Chris and I make a delightful mushroom lasagna, and I learn some Italian

Neither of us aspires to be the next Chef Boy-ar-dee, but one thing Chris and I said we’d like to do during our time together here in Geneva is to practice and improve our culinary skills. We’ve had many successes so far, including an exquisite mashed potato casserole, a sumptuous chicken cacciatore, and a finger-lickin’ good coq au vin. We have become experts at our traditional ground beef, sausage, and tomato sauce lasagna, so on this day, Chris found a new lasagna recipe featuring a sauce of mushrooms, ground beef, and melted gruyere cheese.   Continue reading

Another hardhitting exposé: There are an awful lot of really small dogs in this town!

Switzerland is well known for its world famous chocolate, cheese, and fine watches.  But there is another, less publicized, claim to fame that becomes immediately apparent.  Switzerland is the world’s undisputed leader in small dogs per capita.  Seems like everyone in this town owns a dog, and everyone of those dogs is really small. Continue reading

We take a road trip to beautiful Mantreux (and you won’t believe the view we had at lunch!)

A couple months ago I posted a piece on my hike up the Rochers de Naye, which featured some video and photographs of the beautiful town of Mantreux, located at the east end of Lake Geneva, opposite of our home in Geneva on the lake’s west end. That day, I had no time to actually explore the city so I have been looking forward to returning. We took advantage of the opportunity during the recent visit of Nancy’s sister Ellen and our brother-in-law Cliff. Continue reading

We visited Arles and Nimes and saw for ourselves how good the Romans were at building stuff

Back in August, we took 9 days and drove across the “Massif Central” of France to visit friends on the French/Spanish border, near the town in the Basque Country called San Sebastian. We had decided that on the way back home, we would take a more southerly route and retrace the path our family had taken 12 years ago in order to visit the towns of Arles and Nimes. Continue reading

We welcome our first American (adult) visitors, Ed and Mary!

We recently hosted our first adult visitors, our friends of 20 years from Saint Paul, Ed and Mary. (The honor of first overall visitor goes to Chris’ girlfriend Holly, who visited this summer.) The primary purpose of Ed and Mary’s trip abroad was to visit their son John who is working this fall for a design firm in Antwerp, but they figured as long as they were on the same continent, why not work in a visit to Geneva!

I know what you’re thinking… “Hmmm, I wonder what they did on their visit, because that would give me/us some idea of what I/we might do for fun if I/we were to visit.” Continue reading

How’s my French? Très bien, merci beaucoup!

One of the interesting things about Switzerland is that depending on your proximity to neighboring France, Italy, or Germany, the primary language spoken is French, Italian, or German. I am not aware of many other countries the size of Switzerland in which there is such a distinct variation in languages as you travel relatively short distances around the country. (To put the size of Switzerland in context, at just 16,000 square miles, it is less than 1/5th the size of my home state of Minnesota. If Switzerland was a U.S. state, it would rank 42nd in land area behind West Virginia and ahead of Maryland.)

We live in Geneva, which is in the western “Suisse Romande” region where French is the primary spoken language. Continue reading