I learn some German in Berne. Take this tutorial.

We recently decided to take a road trip up to Berne, Switzerland’s capital city.  As I’ve mentioned before, Berne is only about 100 kilometers from our home in Geneva, and yet when you get about halfway there, all the French road signs and the French names of road side businesses disappear, and are replaced with signs in German.  This causes me some consternation, because while I have confidence in my ability to navigate most situations I encounter in French speaking Swiss Romande, my German proficiency is limited to only a very few words that I picked up watching Hogan’s Heroes as a kid.(e.g. “danke” means “thank you” and “sauerkraut” means “sauerkraut”. )

But then, to my utter astonishment, it turns out my concern was all for naught!  We arrived in Berne and I soon realized that I must be some sort of linguistic savant, because I discovered that I was able to understand quite a bit of the German we encountered.  And as a public service to my loyal Swiss Sojourner followers, I offer this lesson.  Continue reading

The most architecturally stunning building in every European City? It’s cathedral.

Condom, FranceTraveling around Europe over this last year, we often try to find the time to explore each city by foot, learning a little bit about its history, its culture, and its architectural style. I recently realized that whether I am in Paris, Budapest, or a small town in France named Condom, it is the town’s cathedral that I find most awe inspiring. Continue reading

Watch me risk life and limb (and have some fun) at the Fête de Genève

Every summer for two weeks, Geneva hosts a festival (“fête”, en français!) down on the lake in the heart of the city. Anyone who has ever been to a state fair can imagine what there is to see and do at the Fête de Genève, but I figured it would still be fun to go down and experience it for myself. Continue reading

Our friends’ daughter gets married in Basque Country, and we drink Cider

Last weekend, we took a road trip to the “Basque Country” along the Spain/France border to attend the wedding of our good friends’ daughter. The father of the bride, our friend José, grew up near San Sebastian in Spain, located on the north end of Basque Country and where Basque culture and traditions thrive. Continue reading