Men In Speedos

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Last year, I wrote about men in spandex.  Well, with the warm temperatures, people are showing more skin.  You gents are no exception.  I’ve seen a fair bit of y’all.

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You’ve seen men in spandex.   With the approach of summer, I bring you another cultural difference, men in Speedos.  This swimwear is rather foreign to us.  Unless you are a competitive swimmer, you just don’t see this in the US, where most guys wear boardshorts or some other type of swimsuit short.

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Michael PhelpsRyan LochteCullen Jones, and Jason Lezak all wear them, but then again they are also wearing goggles and swim caps.  Sometimes, they don’t even wear them, opting instead for those fancy new super fast getups.  I think they are called the Speedo Endurance Jammer.

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Anyway, in the US, non-competition swimmers just generally don’t wear Speedos.  You don’t see them at the beach.  Department stores don’t usually even stock them.  As you can see from the above photo, in France you have many options.

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The only thing to say is “wow,” this style is definitely another cultural difference.

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Another Fine Mess, Fines In Switzerland

In a country where personal responsibility, obeying the rules and money are all taken very seriously, fines are inevitable.  We have heard that you need to budget 1000-2000 CHF a year for fines.  Thankfully, we’ve only had one ticket thus far.

Here, a diverse array of behaviors are punishable by fine. Here are some interesting Swiss fines:

  • Highest speeding ticket in Switzerland (tickets are on a percentage of income)
  • Naked hiking (instead of banning it, they just decided to fine naked hikers…uber Swiss)
  • Entering a private drive
  • Putting your recyclables in the bins on a Sunday or holiday

A friend of ours was unlucky enough to get her car towed. Five hours = 250 CHF or $275. Ouch.

 

Saas (Not SaaS) Fee, Another Cute Swiss Ski Town

Sorry, this post about Saas, is not about Software as a Service (SaaS), but about the town of Saas Fee, Switzerland.    While there are several reasons to go to Saas Fee, the real attraction is its location surrounded by some of Switzerland’s tallest mountains.  Saas Fee sits at over 1800 meters ( 5,905 feet, 1.18 miles) and is surrounded by over 13 peaks of over 4000 meters (13,123 feet, 2.485 miles)!

Like nearby Zermatt, it is an adorable car-free ski town with gorgeous views.   Because it doesn’t have a view of the Matterhorn (only other giant, stunningly beautiful mountains) and doesn’t have a rail stop, Saas Fee is smaller and slightly quieter.  As a result, it is a bit more of a family destination.  Don’t be fooled into thinking Saas Fee is quiet or sleepy.  Whether it is an apres-ski bar or clubbing at night, you will be able to do it in Saas Fee.

Until a two-lane road linking Saas Grund to the village of Saas Fee was completed in 1951, Saas Fee was inaccessible by car.  The buildings are a mix of modern hotels, shops and small traditional, weathered farm buildings.

We enjoyed strolling Saas Fee’s car-free streets.  It was great fun to look at the at shop windows.  Although shops keep typically Swiss hours (with the exception of ski shops), there are many and varied.

If skiing isn’t your thing, you can try curling, ice skating, indoor swimming, mountaineering, sleigh riding, indoor tennis/badminton, dog sledding/mushing tours, sledding, night sledding, snow tubing, snowshoe trekking, or ice climbing (which sounds both dangerous and beautiful).

Saas Fee is where Wham‘s “Last Christmas” was filmed.  Just click on the link to enjoy (and search for a new hairstyle).

Geneva Expat 101 Lesson 3 – The Best Fondue In Geneva

Finally, I have gotten to the really important things for expats in Geneva.  The Buvette at the Bains de Paquis has the best fondue in Geneva.  As much as I want to bring you the scoop, I am certainly not about to eat every fondue in Geneva.   Regardless, I stand by my statement.  Here’s why.  It is really good fondue.  At 20 CHF, it is reasonably priced.  The best part though is the location, its wonderful view and relaxed atmosphere.  This is your view.  Outstanding.  I rest my case.

