We went to the Chateau d’Oex Hot Air Balloon Festival!

I think we can all agree that there’s nothing better than a hot air balloon festival. What a sight to behold, dozens of massive, colorful, and often whimsical balloons lifting off together into a clear azure sky. So when I learned that the village of Chareau d’Oex, the Hot Air Ballooning Capital of the World,  would be hosting its annual “International Festival des Ballons à Air Chaud”, I made plans for us to spend that weekend in the Swiss alps. Continue reading

What’s the best place to watch a French victory in the World Cup? A French bar!

As you may or may not know, there was just a month long soccer tournament hosted by Russia called the World Cup, in which the 32 best national soccer teams compete every four years for the world championship.  This tournament is a huge deal over here. Geneva is an international city, so there are die-hard fans for virtually all of the European teams, and many of the South American teams.  Continue reading

European Christmas Markets – A great way to get in the holiday spirit!

The idea is being “borrowed” in the U.S. and elsewhere, but to me, the traditional Christmas Market will always be a uniquely European custom. According to my research, the Germans first came up with the idea back in the late Middle Ages in the German-speaking part of Europe, and across the former Holy Roman Empire including modern day regions of France and Switzerland. Today, virtually all large European cities – and many small ones – open Christmas Markets that last the entire month of December. Continue reading

Join me for the 7.3K Course de l’Escalade run in Geneva’s Old City

I’m going to admit right from the start that I plan to put a lot less effort into writing this post than I did in producing it. I ran a 7.3 kilometer race earlier today, called the Course de l’Escalade. Regular followers of this blog might recall a previous post in which I explained the historical significance of the Escalade celebration.

Another event of the week-long celebration is a running “race” through the Old City. Continue reading

I finished the Lausanne Triathlon! (…and came in 310th place…)

About three months ago, as incentive to keep working out, I registered for the Lausanne Triathlon. And not for one of those wimpy “sprint” triathlons, either. This one is classified as the “Olympic Distance”: 1.5 kilometer swim (in Lake Geneva); 40K bike ride; and a 10K run. It’s the same distance that Great Britain’s Browlee brothers went gold/silver in Rio.

It was a beautiful day for a race, temperatures in the high 70s, light breeze, partly cloudy. Continue reading

The Fête L’Escalade: Geneva commemorates its defeat of the Savoyards in 1602

Never let it be said that Les Genevois (the residents of Geneva, en français) don’t know how to celebrate a military victory. Some 413 years after turning back the Savoyards in a surprise attack on the then city-state of Geneva, this town goes completely nuts! But first, a little history on the conflict itself. 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

The “Coup de Soleil” is the most awesome light show ever!

Sadly, there is no way that justice can be done in this post to adequately convey the sheer awesomeness of the light show currently being performed three times a night at the University of Geneva. The show, called “Coup de Soleil” (a clever double entendre whose literal translation is “sunburn”, but has the double meaning here of “sunburst” or something similar.) What makes this show so unique is that the “screen” is the Administration Building of the University of Geneva. Continue reading

We went to Italy, and saw a Minnesota Ultimate frisbee team win a world championship!

My son Chris is a serious Ultimate player for his high school team back in Minnesota. As we were making plans for things to do upon our arrival in Europe, he recalled that one of the coaches of his High School’s girls squad plays for a Minnesota team called “Drag’N Thrust” that would be competing in Lecco, Italy, which is located on the south end of the west leg of Lake Como. That was reason enough for us to make the 300 kilometer trek across the Alps to see more of Italy, and to watch some world class Ultimate! Continue reading

Rowing in Lucerne: Now THERE’S a great transportation mode!

When I was telling my friend Ed (who is also a two-time Olympic rower, including a silver medalist at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles) about all the cool things were planning to do upon our arrival in Switzerland, he said, “You should definitely go check out some rowing in Lucerne!” Nancy and I met through rowing and had successful rowing careers (not like Ed’s, but successful nonetheless) and so we both jumped at the chance to attend a world class rowing event at one of the most beautiful and famous rowing venues in the entire world, in Lucerne, Switzerland. Continue reading