Friday, June 5, 2009

Bonjour de Lausanne!


This blog comes to you from beautiful Lausanne in the Canton of Vaud. Switzerland has completely surprised and enthralled me. It is a beautiful place, full of very interesting and diverse people. The views are just picture-perfect...I feel like I'm living in a postcard! This picture to the left is the view from my bedroom window!

I arrived this past Monday at a groggy 8AM in Geneva. I was able to get on a train right from the airport to Lausanne, a 45 minute trip around Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). The trains are always on time here, you can set your watch by them (in fact, most of us do). The culture has come as a bit of a shock to me, as the people are much quieter here than in the US. The train was so quiet I felt that one could hear a pin drop, literally. The train itself was very clean and the people very nice.

Lausanne is on the north side of the Lac Léman and is home to two major universities: the Université de Lausanne (UNIL) and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). As such, it is a very well-educated and sophisticated place, full of culture and activity. Both schools are actually adjacent to each other on the west side of the city. I work with the Tschopp Lab of UNIL's Department of Biochemistry. It is not, however, close to the main UNIL campus. Rather, it is farther north in a village called Epalinges. Fortunately, all of Lausanne is effectively networked by the metro (subway). Lausanne is the smallest city to have a functional metro. True to Swiss form about being on time, in the newest metro (the one I take to work, the M2), there are signs above the waiting area telling riders how long the wait is until the next train. You never wait more than 6 minutes. The town is also home to the Olympic Committee, and has an Olympic Museum, a park with many statues of olympic events. A picture of the park entrance is above.

All of Lausanne is built into a hill, so much of the city has a view of the lake. One of the great things about the two universities is that they share housing all over the city. I live in student housing La Maison de Falaises, which means "the cliffs". It's a small room, but it has a great view and is close to work (5 metro stops). I live by the city's hospital (CHUV), and have an amazing view of the city. A 15 minute walk gets me directly into downtown, termed Le Centre or Le Flon. Especially neat about the downtown is that it is about 2 stories below the streets above. It is not underground, but rather just set into the land and open to the sunshine. Most of the shops are on pedestrian cobblestone paths that cars cannot drive on. The next two pics are of Le Flon - the first gives perspective and the second a feeling for the shops and main area.

The way of life is so different, here, too, and much more French in culture. For example, every meal is "celebrated" here. There is not a lot of fast food, very few places will sell food you can just eat on the run. The food is very bread, cheese, and fruit-centered. There is a LOT of coffee and expresso around. After lunch together at the cafeteria, much of my lab came back and chatted over an expresso before going back to work; it's part of the enjoyment of life, food, and people. But people are very unassuming and quiet here, they generally do not strike up conversation with people they don't know. They also don't smile to be polite, here that would make you look, as a German friend once put it, "stupid".

I am so fortunate to be among a very international group of people. Very few people cannot speak some English, although I have very quickly become known as "the American who speaks good English". I am the only American in the lab, and the only one I have met here so far. But we have a couple of Germans, some Italian Swiss, some German Swiss, some French Swiss, 3 Australians, an Indian, two Japanese, one Chinese, and some French. People switch seamlessly between languages, depending on who they're around. It's so very unusual to hear, but awesome all at once.

These last couple of days I went to Les Rasses, a little village in the Jura mountains. Switzerland has two mountain ranges, the Alps and the Jura. The glacially-formed Jura are north of the tectonic Alps, making them smoother and thus less desireable for skiiers. Our lab spent time walking to the top of a mountain, though, which was such a beautiful view. We passed many cows on the way up, and I had many opportunites on the couple hours hike to learn about different European cultures. At the top, you could see the French border, as the Jura run along the Swiss-French border from the Rhône to the Rhine. No big fences like in North America - that hasn't been there for many decades, so I had to keep asking people around me where the border was. This last picture is a view from the hotel, only partway up the mountain!

All in all, it has been a wonderful learning experience so far, and I certainly have not been exhaustive here. I will be going out to the Swiss countryside this weekend to enjoy village life with my mentor from the lab, a German post-doc. But for now, here are some pictures of the journey!

12 comments:

Katie said...

Fantastic pictures and description of your time so far. enjoy every moment. katie

Sterski said...

All this the first week! And it will only get better...trust me! Wish I could be there to enjoy it with you.

Anonymous said...

