2011 By The Numbers

999      A conservative estimate on the number of times we have been lost (or at least taken wrong turns).

998      Pots of yummy, Swiss yogurt eaten.  I know that this number is a bit low.  We found the world’s best cottage cheese a couple of months in.  It definitely hurt our yogurt consumption.  We will try to do better next year.

45        The number of dollars paid in speeding tickets.  Astoundingly, we have gotten fewer tickets than anyone we know.  We were “lucky” enough to get ours in France so we paid it in Euros, much cheaper than tickets in CHF‘s.

40        Number (more or less) of cute pairs of heels in my closet here that have gone unworn due to large amounts of walking and heel eating cobblestones.   What has happened to me?

30        Roughly, the number of times I have been honked at while driving.  This works out to more or less one honk per drive.  Not too shabby.

17        Number of languages we can watch tv  in.  They are: French, German, Italian, English, Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Portuguese, Turkish, Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian, Arabic, Dutch, Russian, Mandarin and Thai.  Unfortunately, we can only understand 1 or  2 of these.

15       The approximate number of emails he receives when I post pictures of him in      “fashionable” attire.  I get calls saying “what did you post about me because my email is blowing up”.

13       British TV Shows viewed (don’t judge): Top GearGrand DesignsWallace and GromitSnog Marry AvoidTake Me OutHow Clean Is Your House (it is extremely motivational to put on while cleaning), Horrible HistoriesGok’s Fashion Fix/Gok’s Clothes RoadshowSherlock (fantastic, a must see), Doctor WhoJamie’s Great BritianTime TeamHistory of Ancient Britain (History of Britain is better).  We did not watch the royal wedding even though there is still excessive coverage of it on British TV.

12        Countries Visited: DenmarkSwedenSpainFranceEngland, Scotland  (him), Germany (him), Belgium (me), Switzerland, South Africa, Egypt, and the United States.

11        The number of hours our jet lagged, germ filled bodies slept upon returning to Switzerland (this was followed by several lengthy naps and another long night’s sleep).

10        Tours (KarlsburgBurgundyCheese FactoryCailler Chocolate Factory,  Underground LakeTour of LondonToledo, Cullian Diamond Mine, Nelson Mandela’s Home, Soweto, unsure if safari’s count as an official tour.

9         “Exotic” foods we have eaten: bugs (South Africa), pigeon (England), crocodile (South Africa), horse (at home purchased from the local grocery store), gelatinized foie gras (France – definitely worse than the bugs), ostrich (South Africa), snails (France, bien sur), wild boar (Switzerland), quail (Spain) and duck (France).

8          The number of times he has taken the wrong train, tram or bus to and/or home from work.

7          The approximate number of times I grocery shop in a week (this includes visits to the Patisserie to buy bread).  Before our move, I prided myself on being able to get by for almost two weeks on one shopping trip.  Now that I carry everything home (and therefore buy less at a time), look for sales all over and try to buy the freshest, I have septupled my trips. Craziness.

6(ish)   Fantastic, Unforgettable, Once in A Lifetime Hikes in Switzerland: Gruyeres Cheesemaker’s Path, La Salevethe MatterhornJungfrauLavaux, many around Geneva.

5         Meals eaten out at Geneva restaurants since we moved (due to their high cost and our unwillingness to bankrupt ourselves).

4          The number of snow tires that are currently on our car (also the number of regular tires currently in storage).  Anyone ever heard of all season tires?

3          Family members who have visited; also the number of times the washing machine repairman has visited our miniscule washer.

2          Dogs given away (and are very happy with their new families)

1          Bridge jumpaerobed destroyed, and container shipped to Switzerland.




 

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An Underground Lake!

When we went to the Matterhorn, we saw the geology of Switzerland firsthand.  On the way back, our quads were sore and we weren’t up to another big hike.  As a result, we decided to see the underground lake at St. Leonard in Valais.  It was touristy, a bit cheesy, another geology lesson and cooler than I am making it sound.  

The lake was discovered in 1943, during a the search for water in a drought.* In 1946 an earthquake opened some more fissures that lowered the water-level.  This made it accessible.   We entered down the stairs and climbed into these large rowboats.  Sorry if the pictures are blurry.  The low light and the movement of the boat (and the other 41 people on it), made them challenging to take.   They definitely do not do its beauty justice.
The water in Switzerland’s lakes is lovely and crystal clear.  The water in this cave is even more so.  It is a constant at 11 °C (52 °F) and it is always 15 °C (59 °F).
 

How can there be fish in this lake you ask?  So did we.  They are Rainbow Trout.  They have no natural food source and no predators so they were HUGE.  The guide feeds them from the rowboat.  They were pretty cool to see up close.  I’m not sure who was more into them, the kids in the boat or their parents.

The lake was closed from 2000 to 2003, to improve the cave’s stability.  Clearly, they put in tons of ceiling support.  If I remember correctly, each side of the cave is a different type of stone and the ceiling is a third.   Unfortunately, that one is softer (I don’t want to give you the wrong type so I won’t name it).

*St. Leonard lies in an area of Valais that is the sunniest part of Switzerland.