Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Ode To Eimalzin Crisp

Recently, I was looking for an interesting alternative to everyone's favorite hazelnut spread Nutella. I found this product called Eimalzin Crisp in the Migros and decided to give it a try. It tastes just like Nutella but has these little crackly bits in them. Imagine grinding up a kit kat bar very small and mixing it into a soft nutella. Pure heaven. I probably should not eat so much of this stuff since it is such high calorie, but one spoonful on a piece of bread or by itself is pure heaven. Yum!!!

Eimalzin Crisp - So Yummy - A Crispy Version Of Nutella!

Browsing for more information about the product, I ran into this little tidbit on the internet - The Nutella Alternatives Flickr Group Pictures. Check it out!


Speeding Ticket!

Damnit! We recieved in the mail yesterday our very own Swiss speeding ticket! On January 15th somewhere in Morges, driving between Lusaunne and Nyon, a camera caught me going over the speed limit tolerances by 8 km/hr. Only 8 km/hr over!!!!! (That's only 4.9 mph) Argh. It it seriously hard to tell when driving here when the speed limit changes from 60 to 50. The national speed limit for city driving is 60. Small little towns can set their own and set up speed traps like the one I went through.  

Oh well. Speeding tickets don't effect insurance prices at all here and it is only 40 CHF. Switzerland has a lot of these speed cameras around and it is hard to see them all. I have noticed several of them on the A1 route between here and Ikea near Lusaunne. I am pretty sure during this drive I was honked at several times for going too slow! Rob actually laughed when he saw it. 

I guess this whole thing can be chalked up to a real Swiss experiance? We think so. 

Explanation of the speeds and tolerances

Cameras don't have to provide the pictures like they do in the states.
The pink part is the bill you pay at the post office.


Geneva's Tap Water

Having come from a place where the tap water is so-so and everyone drinks bottled water like crazy, it is refreshing for switzerland's tap water to be some of the best in the world. I can finally fill up my Nalgene bottles and not worry about the wierd taste. Better yet, the tap water is really cold and no ice cubes are needed. 

Looking at some glocal forums, I found this thread about Geneva's tap water and a question on whether it was hard or soft. I found out it depends on where you live in the canton as to where your water comes from. Check out this site (in French) for a map. Scroll over your location and check out the mineral contents! 

The area I live in gets the water from the lake itself! Hmmmmm - it does make me want to yell at people I see pollute or swim around in it! 


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Interesting Prop 8 Cartoon

I can't really let the Prop 8 issue go back into the shadows till the next election round. I am constantly reading articles about it and am still very passionate about the subject. Anyways. I found an interesting cartoon you might all enjoy . . .

In other news - I finally got off my lazy butt and got a gym membership today. It is right across the street and really conveniant. I also restarted using sparkpeople to track goals, calories, and excercise. It has helped me in the past and hopefully since I have all the time in the world now to dedicate to my health and well being, hopefully it will work even better.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is Chinese New Year and begins the year of the Ox.  Food surrounds most of what Chinese people desire. No surprise there. I made homemade jiao zi with homemade wrappers, shrimp, shitake, leeks, scallions, sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic. Make some new years delights yourself - here is a great list. I have fond memories of making wrappers with my mother with her small wooden rolling pin. I had to resort to a small glass. Oh the joys of an unequipped kitchen. Here is a small piece of good luck advice: When you eat the dumplings, you are not supposed to count how many you eat. For the new year - you don't want to have to count your pennies, so don't count how many you eat. Good luck and prosperity to all this new year! 

Boiled dumplings; (shuijiao) literally "water dumplings" (水餃; pinyin: shuǐjiǎo).

Before They Are Boiled


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Paris For New Years

This was only my second time to Paris, MC's 1st, Rob's 4th and E's who knows! It was cold and E was quite sick still. We had an apartment hotel near the Eiffel tower. It was cozy and had a small kitchenette. We did the obligatory touristy things and saw some new stuff. The louvre, Eiffel tower, arc de triomphe, and the catacombs. Sorry for the amount of pictures - but I think they do the talking for this portion of the trip.  

Sorry for the dark picture - But I was freaked out in the Catacombs

Thousands and Thousands Of Bones

Eiffel Tower - Obligatory Picture.
It was lit blue till midnight of the 31st when France ended it's EU presidency. 

Cool Cladding

Louvre Shananigans

Close Up

I love escalator pictures and unnecessary links to Wikipedia

E being a nut. (And feeling a bit better)

Being Tourists

Being a BIG tourist. Camera and all. 

New Years Eve 2008. Welcome 2009! 

New Years on Champs Elysee. The street was crowded! 


Anne Frank & Enkhuizen

Our second day in Amsterdam was the first day one of our crew had to stay home because she was super sick. E did make it to the Anne Frank house. I am sure many people had to read Anne Frank's Diary is grade school and I was excited to go see the place where it was written. The house is now turned into a unfurnished museum of the events the family went thru. It had been a long time since reading the book and I was shocked to forget that only the father survived the holocaust. It was a must see in all the travel guides and really was very emotional. I HIGHLY suggest reserving tickets and printing them off the internet. It saved us hours! Learn more about the Anne Frank House & Museum.

Waiting In Front Of The Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House
MC's friend Daan met up with us in the afternoon and took us to the small town of Enkhuisen. He grew up there and we got a taste of "real" Netherlands. Many of the houses there leaned forward from their foundations. Daan explained to us this was because people are taxed on the ground level square footage and cheated the walls out and forward to gain more space. Enkhuisen is a large fishing port for the Netherlands and there were lots of sailboats and houseboats.

