Sunday, 13 February 2011

12 hours in Switzerland

If you follow me on Twitter you'll know about my little adventure to Switzerland on Friday.Well it went very well indeed,it was a lovely day,despite the fact that I was in the office for nearly all of it.

Even getting up at 3am wasn't a problem,and I didn't feel tired at all throughout the whole day.That said,I did sleep *rather* well when I got home :) The flight to Zürich was great.I requested a window seat so I could take pictures of the sunrise,but it turned out to be an over-the-wing seat so I didn't bother in the end.But it was very pretty.And as well as being entertained by a ridiculous Belgian slapstick show on the telly, we also got a chocolate muffin and a mini Lindt chocolate bar.That's my kind of breakfast.

The train to Winterthur was no problem,although understanding the Swiss accent really is.It's a bit deflating when you've spent more than half your life speaking German only to find you can't understand a word of what they say in a country where it's a main language.Thankfully in the office,I think they realise this.Anyway,we spent most of the day speaking English,which was nice.All of my colleagues are lovely and friendly,as are the other interns,who came in from Paris and northern Italy for the day.We were all taken out for a rather posh lunch of salad,sweet and sour linguine with prawns,and a mass of chocolate mousse.Of course,this being Switzerland,there's a lot of code-switching going on in public,and so no sooner had someone finished a sentence in German,they were being answered in French,and someone was making a comment in Italian.It's quite mind-bending and makes you realise that this country really has a lot to answer for when it comes to teaching languages.

Most exciting part of the day was finding out that the web designer guy knows what Primark is.It was quite a surreal conversation really,especially as he also knew that their reputation isn't so good :) The other highlight was telling my (very condensed) version of the story of what happened/didn't happen between me and a certain person from northern Germany,and then being told that I shouldn't bother with German men.That I need to find myself a Swiss,because they're nicer and would treat me better.Ha! Watch this space then I suppose.

I asked if there was any Swiss music that I should listen to,as my current collection is a bit short (1 Michael von der Heide album and a few Lovebugs songs),and was told to check out Blick.But I haven't done yet.

My job offer was less of an offer than an assumption that I already knew about it and had accepted it.I will of course.I become a freelance translator when my contract is up in July and will be given some real-life clients who will apparently be a source of very regular work,and give me "enough money to live on."I liked that,that's something you wouldn't see on a Reed job description.

Shopping at Zürich airport was rather disappointing.Although I did manage to find the perfect present for James- a little tin in the shape of a Swiss bank vault filled with chocolate coins and gold bars.It's probably the best present I've ever got anyone,I just hope I don't feel tempted to open it before I see him next weekend.

But before leaving Winterthur,there was something I just had to find.Luckily,it was just round the corner from the office.



I think that beats every other amusing foreign sign I've ever seen.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Paris

Things have got better since the last post.It's all been constant work since Christmas so I've not had time to notice anything else.I'm going to Switzerland for the day on Friday,going to see James in Wrexham next week,then Italy in 4 weeks time.But 2 weekends ago,I went to Paris with only my new semi-professional camera for company.



A window of the Notre Dame.




Seagulls on a wall.



The Pont de l'Archevêché in the 4th/5th,where you can see...



...Love locks.Where two people basically write their names on a padlock and lock it somewhere.Apparently they do this in Italy too.My mum saw them in Rome.Anyway,this one was on its own in a little garden,but they are actually...



...all over the bridge!

When you find yourself in Levallois on a Sunday morning,you must go to the market in the sports hall.Everyone is cheerful and friendly despite the freezing cold and the smells of various types of cheese,fruits,fresh fish and crêpes all mingle together,creating an experience you'll never find in this country.Breakfast should be followed by a visit to l'Île de la Grande Jatte- a favourite spot for the impressionists and the place I spent most of my free time when I lived in France despite realising that's what it was.



Under the Pont de Levallois.



A panorama of wintry trees.

Of course no trip abroad is complete without...



...a bad translation.

And no trip to Paris is complete without a trip to Les Enfants de la Cuisine on the Boulevard de Sébastopol for one of their legendary white chocolate tarts.



C'est beau la vie :)