It is a great place to bring out-of-town guests.  When my mom was visiting, we brought her here (by boat from Eaux-Vives) for a very memorable evening.  She ate it up.  Heck, I ate it up.  Literally.

 

Surprising Vevey

Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life in Vevey.  You can easily see why.  It is a cute, calm, old town with breathtaking views and nice surprises.

 
 
 

The older area near the water is filled with belle époque era buildings.  They have covered the town in flowers.  There is a nice, lengthy lakeside promenade with many parks.  This makes it a perfect place to slow down, walk around and be pleasantly surprised.

This looks cool during the day
…and at night.
Definitely unexpected
 
The Museum of Alimentation (food) had an awesome vegetable/herb garden out front, definitely a nice surprise.*
 
Seeing kids jumping from the pool area into the lake was definitely surprising. Although if you saw the bridge jumping post, it is, perhaps, less so.
It would have been surprising if he had actually caught something.
 
A surprisingly good place to chill out,  we wished we had brought our suits.
 
 

This game was another surprise.  Please let me know if you know what they were playing.  It looked like fun.

 
It would have been surprising if we had jumped in the fountain.  We wanted to, but the kids wouldn’t get out. 
 
 
What?  You don’t see this every day?
 
 
 
Okay, the DeLorean wasn’t too much of a surprise, but the rest of the cars at the car show we stumbled into were.
 
* Nestlé is headquartered in Vevey.  They sponsor the museum and might have had something to do with the fork too.

Go Jump Off A Bridge

Do you remember when your mom said “if your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it to”?  Here, the answer is yes. Okay, so I guess technically this is not allowed. From the looks of it, that wasn’t stopping anyone.
There is a decent current so you can float way down the river in a boat. If you tread water, you’ll be carried along.  Very refreshing.  Very good time.
P.S. If you come visit, please bring us an inflatable boat

A New Leader in Geneva’s Best Beach Competition

It has been hot here. Really hot. Hotter than Charlotte. We don’t have air conditioning. To cool down, we went with our friends, Captain Finland and MC Roni (not their real names), to Jonction.  We brought a blanket and just chilled on the side of the Rhône. When we got hot, we went in for a dip. It is definitely the new frontrunner in the best beach competition.

Here is what we liked about it:

  • Super chill
  • If you are on the grass, you are right next to the river, not three blankets back.
  • You see trees.
  • The current is fun.
  • People are grilling.
  • You can play music.
  • Not too many kids
  • Free
Swans floated by us.
The Jonction where the Rhône and the Aarve meet.
If you come to visit, please bring us a raft, funyak, etc.
Very refreshing
People sunbathe on the docks, but we preferred the grass. It’s less crowded.
Some people came more prepared than we did
The graffiti added color
You climb out on the ladders

FYI – The clear waters of the  Rhône come from the Alps through Lac Leman (Lake Geneva). The Aarve also comes from the Alps, but via riverbeds.  As a result, it has sediment in it.  Jonction is so named because it is where the two intersect.  That is why in the picture above, you can see the clear blue mix with the cloudy water.

It Was So Nice, I Did It Twice!

I couldn’t let summer go by without getting in the lake (at Bains de Paquis). I have to pinch myself when I say this, but I get to see it every day! Sooner or later, I had to get in. It is fed with water from the Alps.  Luckily, I am a girl from the north.
 
The views were beautiful from the water and I did a cannonball off the platform above. In fact, I had such a good time in the lake that I did it again a couple of days later.  This time at Genève-Plage.*

I jumped off the lower platform a couple of times.  The top one was closed.  It will be mine! As you can see, it was a beautiful day.
*Bain des Pâquis is on the Right Bank, while the Genève-Plage is across the lake on the Left Bank.  Generally, the Left Bank, is considered a bit more genteel than the more bohemian, Right Bank’s Bain des Pâquis. They were both nice. To deliver the complete story to you, I feel obligated to try out some more swimming spots and report back.