Friday morning was spent in bed, Thursday’s events had left us all pretty tired (especially the ride to Lausanne – headwind all the way) so some extra sleep was called for. Once up though there were some home improvement tasks to accomplish and this meant a trip to Migros a shopping centre that is in fact a small town, well not quite but you get the drift. The result is that the shower curtain no longer attempts to suffocate you and there is now enough light in the bathroom too! In the evening we wandered around the city finding out where the Genevans hang out on a Friday night. Of all the spots available we finally settled on the edge of the lake with some drinks and did a bit of people watching :) Dinner was a Lebanese assortment from La Caravan Passé in Paquis, an establishment sporting authentic decor and incredible food.
If one is looking for a decent night out in Geneva, and this person should have access to many Swiss bank accounts, Rue de Paquis is the place to be on a friday night. This road is party central and, if you are inclined, it also houses Geneva’s Red Light District.
The plans for Saturday were set in stone, CERN, Patek Philippe and Grazia!!
Dom’s understanding of what goes on at CERN:
- CERN is a magical place where they have invented massively important things such as magnets and the Internet!
- There is a 27km long tunnel underneath Geneva and the surrounds which is used to accelerate particles and measure their reactions when they collide… Using experiments at different places around the tunnel they can discover the different nano-particles that exist in the universe. Complicated but that’s the just of it.
- Everyone who works there is SUPER brainy! :)
If you are in any way interested in Particle Physics (there are other people like me, there must be) then CERN is the centre of your universe. It is too much to fully explain but in brief, the facility houses the world’s leading minds in nuclear and particle physics studying the very building blocks of what makes up the world around us. Our guide for the morning was Aidan, one of the thousands of researchers employed by CERN. He gave us an enthusiastic tour of the exhibitions as well as a sneak peek the of control room for
one of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) experiments known as ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS). Click the links for explanations!
The Patek Philippe museum is the largest collection of time you can imagine. They have an extremely large collection of watches from the most early methods of telling time, right up to the present day and everything in between and I mean EVERYTHING! Cameras and cellphones were banned so no pictures unfortunately… There were sundial watches, royal watches, wooden watches, enamel painted pieces, every precious metal known to man and these were encrusted with stones and diamonds of every colour. Possibly the most interesting was a watch known as the Calibre 89 (made in 1989 for PF’s 150th birthday) that weighed in at just over a kilo. It also is currently the worlds most complicated watch with over 1700 components and the following functions (all run by clockwork… no batteries involved):
- Day of the month
- 12-hour recorder
- Day of the week
- Hour of second time-zone
- Moon phase display
- Winding crown position indicator
- Century decade and year displays
- Leap Year Indicator
- Power reserve
- Date of Easter
- Time of sunrise
- Equation of time
- Star chart
- Sun hand
- Time of sunset
- Split second hand
Check it out is pretty impressive! They say that Bill GAtes bought one of the four watches made for the measly sum of $6 000 000! Small change…
The evening was spent in Rolle with a friend of Trevor’s, Grazia, at her home on the hill. An incredible meal of veg soup, beef fillet and roasted spuds combined with red wine, great music and thoughtful conversation was had. Had we not gone for the two hour walk through the area before hand we would have all croaked, not a bad way to go though as Grazia is a maestro in the kitchen! The walk was quite a thing in itself, taking us straight up the most incredible hill only to surprise us with a view for miles over the lake and on to Les Alpes in the distance all covered in snow.
Most of the area is covered in grain fields, wheat and barley, but there are some small pockets of natural forest dotted over the countryside… similar in size but not in colour to the villages that all the meadows belong to. At one point we came across a field of cows all clanging their bells while they grazed on dandelions and grass. The perfect picturesque view to be put on a chocolate wrapper :)
So after picking cherries, talking, walking, eating (and drinking) far too much and talking some more. We jumped back on the train to Geneva and straight to bed!
Our journey takes us West to Dublin before really getting traveling on the way to India and beyond! Guinness here we come!