Monday, July 26, 2010

Stars and Stripes


I decided not to go anywhere this weekend and give myself a break from traveling. So on Friday night, Jon, Jack and Nic (known to some as Jick), Karen and I went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate the boys' last day at Icon Worldwide. After work we drove into St. Gallen and ate at a place called Stars and Stripes which is supposed to be American food but seemed to aim more towards Texas. I wish I had charged my camera for this night but unfortunately I didn't think twice about documenting dinner and drinks so I have Jon to thank for the above picture (that's me with Jick). That one was taken at a lounge we went to after dinner. The music I believe consisted of the following: Rick James, Prince, The Black Eyed Peas, I believe some Rod Stewart, and maybe some Akon. Possibly some 80's Madonna. It was... interesting. Afterward we went to a club. They didn't have as diverse music as the lounge but still entertaining. The boys were letting loose, singing and dancing, possibly trying to hit on girls. Well, Jack was the only single person there so I guess he was the only one looking. The night came to an end when Jon's eyelids were starting to droop and we all piled into a cab and slept it off.

Saturday was a good day. Woke up at 8:30 and chatted online and fell asleep around 9:45 again. I wanted to say bye to Jack and Nic before he left but he left at 10:00 and I didn't wake back up until 12:00. I had made plans that night with a friend I had made a few weeks back who lives locally. So from 1:00 to 6:30 pm I cut my hair, watched a movie, painted my nails, read a bit, and chatted online. It was a very productive afternoon.

I was surprised around 5:00 when I got a text Jack asking if he could join in the fun that night. I thought he had left already! I think I'm learning that he will never... actually... leave. So Jack and I met Franziska at the train station and headed to St. Gallen to join her friends for dinner and drinks. After dinner we decided to go to a club called Coccon. This was the best club EVER! When we got there we were the only ones there. We all sat in this tiny room with flashing lights lining the walls, the seating, and the ceiling, each with a pity drink, staring at the empty dance floor. But just as we thought it couldn't get any better, these two older women came in and started tearin' up the floor! I've never seen anyone stare harder at themselves in the mirror while dancing as I did that night. But wait, in comes this 60 year old man shaking his hips, getting closer to these women and lower to the floor! I wish I had my camera because I know you guys don't believe any of this. I kind of don't believe it myself now. Damn. I wish I had it all on camera. That pretty much closed the night. We ran out and across the street for one last beer and all headed home.

Sunday was the laziest day. I slept, read, watched a movie, read, and watched a movie.

I know this post is picture deprived so I wanted to share with you guys what I'm looking at for inspiration at the moment. Karen actually showed me these and I LOOOOOOVE them.

 

These are by Experimental Jetset and I am absolutely in love with their designs. The concept is so simple, but the outcome totally blows my mind. Why are people so awesome?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bern


This weekend I went to Bern with my coworkers. We got there Friday night and stayed at Nic's house. He was gracious enough to barbecue for us but of course all he bought were ribs, sausages, chicken wings, sausages, corn, sausages, some bread, chips, and sausages. I had to throw in a bag of salad into the mix to make sure we weren't completely off balance. You may notice in the picture below that Nic is half wet because he courageously stood in the rain to barbecue for us! Go Nic! I should have taken a picture of the bucket-o-meat but the guys attacked it before I realized that I should probably document this event. We did nibble in the green house while the rain died down as Nic was so kind to re-enact for you guys.


The rest of the night consisted of: trying to get the neighbor girl to join us, a few drinks, a lot of internetting, comparison of iTunes collections, a long conversation in fake German between the boys, some Marcia bashing, and convincing Jack that he did not need any more Tequila shots.

On Saturday we woke up bright and early around noon. Everyone apparently had woken up at 9 but thought everyone else was still sleeping so went back to sleep. Sure. After we woke up, we waited for Nic to mow the lawn before heading into the city. We walked around the beautiful old town, saw the bears of Bern, the Zytglogge tower, the Gothic cathedral M√ľnster of Bern, then we ate at a Mexican restaurant. I know most of you are like what? You went to Switzerland and ate at a Mexican restaurant? Just so you know, I also eat burgers here so... We were going to go to a bar but decided against it because everyone was tired. From what? Who knows. We went back to Nic's place had some champagne to celebrate our tiredness and fell asleep to Clash of the Titans.


