Friday, December 30, 2011


Today was a shopping day in Geneva, yay! I bought some awesome shoes! That's pretty much all I've got for today.

My new kicks

We're settling down to a quiet night in with raclette for dinner and a scary movie over some junk food. Tomorrow we're heading off to the mountains, but the weather is looking awful so skiing is probably a no-go. I'm not really too fussed, and to be honest I'm more excited to see it snow!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beary Cold Bern

Bern, the german-speaking capital of Switzerland, known for it's bears and Einstein cafe (ok maybe that's what I know it for).

BernI got very excited today when Yvonne and Stef told me that in Bern there is a hole in the ground in the middle of the town centre with bears inside. I was like, is it on purpose? And they were like yes, but someone recently fell in and got eaten. I was sold! So today we took a day trip to Bern to see the bears, do some shopping, and have a drink at the Einstein cafe.

MaulingOur first task was unsuccessful. Apparently bears hibernate in winter, so there were no bears, stupid bears! However the bear thing was exactly how Yvonne and Stefan described it. In the middle of the city, there's a giant pit decked out with things bears would enjoy like big rocks and caves and the like (minus the bears). We took the next best option and played on the wooden bear statues in the old enclosure.

Beary Strange

Shopping was very successful! Our first purchase was leg warmers for me and a jumper for Yvonne (we highly overestimated the temperature). I also got some great souvenir shopping done.

YvonneOur last stop was the Einstein Cafe, built under the house where Einstein stayed in Bern for a while. It was lovely and warm, a perfect end to a capital day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vue Des Alps

Yvy and the AlpsToday Yvonne and I did snow shoeing (raquette) in Vue Des Alps. We left behind a massive fog blanket in Neuchatel to find a clear and sunny perfect day in the mountains. We chose to do a 2h long trek which was half through the valley and half through the forrest. The two halves of the trek were really different, and at the middle of the track there was a restaurant where we stopped for a much needed hot chocolate and sandwich.

MeRaquette through the mountains was very serene (I love the crunching of the snow), but also quite hard! There were a lot of sections that were very steep, and even downhill was quite taxing because you had to be very careful not to slide and hurt your ankles. We definitely got a workout, so hopefully that earns me a few more macarons.

RaquettesOn the way back we stopped at a hot bath to warm our weary muscles. This is something that I'd never heard of before - in Switzerland there are open air baths (kind of like giant swimming pools with jets and showers and the like) filled with naturally hot water from the mountains. There were people of all ages, but I have to say it was mostly young people getting all hot and heavy all over the place! Despite the awkwardness, it was very invigorating and I definitely appreciated it after a long day of raquette.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Gruyere is a beautiful town known for it's cheese, chocolate, and (of all things) it's Alien themed cafe. Today we took a day trip up to Gruyere and ate lots of cheese, chocolate, and um, alieny tea.

Gruyere at Night

After a slight accidental detour we arrived in Gruyere just in time for lunch. Our first stop was the Gruyere cheese factory for some fondu, but the terrible service and many crying babies (ok maybe just one but we were tired and hungry) made us jump ship and look for lunch elsewhere. We walked up to the Gruyere village and found a beautiful warm little restaurant where I tried my first fondu. It was delicious, but I couldn't eat very much because it was very rich.


On a tight schedule, we rushed off to the Caillers chocolate factory for a fun tour about the history of chocolate, and of course lots of free chocolate.


To finish off our trip we visited the Alien themed HR Giger Cafe. It's a bit weird and unexpected to find an Alien themed cafe in a beautiful Swiss village, but Giger bought the castle in Gruyere so they made a museum and cafe at the top of the village in his honour. Makes sense I guess. The cafe was quite small but very cool, with the ceiling and furniture covered in Alien themed adornments. Makes me want to watch the series again!

Giger Cafe

Tonight Yvonne invited a couple of friends over for dinner and some Jenga. Man that game stresses me out! I think we all are going to have bad Jenga dreams tonight.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Geneva

Today is Christmas! Merry Christmas everyone!

Yesterday I saw it snow for the first time ever, and even though it was half rainy (because it was quite hot), it was an awesome early Christmas present.