Little Town Of Enkhuizen 

Wooden Clogs On Somebody's Window Sill

Crocker & Daan (our local guide)

Map of Enkhuizen Approximation to Amsterdam


Monday, January 19, 2009

Fresh Start & Brussels/Amsterdam Day 1

MC left on his plane this morning and it is probably on the runway right as I type this. This pretty much concludes my winter vacation with E & M. Rob and I had a great time with them here and did a lot of traveling and laughing and eating! So today starts a new phase of our swiss life where I really get to get into a routine and have a normal days. No visitors for awhile and a new apartment to put together.

The next few blogs will be a bit jumbled in order since I want to recap what we have been doing these past few weeks. I apologize for any confusion.


The day after E&M landed we headed up to Brussels where we had only planned one evening before moving on to Amsterdam. We stayed in a pretty nice hotel close to the center of town. Getting to a parking garage was an interesting experience since a major street we had to take had some traffic problems. Lots of honking and several cars blocked intersections. "The Governor" helped us out. The governor was our nickname for the TOMTOM navigation device Mr C brought over with him. He had a British accent and always told us to "Keep Left" when necessary.

We found ourselves exploring (yet again) another Christmas market and eating at an Indian place for dinner. With vin chaud and curry in our bellies, we headed to Delerium Cafe. (Posted a few pictures in my mid trip update). This place is a mix of a hotspot and a tourist must see. This place boasts and has an award confirming its legacy of offering over 2000 types on beers! Rob and I saw it on a show we like to download called "3 Sheets To The Wind" where the host travels the world and drinks whatever the locals drink. We headed downstairs to a loud smokey room filled with beer labels all over the ceiling and walls. Erin got tugged by a few strange men trying to meet a lady. We had a great time and tried some favorites and odd beers. (More about the beer of the trip later).

M, E, and I at Delirium Cafe

The next day we HAD to try some Belgium waffles. Belgium waffles are so much different then American waffles. Belgium waffles are not made from a drippy batter that is basically a pancake in a funny shape. They are made out of a more doughey mixture has these crystallized sugar sweet spots inside of them. They taste like pure heaven. They come in a variety of toppings. I wanted plain whip cream and ended up with a huge pile of it slopped on top of the waffle. Too much for my tastes so I tossed about half of it the trashcan.


The next day we headed up to Amsterdam and checked into another nice hotel close to all the sights. We ended up parking at the airport and taking the train into town. Well, we tried to take the train but we accidentlly got on the wrong one! We rode it for about 30 minutes before we realized we were going in the wrong direction. We ended up in some random suburb and had to wait 30 minutes for the train back to the city center came thru.

Sadness - Taking the wrong train into the suburbs of Amsterdam 

The hotel claimed they had some "water problems" in one of our rooms and offered to let us share an upgraded room meant for 2 with some roll away beds and only charge us for one room. We took the opportunity to save some money and rolled squeezed into the larger room. This hotel advertises itself of being a boutique hotel and had some fancy furnishings. Despite the large bathroom, there was no shower curtain. This caused issues for all four of us and we each warned each other before the next person took to the shower.

M had a friend of his brother in law Daan to meet up with and he showed us around town. It was really nice to have a local guide show us the places to see and communicate in Dutch. We had coffee at the Americana Hotel, ate Oliebollen, visited the red light district, and checked out the Anne Frank House. We went to show our first evening called Boom Chicago which was stand up improv where it gets the audience involved. It was a lot like Second City. The best part of the show was when M yelled out something obscene and they refused to use it. The other great part was when they picked on E and dressed up exactly like her for a parody on MTV's sweet sixteen. They had the same white puffy vest and white knit hat with a red undershirt. It was pretty hilarious.

Enjoying the Oliebollen

Dutch Winter Treats

Rob and I in the Red Light District. There are windows with the prostitutes on both side of the canal in the picture. Most of them had their shades closed. I guess business was booming that morning. 


Friday, January 16, 2009

My Birthday!

Today is my birthday! Just thought I would post a little note. No permanent internet yet and it might be a week or so till it is installed. Frustrating for both of us. I have about a million pictures and topics to write about so as soon as we get it..... it will be weeks of blogging!

Just as a teaser - here are some topics -

- The many beers tried over our holiday travels
- Strange cheeses
- Unique Foods of Switzerland
- Our New Apartment
- Holiday Travels!


Friday, January 9, 2009

Update From The Road

I know I haven't been blogging lately - so sorry to my readers and mom's! I have been traveling around and have about another week left of touring around Europe. Our time in Prague is ending tommorow and I have a TON of blogging material. We fly back via Swiss Air to Geneva tommorow and actually have a home to travel too! Rob and I moved in last Sunday - mid trip stop - and we actually have a Geneva apartment!

So soon - I will share my travel adventures with E & M and of course Rob. :) Hope everyone is having a great start to the new year as much as I am!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Quick Update - Mid Trip

Just a quick update during out travels around Europe . . .

Erin & Michael landed and we headed off to Brussels (See pictures at Delirium Tremens below!), Amsterdam, and now we are in Paris. We are having a good time and enjoyed New Year's Eve at Champs Elysee. Erin has been really sick and staying in and I think Rob is starting to show signs of sickness too. Michael and I are doing our best to try to stay strong but living in such close quarters is making it hard.

We are heading back to Geneva on Sunday and then we are off to Prague to round out our vacation.


About This Blog

Tina & Rob have relocated their lives to Geneva, Switzerland. This blog is a story of their adventure during the year and all the details inbetween.

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Finding Simplicity

Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; 
From discord find harmony; 
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
Albert Einstein

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