Thursday, June 30

Cycling on Route One

We've decided to cycle across Switzerland. A bit mountainous for cycling you think? For our introduction we've chosen National Route 1 - what a good place to start! Route 1 is a 308 km path that follows the River Rhone from Geneva to Andermatt in central Switzerland.

We have already covered the 60kms from Geneva to Lausanne in our famous CycloLeman Tour on June 12. Last weekend we added another 45 kms by riding from Aigle to Lausanne.

Camping at AigleTo make this seem like a holiday, we are combining our cycling with camping out in our very, very small tent. Jealous? Well, although it's not as comfy as home, our first camping experience at Aigle was great. The camping ground had fantastic views of the mountains every way you looked. You don't get to see much of a place driving through or stopping for lunch. Staying the night in the local van park provides a very different perspective.
The Van Park at Aigle
Sunset over AigleSunset over Aigle

Thursday, June 23

Swiss Rail System Collapses

The Swiss trains weren't only late yesterday, they weren't running at all. For the first time in its history, the national rail system (SBB) suffered a complete breakdown, due to an unexplained power failure. Rumours are abound that Italy is to blame for not delivering enough electricity through to Switzerland, but an SBB spokesman has politely dismissed this.

About 100,000 people and 9,000 trains were affected by this incident. Not a problem for me - I walk to work. Thankfully for the train catchers, things are back on track this morning.

Wednesday, June 22

Summer's Here!

Summer has started and it's hot! Temperatures have been in the low 30's for the last few days. I didn't realise it got so hot and humid in Switzerland. Sorry guys, I don't mean to gloat! I hear this is a bit of a contrast to the weather some of you are experiencing at the moment.

We've been busy with visitors over the last couple of weeks. Dean H stayed with us for a weekend in early June and it was great to see him. We drove around the lake and visited the Chateau de Chillon and the gardens at the Olympic Museum.

Last week I attended my first big UN meeting, organised by my division. There were over 150 statisticians from 52 countries, including several Australians and Kiwis whom Peter has worked with in the past. He organised a dinner with them at a nice restaurant overlooking the lake and took a couple of them touring once the meeting was over. We won't mention him popping the car tyre on one of Geneva's famous razor sharp curbs!

We've just had a terrific weekend with Elissa, Chris and 13 m.o. Hugh. They have been travelling around Europe for 6 weeks and were visiting Geneva for the first time. We wandered into the city, enjoyed dinners sitting out in our garden, walked in the forest at Versoix, played tennis and swam at our local centre sportif and of course, the obligatory tour of the UN! Hugh is a real character and it was fun having a little one around. Elissa and Chris are great company and it was so nice to see them. They're now in Paris for a week before heading home, where they will no doubt collapse in exhaustion! 7 weeks on the road with a small child must be hard work.

Fiona arrives this Sunday for her whirlwind visit to Europe. She'll be here for 18 days and will visit at least 3 countries (Switzerland (obviously!), France and the UK). We're so excited and looking forward to showing her around!

Sunday, June 12

Geneva to Lausanne CycloTour Leman

Before the startJess and Peter completed the 60km Geneva to Lausanne leg of the CycloTour Leman (max distance 170k) in the credible time of 2hr 22min, at an average speed of 25.3k/hr. Given that they were on hybrid (combo mountain) bikes, and the training was less than perfect, this performance is nothing short of magnificent. Ok, we did finish 78 & 79 out of 87 riders for this leg (Peter was the 7th oldest!!). Starting lineThere were over 1,000 riders altogether & the ride was brilliantly organised. We were provided with a riding shirt (a bit tight for Peter....mmmm!!!), water bottle, drinks and food along the way & a hot pasta lunch at the end. At every roundabout (& do the Swiss love roundabouts!!) flag waving officials stopped the cars so the cyclists could speed through...we loved this & particularly the French couple who were applauding us yelling "Bravo!!" as we steamed up a hill near the end.

Finish line

Monday, June 6

Mt Saleve

View of Geneva from Mt SaleveA couple of weekends ago we went walking on top of Mt Saleve, a relatively small mountain in France, which overlooks Geneva. It was a bit hazy that day, but the views were still sensational. There are plenty of lookouts, walking tracks, restaurants and paragliders. It's a very nice place to spend an afternoon. In this photo you should be able to see Geneva's famous Jet d'eau towards the left end of the lake.