On Christmas eve we drove to Geneva to spend Christmas with Stefan's family. We did some last minute Christmas shopping in the city before heading to Stef's brother's house in Carouge for dinner. Traditional Christmas dinner in Switzerland (well Stef's family) consists of oysters (eek! did not try), foi gras (I tried it, it was nice!), and opening presents late at night. I received an awesome Swatch from Yvonne and Stef, a perfect Swiss gift!

Christmas Eve at Stef's Bro's

We spent the night in Carouge at Stefan's dad's apartment, and went back to his bro's for a coffee in the morning. I also managed to borrow a set of snow boots and ski pants from Stefan's family. As luck would have it, I have feet the same size as Stefan's mum, and am exactly the same size as a 12 year old Stefan, which means I have my ski gear for next week sorted :) I've been quite lucky so far with snow stuff - yesterday I found the most awesome boys ski jacket (14yo+) on sale at H&M for 20 francs. Sometimes being the size of a little boy can be a good thing!

Yvonne and I, and the Alps

This afternoon we took the long way back to Neuchatel through the Jura mountains for an awesome view of the French Alps. I saw and played in some more snow, and at the top of the mountain we stopped for a delicious hot chocolate.


I miss my family very much, but I am also very excited to have had my very first white Christmas :)


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Switzerland (Day 1 and 2)

This year I'm spending Christmas and New Years in Switzerland with my cousin Yvonne and her boyfriend Stefan. This is the first year I've been away from home for the holidays, so this trip is definitely going to be a big adventure!

I arrived in Switzerland yesterday afternoon after an extremely long trip from Perth->Dubai->Geneva. Yvonne picked me up from the airport and after a lot of hugging and screaming we made our way to Neuchatel, a beautiful little town where Yvonne and Stef are currently living. The apartment is beautiful, with wooden decking on the ceiling and amazing views from all the windows. This year they bought a natural Christmas tree, so it really feels and smells like I always imagined a white Christmas would.
Yvy and Stefs Beautiful Apartment

Yesterday I took it easy and stayed in for the night while Yvy and Stef went out to a uni party. Stef has just handed in his final uni assignment so he was keen to celebrate! I was more keen on a nice long horizontal sleep since I didn't get too much on the plane. Before I crashed like a rock, I did my first local thing and ate escargot (snails) for dinner!

Today I woke up nice and refreshed, ready for my first snow experience! I had seen a tiny little bit of snow in Yvonne's driveway, but I don't think that really counted as seeing snow. Our first stop for the day was to go see some snow on the way to Epesses. It was... amazing! It was nothing like what I expected, I don't know why! I absolutely loved it, and can't wait for more!
First Taste

Next we went to Monteaux to see the Christmas markets. We spent a couple of hours walking around drinking mulled wine and looking at the beautiful stalls. There were some weird decorations around the place that apparently had to do with a kids TV show, and even a statue of Freddie Mercury.

Now we're about to settle down to relax and watch a movie. I'm having so much fun already, but I'm a little bit homesick too! Tomorrow is xmas eve :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Triple J Hottest 100 of 2011

My Votes:
  • M83 - Midnight City
  • M83 - Wait
  • M83 - Intro {Ft. Zola Jesus}
  • Bon Iver - Perth
  • Bon Iver - Holocene
  • Bon Iver - Beth/Rest
  • Junior Boys - Banana Ripple
  • Junior Boys - ep
  • Junior Boys - The Reservoir
  • Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know {Ft. Kimbra}

This year I've been completely out of the loop because the stereo in my car is broken! I looked through the list and saw releases from a lot of awesome bands (Fleet Foxes, Radiohead, TV on the Radio). The albums are good, but I couldn't really pick any songs as being the best of 2011.

So I tried a different approach. The three albums I've been thrashing this year are:
  • M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
  • Junior Boys - It's All True
  • Bon Iver - Bon Iver
I decided to pick three of my favourite songs from my three favourite albums of the year, and also vote for Gotye, who I think deserves (and has a very good chance at) #1.

Happy voting!