A budding health professional?

My internship at the World Health Organization may be over, but Luc’s journey in infection prevention is just beginning. Here he is learning the proper way to don PPE (personal protective equipment, like gloves, mask and goggles).

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A chef in training

Luc got up early and went to the store to buy vegetables.

By 8:30am, he was slaving away in the kitchen. I’m not sure what he was making. I asked but he was too focused to answer.

After one more quick stir before nap time, he left the pot on to simmer.

It’s Swiss National Day!

In honor of the nation of Switzerland, hamburgers…

We were robbed!

Not really. But a Crook was here. And we showed him all that Geneva had to offer. Which is a lot, for a Crook.

Day One: CERN

We had to take him there. (He has a PhD in physics, after all!)

Though the LHC is big, the visitor center is small. Luckily, they have a slick 6 minute video to take you from the Big Bang to present day Switzerland where scientists are hard at work discovering the nature of our universe. Whew! Thanks. Now I understand particle physics… No, wait. I still don’t. But I’m glad someone does.

 We finished the day with experiments in Italian cooking. Voilà panzarotti, which, we discovered, you are supposed to cut into slices rather than baking the log whole. And if you’re wondering what might be in this arm-width log (pictured in slices), the answer is ricotta. Yes, just ricotta.

Day Two: Geneva’s Old City

Mr. Crook braved the rain with us to see what the Old City of Geneva can boast of. And, based on our experience alone, it seems to be stained glass.

Oh, and also beer.

And finally, no trip to Geneva would be complete with a visit to the Flower Clock.

Carousel

We had a lovely walk with a friend yesterday evening, but we forgot the SD card for the camera! Luckily, she had her camera and managed to capture Luc’s first ride on a carousel.

And for those who will be visiting soon, you might also be interested to know that she introduced us to a secret gelato place that we will definitely be taking you to.

A day at the beach

Yesterday, we went to the “beach.” Since Switzerland is landlocked, you can probably guess that this is really just a lakeshore. This one, called the Bains des Pâquis, is on a jetty that projects from the city of Geneva into Lac Léman.

Although the shore was crowded, it was nice to escape the hot city life by sunbathing near the water. Luc had a fantastic time playing with rocks,

other kids

and his parents.

But apparently he thinks that Alpine water is far too cold for bathing.

And then, what better for a rainy Sunday than some indoor play time at home? Luc is learning to kick a ball, and it turns out that he is a quick study. Voilà!

Bern and the Bernese countryside

On Sunday, we left the house at 7AM to venture into German-speaking Switzerland. The train whisked us through a misty landscape toward untold adventures ahead.

Switzerland’s capital welcomed us with wonders large…

and small.

Luc rode a bear.

A man made giant bubbles near the train station.

As we walked high above the River Aare, Hung said,”Do you think people swim in there?”

“No. They can’t,” I replied. “Look how fast it’s flowing!”

But lo and behold! There were people swimming in it. And on closer inspection, we saw this.

What’s that mean?, you may be asking yourself. BBC did a segment last year that explains much better than I can.

Note: For a higher quality version of this video, click here.

In the afternoon, we took a train into the Bernese pre-Alps for a hike despite the threat of rain. Things started well, with a nice bus driver, a picturesque town and a babbling roadside brook.

We walked along a valley bottom toward the waterfall, Munzbachfall. As we passed a group of middle-aged walkers headed in the opposite direction, I nodded hello and listened carefully in an attempt to figure out the proper greeting when you cross someone’s path in this part of Switzerland (to no avail). The last fellow to pass said something, pointed in the direction they had come from and smiled. We smiled back and looked perplexed. He tried again, but was met with the same response. Finally he said merrily, “That way, the sunshine!”

“Ah yes! Thank you! Perfect,” I replied. And on we walked.

After that, the mist quickly turned to drizzle which turned to steady rain. Luc was bundled safe and dry next to Hung with his little hat to shield him from the raindrops. We, on the other hand, had only the benefit of occasional tree cover and one umbrella between the two of us. We didn’t take much time to admire Munzbachfall and, instead, powered on until an extra heavy downpour caught us under the canopy of some beach trees. With a clearing on one side and treeless hillside path on the other, we decided it was just the right time for a cherry break.

In case you are reading this account and thinking, “Oh that poor little boy! What they put him through,” you should know that Luc was so upset that he couldn’t stop laughing at his dad spitting out cherry pits on to the side of the path. When I say “couldn’t stop laughing,” it is only with the slightest bit of exaggeration. And each and every cherry pit was just as funny as the first.

Eventually the sky lightened slightly and the precipitation went from downpour back to steady rain. We took up the road again and considered what we should do. After a bit more walking, we reached the edge of the woods to see a town about a half a kilometer distant. As we headed into the open with the rain unabated, we wondered if there were any buses from this town and how often they might run on a Sunday.

When we made it to Rüedisbach, I cannot tell you how nice it was to stand under the eaves of a barn with not a drop reaching us. The town was quaint, small (a single intersection) and closed (no surprise on a Sunday). We took up residence at a table on the patio of a closed restaurant. We would have asked permission if there had been anyone to ask it of, but as it was, we didn’t see any harm.

As we ate our usual (and predictably delicious) picnic lunch, the rain started to slacken. A couple of walkers with umbrellas came into view, perused the posted hiking map and talked with a man from the town who appeared suddenly from down the road. While the walkers were talking to the man, the door beside our table opened with a creak to issue a family of hikers with two little kids and then closed up tight again. As they we looked at them ruefully not sure what to say, they passed by with vague smiles and hopped into a car that drove up just at that moment. We were not the only ones caught out in the rain!

The walkers with umbrellas having gone on their way, the townsman approached us and started speaking in German (probably Swiss German, but I’m not really one to judge). After trying English, we settled on French though it took me a few false starts before communication was actually established. It turned out that he wanted to know where we were headed and if we needed a ride there. We strongly considered the kind offer, but as it turned out it was just then that the sun reappeared.

We thanked him heartily and followed the “Wanderweg” signs on the way to Wynigen.

The day got suddenly beautiful. The landscape was fresh from the rain and the path brimmed with good things, like cows and sheep with bells of different pitches, hills variegated with woods and fields and cherries glistening with drops of water.

It turned out the fellow from the beginning of our hike was right after all. The sun was this way. But he might have mentioned that there would be some much rain in between.

Just as we arrived on the hillside above Wynigen, this rooster seemed to say, “Where the heck did you come from?” If only he knew.

In the end, it was a great day and the hike was worth it despite the rain. I wouldn’t have changed a thing, except for the wet shoes.

Luc, who had no wet shoes, finished up his adventure pleasantly with a little play time on the train back to Geneva.