Archive for the ‘Switzerland’ Category

CERN

Posted: August 22, 2012 in Switzerland

Today we went to CERN, which is about 9km out of Geneva, and it is where scientists from all over the world are studying results from the Hadron Collider tests.  This is an underground, 27km long loop that is used to send protons around at 99.9% of the speed of light in opposite directions then collide them simulating the events that took place just after the ‘Big Bang’.

The studies carried out there are looking to uncover the mystery of the creation of the universe and in particular to see if they can discover the ‘God Molecule’, which is, thought to be responsible for all creation.

The CERN museum.

The CERN research center is pushing technology to advance extremely quickly.  They have hugely powerful computers all over the world, which communicate using unbelievably quick data transfer rates.  The display there had examples of ‘super computers’ that are not even 10 years old yet something that is a 10th of the size these days is 3 times as powerful.

Although the Internet has been around for many years – the scientist who created the first ever web page and web server worked at CERN. His computer was there on display and although it was only in the late 80’s when he introduced the ‘world wide web’ to the world, the computer he used looks like an old piece of junk compared to today’s PC’s.

They are doing a lot of other research there especially for the medical world and it was very interesting to walk around and see what they are hoping to achieve.

After working with math’s and physics his whole career Neil was particularly interested in it all, but we were all pretty amazed at how hard they were pushing and developing new technology at the place.

A life size replacer of the tunnel and collider.

After we had finished looking around we made our way back to Geneva.  Tina didn’t come with us to CERN – instead finding a large water park and beach area just past the carnival area, so I went to find her.

Today the huge jet fountain was on!

The jet fountain.

We spent a couple of hours sitting in the sun and swimming before having dinner and going home for the night.

Zurich to Geneva.

Posted: August 21, 2012 in Switzerland

The next few days we have planned are going to be a bit full on.  Making our way from Zurich to Lake Geneva via the panoramic train stopping at a couple of places along the way.

 

Waiting at another station.

Swiss countryside from the train.

More beautiful Swiss countryside.

The first place we planned to visit is the Schilthorn, this is a mountain in the Alps where a 007, James Bond film was made back in the late 60’s.  We left really early in the morning to catch a train to Interlaken from there we had to get a bus up to a place called Muller and from there a series of cable cars to the top of the Schilthorn.

Tina taking photos.

The whole area is really scenic, with snow capped mountains (even in summer) and waterfalls running into the rivers below.

A man playing a huge horn.

At the top is the world’s first ever revolving restaurant.  We got a table and sat down to enjoy lunch with a 360-degree view of the mountains around us.

 

The revolving restaurant.

After lunch we went for a walk around outside taking photos and admiring the scenery.  Once we had spent long enough up there we made our way back down to Interlaken where we were staying the night.  Our accommodation was at a place Tina had found called The Tent City.  When got there we found a really cool setup.  Just on the edge of town a series of tents and marquees setup.

 

The tent city.

We checked in and had a look around; it was a great little setup.  A main marquee had a bar and lounge area with toilets and showers off to the side, a communal fridge, tea and coffee area also.  The bar looked out past the tents to the mountains with a yard in front of it that had a swimming pool, hot tub, hammocks, tables and chairs.

There was a supermarket across the road so we went over to grab some food for dinner then sat down at the bar with the other guests to have a drink and a chat.  We met a few Aussies and some Kiwi’s, some of them were stopping overnight like us and others were staying there for a while paragliding and taking part in all the other mountain sports that happen there over the summer time when there is no snowboarding or skiing.  It was a great fun place to visit and the tents were a really great setup and very comfortable to stay in.

Another early start to get the train to Montruex on lake Geneva.  The panoramic train took us along some really great scenic paths; we could pull the windows down and take photos as we went, getting some great shots along the way.

Lake Geneva.

Once we got to Montreux we found our accommodation, which was in a great spot in a square right on the water.  It was a nice sunny day and fairly hot, so we went for a walk along the lakeside.  There were people everywhere enjoying the sun, eating at the little cafes that lined the foreshore or getting rides on the many floating restaurants and other boats on the lake.

Shaun enjoying the lake.

A large fork in the lake outside a food museum???

There were heaps of private boats and lots of water sports happening too, with swimming areas and parks on the waters edge.  We ended up hiring a little paddleboat and going for a cruise around on the lake for a while.

