Friday, August 31, 2012

Swissing Around

Zurich. Basal. Chur. St. Gallen. Laax. Zermatt...and sneaked out of the country to catch the tour!

Where to begin? Last month's travels went by so fast, I had little time to update!!

This is no swiss organization, so I'm just going blurb out randomly the awesome places I had visited.

1. Tour Stage 10 - Bellegarde-sur-Valserine in France
The tour was along the most eastern part of France when I was in Switzerland. A total dream come true to watch the tour in person. I was showered by gifts at the finishing town of Bellegarde, just 20 minutes train ride away from Geneva. It was an expensive train ride, but well worth it! My perception of France is forever skewed! Vive la tour.

2. Zermatt

One of the most scenic things you could do in Switzerland is tackling a 5-hour train ride along the countryside. My breath was taken away at some points. You can see why on the Glacier Express! Interestingly, my train was 46, my seat was 46, and out of the 75 destination announcements, no. 46 announcement was the highest point of elevation during the trip. AWESOME!

 Did a little hike up the Matterhorn, NBD! The other half of the Matterhorn belonged to Italy.

3. St. Gallen 

Max came to meet us in Zurich and spent the weekend and a bit to checkout Switzerland. His mission was to scope the area as he’ll be starting school in st. gallen.
A little town not far from Germany. We did check out the cathedral and this really old book collection named Stiftsbibliothek, with manuscripts dating back to the 8 to 11th century! A lot of the building were also old. Most of them easily 400++ years old.
But to more exciting stuff, this frozen yogurt purchased nearby was fantastique!!

4. Chur
Chur is one of the earliest settlements in Switzerland. I noticed Swiss infrastructure seem to generously grace trams and round-a-bouts in its impressive transportation networks. Q: What happens when you have to pick one of the two?  A: Silly question, just pick both of course.
A tram line going right through a round-a-bout.
Awesome mirrors. By this point, I was pretty familiar with Chur, taking the trains here to and from Zurich about 7 times getting from a friend, Brendan's summer camp and the glacier express. Even picked up some swiss-chocolate!

5. Basal
Don't laugh, I checked out the zoo. I was surprised to see all the exotic animals possibly imagined here. My favourites were these penguins. We share a common interest - eating and racing! ;)

6. Laax
The beautiful countryside is where you want to be as a tourist! Mountains everywhere, one of the pickings for each day of the week basically. A paradise for training with switchback heavens, warm lakes to swim in and awesome trails. No wonder swiss athletes are so fit! Thanks to Brendan, it was awesome to crash his summer camp.

7. Zurich
And...finally Zurich, one of the most livable (but expensive) places to live.

My mind was blown when I was looking at the transit map. This is not a city to get lost in. Soooo, because it was conveniently Ironman weekend, we had to do it right? Max was awesome to take some pictures. Report to come.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Catching a Flight

Vancouver Tri
All week leading up to my trip to Switzerland, I was scrambling to get everything ready. Bought a Garmin. Bollowed a bike box. Took out some Swiss francs. Etc. Etc.

Before I knew it, it was the day of my flight. I had managed a mere 4 hours of sleep, but I figured I would bank it back on the plane. Also I figured it wouldn't hurt to tact on doing a relay run at the Vancouver tri. Crazy? Maybe...but I had to squeeze in my training one way or another. An Ironman was looming only one week away.

I had never been good at team sports. Doing the relay run meant that I had all day to kill minus the little flight to catch. Got to witness Olympican Brent McMahon do all three swims and winning them all. Remarkable! Paula Findlay was also competing (Trust me, I was all giddy inside).

Brent McMahon!

I even saw a seal swimming on course. Did a lot more cheerleading than actual racing.

It was hot.  Slurpee before the flight was well deserved.

Switzerland here I come!