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Back in the little Frying Pan I call home.

Deborah and I put Switzerland on our itinerary originally for one reason: we wanted to go to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research where last year the Higgs Boson was detected, a scientific milestone that helped solidify the Standard Model of particle physics. CERN straddles France and Switzerland, with Geneva as its Switzerland home, which implied doing the touristy thing in Geneva, which is way down at the southern tip of Switzerland, which sort of dove-tailed into traveling down-country by train and our decision to stop in Grindelwald first to see the Alps up close and personal.

You need to pre-book tours of CERN, and the tour they provide is sort of cursory because it's a working lab complex with busy scientists and technicians who don't want fannish science nerds underfoot. But they do a good job of giving you lots of videos. models, and simulations to look at and dumbing down the science as much as it can coherently be simplified for popular consumption. Deborah and I had a 10:30 reservation on Thursday. I missed some of the presentation because the entire thing save the introductory video required standing, and I had to wander off from our tour guide to sit down. However, we took lots of nerdy photos and bought lots of nerdy souvenirs before heading back into the City proper.

Because we decided to extend our stay in Grindelwald several hours, we missed the city tour of Geneva we had booked for Wednesday morning. Instead, we walked on foot from our hotel Thursday afternoon towards the old city. Our goals was to visit the Cathedral of Saint Peter and explore a bit. We wandered up and down cobblestone streets and came upon a display of mosaics and old canons. Then we headed back along the river. We bought some Swiss Chocolate ('cause it's totally illegal not to, right?) then collapsed at an outdoor table of an Indian restaurant where the local birds feel perfectly free to hop down and join you and help themselves to your rice.

Our flight was Friday at 12 pm, and we took our time packing and breakfasting and taking the train to the airport. We switched planes in London, and the polar route flight this time took us over Greenland (we flew under its tip on the way there). Flying coach also cramped up my right knee something fierce. The entire flight flew straight into daylight, and it was late, late in Europe when our plane landed in Phoenix. I had tried to keep myself occupied rather than sleeping, so I could go to bed at a normal Arizona hour and sleep a normal Arizona night. Of course, before that could happen, we had to go through customs and collect our baggage. I could barely stand at the luggage turnstyle and leaned forward on my hands against the turnstyle railing to take the weight off my back and knees. I heard a little girl ask her father, "Why is that lady smelling the luggage?"

Ah, the innocence of childhood.

Good to be home in my chair. Now to sort through these photos and catch up on teevee.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2013 05:07 pm (UTC)
Oooh, CERN! I'm jealous! (Even if I do know what it's like on the other side, with "I'm trying to make science happen. Why are people on tours coming in to stare at me?" Not that we regularly get the general public coming in where I work, but still, every so often a group of someone-or-other does come traipsing through :))

Anyway, welcome back! Sounds like you had a very cool trip, footwear issues and the difficulties of standing for long periods aside.

You ready to take back the helm at 2ceuponatime? I can certainly cover tomorrow if you need more time to recover.
Jul. 20th, 2013 05:56 pm (UTC)
Do you mind doing it one more week? I am tuckered and have to rest up to return to work Monday (blech). I will certainly comment on the post.
Jul. 20th, 2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
Sure, not a problem! I know I'm never any good for days after I get back from vacation.
Jul. 20th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
How'd you sleep last night? My cat woke me up out of a deep sleep to let me know he was upset that a storm was on the way. Then the storm kept me up with lightning and thunder for about an hour.
Jul. 20th, 2013 07:08 pm (UTC)
Either it didn't storm here in Tempe, or I was out like a light between 7:30 pm and 4:30 am. Or both.
Jul. 20th, 2013 08:16 pm (UTC)
I was wondering whether you'd gotten any. There wasn't much in Tempe while you were gone. There was one storm that sat over Chandler Boulevard just west of I10 for about an hour without moving. Tore half the trees down in that neighborhood, and there was street flooding of course. But in your direction up to the airport? A few sprinkles.
Jul. 20th, 2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, my mom's been bitching because they got several storms in her area (east Mesa), but according to the official stats, there's been "no rain in Phoenix" for three months because it hasn't rained at the airport.
Jul. 20th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
glad you made it home safe.

I had no idea you could even tour CERN. COOL!
Jul. 20th, 2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
When we decided to visit the area, I looked it up on their website. You have to get advanced reservations, but they have a limited number of visitors and school groups each day.
Jul. 20th, 2013 09:13 pm (UTC)
good to know
Jul. 21st, 2013 04:08 am (UTC)
Welcome home!
Jul. 21st, 2013 12:01 pm (UTC)
The last few days of that vacation I was exhausted at the thought of another day, another tour, and looking forward to a normal routine again. One of these days I'm going to take a vacation where I stay put in one place for two weeks!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )