walked out the door there wasn't a piece of chicken left on our plates and we were all stuffed.  We walked through a little bit more of Old Town to help our food digest before going home to make dessert!
When we got home we made some fall shaped sugar cookies!  Karin had sent Bethy some adorable cookies cutters that we just had to use!  The first challenge was that Bethy's apartment didn't have an oven .... but, I looked up directions for microwave cookies online and found some pretty good recipies for sugar cookies.  The second challenge was then converting all the measurments from those recipies to the metric system.  I think we converted everything correctly except for the butter .... our dough tasted extra buttery .... but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, butter is what makes everything taste so delicious.  I was so darn curious about how they were going to  turn out, the result .... they turned out exactly like normal sugar cookies in about 1/8th of the cooking time!  It was a fun little experiment.

Cooking in Bethy's cute little kitchen
Cooking in the mirowave ...
The end result!
Bethy made some warm, tangy apple cidar to drink with our cookies while we watched another halloween flick on the computer since today was the atual halloween day.

Day three in Geneva was full of excitment and fun!  We began the day by traveling to CERN to see the amazingly cool, spacey exhibit they have there that explains all about CERN's mission and what exactly it is they do there.  On the train ride over, Bethy and I almost melted in our seats when a couple of guys boarded the train with a crate FULL of PUPPIES!!!!! Was this a dream come true for both of us? Why yes, yes it was.  The guys that had the dogs only spoke french but they could tell, somehow, not that we were super obvious or anything, that we wanted to pet the cute little puppies.  We were surprised that he actually let us pet them and even take some pictures!  Are they not unbelievably adorable, they slept the entire train ride and were just waking up when he stopped to let us pet them.  I will never get over how amazing it was to literally see a crate full of tiny, adorable puppies.

Right next to the building where the CERN exhibit is, was this beautiful sight, we couldn't resist, we had to take some pictures with this gorgeous backdrop

               As you can tell from the pictures, the exhibit about CERN is amazing and unbelievably cool.
         Each of these little "eyeballesque" stations explained different aspects of CERN's history and mission.

These chairs had speakers in them so when you leaned back and selected your language a voice would come on and talk about different topics all relating to the company.  Each chair had a different topic.

A map of the ginormous CERN complex, you could touch anywhere on this map and information would pop up about that specific location.
So much science! My little art oriented brain was about to explode trying to understand everything I learned at the exhibit.  It was pretty neat to learn about and it is so amazing that Reece got the opportunity to work there!  Reece is majoring in information systems, so his internship dealt with storing all the data that is generated at all the different labs (I think... Bethy correct me if I am wrong haha seriously, so much science)
Another thing on Bethy's "favorite things about Geneva list" is the street performers that perform on the number 16 tram.  They jsut sporatically come on so she was hoping I would get the chance to hear some of them during my visit.  On our ride back to Old Town we were lucky enough to get some performers get on our tram!  They sounded really good and played some classics like Girl From Ipanema.  I took a close up of the guatarist's guitar becuase  it was decorated with Megamind stickers!  How very neat.

When we got back to Old Town it was time for lunch, so we found a creperie with a fantastic view and settled down for a fabulous European lunch.  It was a little bit chilly out today so we both ordered a cup of hot chocolate to warm us up. Then bethy ordered a savory crepe and I ordered a sweet crepe and we switched half way through to create a perfect meal!

We had a wonderful view of the St. Peter's cathedral out the window


After lunch Bethy gave me a tour of Old Town during the day.  We began by going inside the cathedral.  It was a very lovely church, I espcially liked the stained glass windows, they created magical, ephemeral patterns on the wall when the sun would shine through them.

The rose windows were stunning

This wooden carving reminded me of a character you would see on an episode of the classic tv series Duck Tales...
We accidently happened upon this amazing side chaple that was absolutely exquisite!  The painted ceiling blew me away, I thought it was all gorgeous!

This window portrayed the story of Jesus blessing the children, it was very sweet.

Strolling through the leaf covered streets we came across a little protest, goodness they seem to be everywhere now a days.

After exploring all of Old Town we came home to warm up and get ready for dinner.  When Reece got home we walked down the street to Coup de Girafe which is the cutest little eatery in the entire world.  It has a very Anthropologie feel and only serves unique quiches and salads.

I got a fig quiche and it was delicious! The sweetness of the figs was such a unique flavor I never would have thought to put into a quiche but it was pretty magical.

When we got home Beth and Reece started doing some suspicious behavior, talking only in whispers and refusing to tell me what they were up to.  Those two can be so sneaky.... Turns out they were making me the most magical and elegant birthday cake I have ever seen!  Bethy hand painted then glittered toy animals to dance around the base of my spice bundt birthday cake!  They are too sweet!  I totally wasn't expecting this because we had already celebrated my birthday and they had given me a wonderful gift.  But being the amazing people they are they just kept on giving.  They lit the candles, sang me happy birthday and let me blow out my candles thus giving me one more, very special Swiss, birthday wish ... lets hope it comes true!

What a wonderful way to end my last day in Geneva.  After devouring every yummy bite of our pieces of birthday cake, we watched yet another movie then cuddled up to bed, Beth and Reece in their bed and me in my sleeping bag exactly one foot away from the base of their bed, we literally had a two week long slumber party! The next morning Bethy and I packed our little travel suitcases and jumped on the train to Zermatt for our snowboarding get away .... to be continued .....


  1. puppies! I wanted to take one home so bad. They probably wouldn't had noticed, there were quite a few of them. Im so glad to have been able to share all my favorite things (and create new favorites) with you. I had sooooo much fun while you were here, thanks for coming all this way to play.

  2. I'm glad you were able to use the cookie cutters! I've never thought of microwaving cookies--how genius. You'll have to give me the recipe. Looks like you made the most of every minute--everything you did looks so fun!