bonjour, mes amis!

Bonjour, Alex’s friendly BCC list o’ travelogue-spam-victims!

It hasn’t been that long since the last time we talked, I know, but after 2006, the year of austerity, 2007 seems to be the year of fun.

This mail is being sent with Swiss precision; I can actually see little electron brigades standing at attention and at the ready to shoot off into the aether as soon as the REMF (moi) says “go”.

Um, right — in other words, hello from Geneva!

Jenny and I are here, after a few soggy, whirlwind days. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

A ton has happened in the space of about a week, and to avoid the eye-glazing over syndrome that happens with novella-length emails, I’ll just try to summarize.

  • We’re here in Europe, originally for a friend’s wedding in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France (the city of Strasbourg) and decided to make a vacation out of it. So the next three weeks are turning out to be a nice break inbetween jobs for me. (don’t be alarmed, I’m still with HP, just changing from one nerdy role to another nerdy role)
  • We have the pleasure of driving the Fiat Panda, a ridiculous looking mini-econo-box on wheels, that’s actually more spacious than it looks, and gets 100 km / 5.5 liters of petrol (try wrapping your head around that one).

    bevy of pandas

    Ours is silver, and sadly, there is no place to insert bamboo for a turboboost. It costs about 38 euros or 46 Swiss Francs to fill up the tank, which only holds 6 gallons(!), but we have about a 500 km range per tank.

  • Strasbourg was beautiful, and the food was great. I’m of ambivalent feelings to report that foie gras is quite delicious. The beer of choice there is called Picon Biere, which is made by mixing a bit of an orange-flavored liqueur with a light beer (such as Kronenburg 1664). Sounds disgusting, but trust me — I’m as snobby as most people from Ft. Collins are when it comes to beer — and I found it to be quite tasty.
  • We camped a few nights in Beaune, France, which is in the heart of the Burgundy region. The original idea was to take a bicycle tour of the vinyards, but after getting rained on continuously for 48 hours, we had to content ourselves with a tour of the catacombs where they age millions of bottles of wine (seriously, millions), and then decided to flee to Geneva…
  • …where we got rained on some more. By now, it was our third night in the tent, and things were starting to get alarmingly damp.
  • Luckily — and this will sound strange to the majority of you, but maybe not so strange to computer climbing nerds who know what a “usenet” is, and know how odd quasi-friendships develop over this thing called rec.climbing — my internet friend Martin, whom I’ve never met in person before, took pity on us, and last night, fed us a delicious meal and let us crash in his flat.

    With a little foresight in Beaune, I’d picked up a few nice bottles of wine for the express purpose of bribing our way across Europe and tricking people into letting us stay with them. I’m pleased to announce the first experiment was a resounding success — thanks Martin!

  • Martin informed us that we ought to have paid a 40 Swiss Franc tax when we entered the country. Oops. Well, they can get their 40 Francs after I get my numbered, anonymous Swiss bank account. Take that, Switzerland!

    Whoops, this has gone on much longer than I’d anticipated. Sorry about the length.

    As always, if you’re sick of my spam, let me know, and I’ll take you off my list.

    Also, I’m going to try something new this time around. Just like before, I’ll be simul-casting my mails on my blog as well, but this time, I’ll attempt to limit the emails to broad brushstrokes, and add extra color exclusively on the blog (so as to not clutter your inboxes and make a better attempt at brevity).

    And now, we point the nose of our little panda southwards, towards the Mediterranean, the French Riviera, Monaco, Cannes
    film festival, Nice, etc. etc.

    au revoir,