Wednesday, June 11, 2008

First week in Switzerland

As this is my first Thinkswiss blog I suppose I should provide a brief introduction. I am Dusty Moore and am studing biology in Salt Lake City, Utah. I arrived in Zurich June 5th and briefly explored the city. I wanted to stay there for a few nights but the hostels were all booked several weeks in advance due to the Euro 2008 tournament. I took a walk down the swiss proclaimed "most expensive strip of real-estate in the world" right outside the train station and looked at some of the remarkable architecture of the city. I didn't realize I was an architectural enthusiast unti I caught myself taking photos of significantly more interesting buildings than anything else. Zurich seemed like a cool place, but as I said, my stay was quite limited.

I stayed in Interlaken for two nights end enjoyed exploring the city and definitely enjoyed the scenery. I never could see the tops of the mountains in the area because there was a cloud blanketing the city the entire time, but it didn't matter, the area was very cool. Interlaken is primarily known as an "adventure sport" town, but I decided to put off the activities until the end of my internship so I don't run out of cash haha.


From Interlaken I traveled to Lauterbrunnen and hiked around the breathtaking town. This is a place that the photos I took will never do justice. The town is surrounded by cliffs (over 300m or ~1000 ft) and there are waterfall EVERYWHERE, including switzerlands largest waterfall, which lies at the edge of the very small town. I went to trummelback (spelling?)falls, which is basically a huge series of waterfall found INSIDE a cliff. The swiss drilled into the cliffs and broke out a tunnel system and then made concrete steps (and an elevator-esque transport) so you can go inside the cliff and see the falls and chutes from top to bottom. It was very cool!! From Lauterbrunnen you should be able to see the alps between the two cliff faces that surround the town; however, the clouds were relentless and I never had an opportunity to see the alps, but I will return before my stay is over.

I arrived in Lausanne Sunday and moved into my apartment, which in a great location. I am on Rue de la Louve, just off of the center street and am less than a block away from the metro. As I read in a previous blog, SUNDAY IS NOT THE DAY TO ARRIVE! All stores were closed, so I was unable to buy anything I needed, and to top it off, I am actually renting an apartment with a very nice woman (~80 years old) who only speaks french and italian. Seeing as how I only speak English and some Spanish, her and I have been unable to communicate. I purchased a translation dictionary yesterday which has helped much. I tried to purchase it sooner, but shops in Lausanne close down at about 19:00, which is about the time I have returned from EPFL both nights I have worked prior to today. Lausanne is a very lively city at some hours, particularly at bars and late night restaurants. The Euro cup has also provided an incredibly amount of livelihood the last few days. Last night after Spain won their match dozens of people flooded the streets with their flags and stopped traffic to celebrate. It was very cool to see in person and not just on the t.v.
I have not had a chance yet to visit the lake or see any of the tourist attractions, partially because I have been busy trying to get my apartment habitable. I plan to see some of the sites soon though.

I am working at EPF Lausanne with a PhD student Stefan Kobel under the supervision of Dr. Matthius Lutolf. We are working on the development of hydro-gels, a technique which will be used for isolating individual stem cells and will be used to increase the current knowledge on individual stem cell divisions. The work so far has been very interesting and I have enjoyed every minute of it... I have also enjoyed the frequent coffee breaks which I am not used to with my current job in the U.S. :). As this post is already too long, I will write more about my stay in the next one.


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Alicia said...

If you're in the LSCB, I'm right down the hall...
And I do speak French if your land-lady gives you any trouble!

-the original "I arrived on a Sunday"