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  • Where’s a taxi when you need one?

    Posted at 21:16 , on February 10, 2019

    I recently had to take an early morning train to the airport to catch a flight. Per usual, I didn’t check the weather to see what it would be like at 5:55am when I left my house to walk to the train station. It turns out, it was snowing like crazy.

    Believe it or not, it doesn’t snow much in Montreux. When it does, it’s been flurries. Of course, this day when I needed to be somewhere and when I couldn’t wear my snow boots, there were INCHES on the ground.

    I had to use my umbrella, because it was snowing so much. Plus, I was dragging my rolling suitcase, which was basically like dragging a snow shovel. I kept creating piles of snow behind me.

    After approximately two minutes of walking, I tried to call a taxi realizing I wouldn’t make it to the train station in time for my 6:16am train. I tried three numbers, and none of the taxi companies answered the phone. I guess you have to call and book one the night before.

    I moved as quickly as I could down the sidewalk praying that I wouldn’t fall, that I wouldn’t destroy my favorite leather booties, and that I wouldn’t miss my train. I was also panicking from the start, because there is a steep, cobblestone path between my street and the train station, and I didn’t know how I would get down it in the snow with luggage.

    Sure enough, I got to the cobblestone path, and it wasn’t plowed. I panicked like I did several years ago standing at the top of a steep ski slope. I decided I couldn’t risk trying to get down it and would have to go the long way down the main road. Unfortunately, the main road has no sidewalk at this point, so I was walking in the middle of a car lane carrying my umbrella, dragging my suitcase, and slip sliding along. I knew I was probably missing my train, which was making me anxious.

    Multiple cars drove by throughout this journey, and no one stopped to help, even though I’m sure I looked utterly ridiculous.

    While this road wasn’t quite as steep as the cobblestone road, it was still pretty steep at the last stretch. I was nearly crying trying to finish the walk without falling. It was super icy at the steepest part. And by this time, I was sweating like crazy from dragging my luggage in the snow. I had to climb down several flights of stairs to get to the train station, which was hard to do while carrying luggage, an umbrella, and trying to hold the handrail to keep from falling down the snowy, icy steps.

    I rushed to the platform to see if by some miracle I could catch my train. Would you believe that the train was SIX minutes late (unheard of in Switzerland)?! It pulled up just as I got to the platform. What usually takes me 10 minutes to walk from my apartment took me almost 30 minutes.

    Once on the train, it took ages to stop sweating. I was so relieved that I made it!

    A fellow US expat posted a picture online that morning showing how much snow we got. She lives only a short walk from my place. I had no time for taking pictures, but thought this would give you an idea of what I was facing.

    So much snow!

    Hopefully, I will do a better job of checking the weather for snow in the future before venturing out to catch a train so early in the morning. Braving the elements before 6:00am is not for the faint of heart! It almost did me in!

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  • Hot Air Balloon Festival

    Posted at 06:00 , on February 6, 2019

    One of the annual events I repeatedly missed when living in Switzerland previously is the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Chateau d’Oex. This year, I was determined to attend.

    I met a new friend from church at the train station in Montreux, and we rode one hour to Chateau d’Oex. There were hot air balloons flying all over the valley. Between the snow, the mountains, and the balloons, I couldn’t help but take a lot of pictures!

    We had some Macaroni de Chalet for lunch and a crepe for dessert. Yum!

    How about this fork / knife combo?! I’ve used plenty of sporks in my life, but this was a first for me. What is it called? A fife? A knork?

    The sun came out in the afternoon as we were preparing to leave.

    We didn’t splurge on a ride, as it was 390 CHF per person, but we still had a beautiful snowy Saturday in the mountains.

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  • Quick trip

    Posted at 20:42 , on February 5, 2019

    I recently took a quick work trip to London. It was literally less than 24 hours. While a trip like that doesn’t afford time for seeing any sites or even eating a meal outside of the office or hotel, there were some highlights:

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