[color=red]The Most Affordable XRUMER/BACKLINK SERVICE Online!
The EFFORTLESS and POWERFUL WAY TO BUILD MASSIVE # OF BACKLINKS
[color=black]
200,000 BLASTS of your URLs+ Anchor Tex, message, pictures (can be spinned) etc
$10 USD (shared with other clients like a carpool), or
$25/200k for exclusive!(you control EVERYTHING)
$50 Exclusive @ 500,000 blasts.
(Complete reports will be given to clients)

[IMG]http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/1540/arrowdownh.gif[/IMG]
For orders, questions or concerns? Email: [u]formless.void47 at gmail.com [/u]
Note:
1. For STRICT Whitehat sites, it is advised to create buffers to pass on linkjuice. i.e. social bookmarks, cloaked pages etc.
You can blast the site directly, but it entails risk.
Using buffers are 100% safe, speaking from experience.
2. Xrumer is a very technical tool. Just describe to me what sorts of effects you want and well make it happen!
If you want to buy Xrumer?
>>>>> http://cloakedlink.com/chzgykebsd <<<<<<

[color=black]
-------
CLIENT 2 SAMPLE SPACE FILLED WITH URLs,Pics and Keywords
search engine optimization software denver seo company seo consultants directory seo canada seo management services linking add url seo pros seo lom do thuy dau seo blogs dmoz seo buy a link tucson seo best seo seo chester seo webinar hobo seo seo qualifications buy it now link seo career expert seo services seo website promotion buy quality links ecommerce seo seo optomization houston seo services Xrumer 3 baidu seo consultant seo canadian seo seo vs ppc seo resources affordable seo firm add link buy mail order seo instruction seo rules good seo affordable seo company india google seo certification seo monitoring software cheap seo company seo reports seo articles india seo company noida search engine positioning buy overnight seo southampton performance based seo Xrumer Demo

-----
CLIENT 3 SAMPLE SPACE
[url=http://provenheightincrease.co.cc/ebook/shoe-lifts]shoe lifts[/url] http://provenheightincrease.co.cc/ebook/shoe-lifts

[url=http://herpescures.co.cc/drugs/Herpes-Encephalitis-Symptoms-Signs-Of-Herpes-Herpes-Simplex-2-Pictures.html]herpes encephalitis symptoms signs of herpes herpes simplex 2 pictures[/url]

http://electroniccigs3.insanejournal.com/1009.html Buy Black Widow bud reviews Buy T-C-3 reviews Buy Txxx Stix reviews Buy Stashish reviews

[url=<<Dec112009-17:40][/url]


-----
CLIENT 4 SAMPLE SPACE
[url=http://provenheightincrease.co.cc/ebook/men-height-increase-shoe]men height increase shoe[/url] http://provenheightincrease.co.cc/ebook/men-height-increase-shoe

[url=http://growyourdick.co.cc/penile/method-to-increase-penis-size]method to increase penis size[/url] http://growyourdick.co.cc/penile/method-to-increase-penis-size

http://www.fragrance-direct.info/Purchase-Cheapest-Genuine-Bcb-Girls-Star-Discounts-Online-Website-Sale-Buy-Best-Authentic-Todd-Oldham.html

http://buycheapplasmatv.info/cgi-bin/index.pl?=usb-hdtv [url=http://buycheapplasmatv.info/cgi-bin/index.pl?=usb-hdtv]usb hdtv[/url]

[url=http://teethwhiteningstripsreviews.info/xr/effects-of-teeth-whitening]tooth whiteninhg dental tooth whitening Best tootnh whitening aurora illinois teeth whitening teeth whifening Fukushima White Rock Louiseville da vinci teeth whitening[/url]

-----
CLIENT 5 SAMPLE SPACE
[url=http://cheapxrumerservice.co.cc]Cheap Xrumer Service[/url]
[url=http://cheapxrumerservice.co.cc]Cheapest Xrumer Service[/url]
[url=http://cheapxrumerservice.co.cc]Best Xrumer Service[/url]
--------
http://buypleodinosaurrobots3.wikispaces.com/space/xmla?v=rss_2_0

http://cheaphdtvplasma.co.cc/television/hdtv-price-comparison [url=http://cheaphdtvplasma.co.cc/television/hdtv-price-comparison]hdtv price comparison[/url]

margarito said...

herbal viagra
viagra alternatives

Global Business Services said...

Nice post!!!!working best SEO Company in Noida

billy jonson said...

Hey!!!!! such a nice Blog you have written . I have read your blog so carefully and found it too helpful. If You want to little more about Best Seo Company In India you can visit here WWW.Brainguru.in

John Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Terry said...






Found your blog. It is full of really good information. Thank you for sharing. If you ever need service on air conditioning repair please visit us at rheemteamcomfort.com. We would love it if you would have a look at some of our blogs and let us know your thoughts.