Sunday we actually woke up at 10 am yet somehow managed not to leave the house until 2. We're a lazy slow moving bunch. (Nic made us a protein filled brunch and forced us to eat the leftovers before we could leave. I think I'm done with barbecue meats for awhile.) This time our destination was Thun. When we got there we decided to go see the Castle Thun except we couldn't really figure out how to get to it. It was in the middle of all these buildings, so we took a chance on a pathway between two buildings/apartments and luckily found our way to the castle. It was pretty interesting walking around in a building that was 900 years old. Of course it had a bit of touristy stuff so we had to take advantage of it. We continued walking around Thun for awhile before we decided it was time to go "home".

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lugano


This past weekend I decided to go to Lugano. I heard from so many people that it was their favorite place in Switzerland so I had to go! This trip started out a lot smoother than the Zermatt trip thankfully. I got to Lugano around noon and grabbed a pizza and a little vendor before heading to the lakeside. It was pretty hot and humid because a storm was moving in that weekend. It was a bit misty over the lake but it was still gorgeous! After a bit of walking around and a delicious stop for gelato, I took a boat tour around the lake. It was great and I originally planned to get off at a few stops but it was so hot out that I decided to go for a swim in the lake instead. Problem was I didn't bring swim wear so I got off the boat and found one at H&M and headed to the lake again. Then I realized I didn't have a towel or a place to change. So I went to a restaurant and ordered a drink and changed in their restroom. I figured I could just walk around until I dried off for the towel issue.



The dip in the lake was much needed. It was really cool and refreshing but I could only stay for a little bit since I had to check in at the hostel at 7. It was a fairly nice hostel with a swimming pool and all. The rooms were coed with 16 people to a room and coed bathrooms. That was kinda odd but it is what it is. So I got all checked in and headed out for dinner at Grotto Al Bosco. It was more of a local place with reasonably priced delicious food. I had a little appetizer thing and ravioli with ricotta, spinach and sage. Something kind of strange was that they served their local wine in these little cups that almost looked like tiny bowls. I was hesitant to pour my wine in there at first but I took a look around and it seemed that it was what I was supposed to do. Hmm... I guess I should have taken pictures of that.

So after dinner I decided to check out a few bars maybe find one that was kind of low key with good music. There was a festival going on but it was like a Reggae festival, which I'm not really into. I stumbled upon this place with really bad music and mojitos that weren't much better so I drank down my mojito and moved to the next place. I then went to a bar that was part of a hotel overlooking the lake but they only served martini's and it seemed kind of empty. So I hung out there for a bit and watched this guy almost get hit with these temporary canvas walls they had up outside. It was odd... he looked kind of familiar but I just didn't know from where. So I left and walked up and down Lugano in a quest to find the perfect bar. For some reason, a voice kept telling me that the places I was passing was just not it. By the time I gave up on my quest it was 2 am. I headed back to the hostel but it was still so hot and humid outside. I remembered that the hostel had a pool so I quietly took a swim there before heading to bed.



The next day Jon and Lori invited me to where they were staying for the weekend...about an hour away from Lugano. I took 2 trains and a bus to get there and it was so worth it! I mean just look at these pictures! The river was fed by the melting snow atop the mountains so the water was ice cold, the most beautiful blue green, and clear. It was a little too cold to swim around too much in for me but it was great to just wade in. I crossed this waterfall and had to take a picture.


But look! There's some guy in it! That's the guy I saw almost get knocked out at that bar! and actually if you look back at a few other of my pictures... he's always in the corner somewhere! How strange is that? Anyway, my bosses were nice enough to give me a lift home. I was pretty tired by this time but the ride was gorgeous. I saw the dam that was in the James Bond movie Golden Eye, one of the longest tunnels in the world, toured Liechtenstein and saw a living castle. Whew! When I finally got back to my hotel...I passed out. Great weekend!