It was a really nice area – if we had more time it would have been nice to stay a few days here.  However we were moving around the lake to Geneva for a couple of days.

It took us about an hour in the morning by train to arrive in Geneva.  The place we were staying at was not on the lake like the last place but it was only a short tram ride to the water and we were given a free travel card that worked in the city zone.  We checked in then caught up on some overdue laundry before going for a look around.

We got a copy of the city map and headed straight for the water.  There is a huge jet fountain that shoots up to 140m in the air we wanted to see.  We followed the map to where it should be but couldn’t see it; Lea had seen it from the tram earlier as we were going to our accommodation however it was not working now.  We asked someone and they said it was on earlier however it goes off from time to time.

 

Scenery from the banks of lake Geneva.

We decided to walk along the waterfront for a while.  There was a music festival on and the whole foreshore was lined with carnies and food stalls.  It was pretty busy, lots of families around with the kids all jumping on the rides and playing.  There were quite a few street performers also and around towards the end of the carnival was a large swimming area and man made beach setup.

 

Cruising through the carnival before it got too busy.

We spent a while walking around and we came across a huge fireworks setup right in the middle of the main area.  It was all fenced off and the pyro’s were in there setting all the fuses etc.  Not sure when they were letting it all off but it looked like a big display.

Fireworks ready to set off.

This would be good to see.

After our last few days of early starts and non-stop moving, we decided to have an early one and catch up on some sleep.

Zurich

Posted: August 21, 2012 in Switzerland

Next stop on our adventure is Switzerland.  A train ride from Munich had us landed in Zurich.  When we were in Mexico earlier in the year we stayed at the Swiss Oasis Hotelito.  The owner, Manuela, had told us to get in contact with her good friend Conny, when we got to Switzerland.  We had made contact with Conny a bit earlier and she offered us to stay with her for a couple of days, so we caught the bus to a nearby stop and Conny was there waiting for us.

We went back to her house, which is just north of Zurich.  It is out of town a bit in some nice countryside; with the sun shinning it was fairly hot.  Conny and her boyfriend Philip had prepared an awesome BBQ for us and a fridge full of cold drinks.

 

All set for a BBQ Swiss style.

She has a large back yard setup nicely for entertaining, so we all sat outside in the sun for the afternoon chatting, eating, drinking and getting to know each other.

Conny told us she has been travelling all of her life, but her favorite place is Australia.  She has been there about 20 times and has probably seen more of our country than we have.

We talked about a lot of different things to do while in the area, however with only a couple of days here we had to narrow it down to a day trip to near by Luzern.

 

River front buildings in Luzern.

We got into Luzern about mid morning and it was still very hot and muggy, there were clouds around that looked as though it could rain.  We first of went to the information stand at the station to get a city map.  The map had a city walk outlined on it, which covered all the sights to see.

We decided to grab some lunch first before starting the walk.  Luckily we did because we had no longer sat down in a little café on the river (inside, undercover) when it began to rain.  Then thunder and heavier rain.  It went for about 10 minutes before easing off again.  It looked like it was clearing up, but had got a lot cooler so we just went for it anyway.

We started along the river then crossed an old timber bridge.  The bridge had a tower half way along it that was used as a guardhouse and there would be torture and other interrogation methods carried out on prisoners there years ago.

 

The timber bridge and tower crossing the river.

The bridge had actually partially burnt down a few years ago but was so popular with tourists visiting Luzern that they rebuilt it.

The walk then took us past the main chapel and through some of the old streets to a monument of a Lion.  Simply called the dying Lion monument – it commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution.  It is carved into the face of a huge cliff and is really impressive.

 

The chapel.

The dying lion.

Tina at the monument.

We continued to walk through the streets crossing the river a couple of time on other bridges.  We had done most of the city when it began raining again so we decided to finish up and go back to Conny’s house.

 

Some more buildings along the river at Luzern.

Conny had to go to Italy with some friends.  She offered us to stay at her house as long as we needed which was really nice of her.  She said she has been shown some great hospitality while in Australia so was only too happy to help us out in return.  We stayed the night then moved on in the morning.

Conny and Philip were great people and we will be sure to offer them a place to stay next time they are visiting Australia.