Don't forget to click on the pictures to see them larger.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Zermatt







This weekend was amazing! Lindsay (another design intern here) and I went to Zermatt early Saturday morning. It started off really rough though. Let me start back from Friday when I bought our tickets online to try to save some money. We were super excited because I found some really good deals. Then I purchased and printed them when I found out that I had bought 2 pairs of tickets going from Zermatt back home and none of the tickets were actually to Zermatt. So I told my boss Lori who said not to worry she would go down with us to straighten it out at the train station. When we got there with Lori and her husband Jon (the other boss), they said they could not do anything and Jon went off on them for poor customer service and the level of rudeness we were getting. I felt so bad that they were doing all this for me. At the end, we ended up buying another pair of tickets to get to Zermatt... meaning the super saver deal I tried to take advantage of online had been nullified. Great.



That night I set my alarm for 5:00 am to have plenty of time to get ready for our big trip. I was excited! Problem was, also that night, my phone died. So I didn't wake up until 6:10 and we were supposed to leave the hotel at 6:15! I scrambled together some stuff as Lindsay knocked on the door all dressed to hand me a plate of eggs. =\ i took a bite and continued to get ready for the next 2 minutes and ran out the door. We ran down to the bus station and got on just for me to realize I had left my half-fare card at the hotel. This card is vital to me being able to afford the trip so we missed that bus so that I could run back to my room and get it. I ran back to the train station since we now had to take the train instead of the bus and 5 minutes later got on the train from Gais to St. Gallen. We then got on a train from St. Gallen to Zurich which we caught just in time and then a train from Zurich to Visp which we also caught 7 minutes before it left. Then 3 hours later we took a train from Visp to Zermatt which we caught literally a minute before it left.


The train ride into Zermatt was amazing! Snow capped mountains, waterfalls, rushing streams, caves, beautiful small houses...just indescribable really. When we got there we had about 5 hours before we had to check into the hostel. We grabbed some lunch and took a train up to Gornergrat. The train wrapped around the mountain going up giving us a breath taking view. When we finally reached the top we couldn't even speak. We were just surrounded by this gorgeousness that was so overwhelming. I just sat there for awhile to take it all in.





Unfortunately I wasn't dressed appropriately and it started getting chilly and drizzled a bit. So we took a train half way down the mountain and hopped off to hike down the rest of the way. We came across the cutest sheep and they let us get so close to them. Then the trail down was pretty scary at first since it was pretty rocky and slippery and the whole left side of the trail was just a drop down. Of course my fear of heights didn't help but I did it! You can see from the picture below how far up we were. This is after about 30-45 minutes of hiking down already. The town we were hiking towards is at the bottom but not the one with the little roads connecting in the center... the town is behind that, very small and more populated. As you see we had a looong way ahead of us.











We decided to take a break and take in the scenery next to a small stream. We sat down on the side of the mountain on the softest and lushest greenery, surrounded by all these colorful wildflowers. We filled our water bottles with the water from the stream and it was ice cold and delicious! How could you beat water straight from the alps?









We headed down for another 3 hours or maybe even 4 I can't remember. It started raining and our legs, feet, and toes were seriously getting sore but we were determined to make it, especially since we had to check into the hostel by 6:30 pm. We finally got into town around 5:45 and we were cold and wet and Lindsay was a little sunburned too. We got a little lost looking for the hostel but we got there at about 6:20. We were doing this all day. Catching things at the last minute but we were doing well. We changed our clothes and went down for our free dinner. It was pretty good for a hostel, plus we really needed the recharge. We wanted to go see the glacier after dinner but unfortunately the lifts were closed so we headed into town. We had seen a bar named GramPi's when we first arrived and were determined to go there. That is where we found THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD!!









I mean how great is he? That's Lindsay pretending to pose for a picture so we could get him behind her. It's hard to see here but his mustache is curled up on both ends! So we people watched for awhile there before we went to the bar across to see what was going on. Fifa. We pretended to be interested and scoped out if they had any hot guys. I proved my demographic to Lindsay when the only looks I got were from some old Indian man and a middle aged white man from across the bar. In my defense I was wearing sweats, a tank top, my hair pulled back, and no make up. But still that is my usual crowd. Not very proud of it. I was kind of cold so I ordered Tee Rum (rum+tea; please try it, its energizing and good). We weren't getting any free drinks looking like disgusting hikers so we went back to the hostel and crashed. The next day we caught 4 trains back to Gais and vowed not to use our legs for the rest of the day. We could barely get up and down the stairs for the trains.