I haven’t had time to blog this week, as I started to work (again) on Tuesday for the same European project office where I worked in May-June. Also, in the evenings we have been busy trying to sort out what greeted me on Monday morning when I got back from Geneva – approximately 15 big moving boxes that O had delivered from storage. Did I mention that our flat is very small? There is stuff and boxes everywhere! But I don’t complain as we now have sheets, towels, duvets, winter clothes, plates and glasses in abundance! Unfortunately we still haven’t found the dish rack, laundry drying rack and more clothes hangers so we might just have to go to Ikea soon…
This coming weekend will be busy, lots of activities and it is O’s birthday on Sunday which we will celebrate by going with friends to a museum here in Brussels for lunch and a bit of culture! Will tell you more about that next week. As usual I haven’t had time to answer all your comments but in the mean while I still want to share some photos from the lovely girls’ weekend in Geneva.
The Geneva hostess, P No 1 had the above recipe on the kitchen wall but we didn’t do any cooking at all during the weekend. On Friday before the other girls arrived from Dublin and Copenhagen, the two Ps just talked and talked. Last time we saw each other was in May when P came to Brussels so we had lots of catching up to do. We did go down around the corner for lunch at a Chinese restaurant and then had a nap. I had after all gotten out of bed at 04.15 and P had been helping her husband choose “Cocktail of the month” at his new bar the night before…
You can almost see the Lake Geneva at the end of the street from the balcony. The weather was great during the whole weekend but a little bit too hazy to be able to see Mont Blanc in the horizon.
When the group of “us five” was complete, we walked down to the lake and sat in the sun at “Bain des Pâquis”. Bain des Pâquis is the public “beach” in Geneva, which includes a “buvette” (a simple bar / restaurant), saunas and changing rooms (also open in the winter for people who like cold baths). Speaking of “us five”, when we were in Bosnia on a study trip during our Master’s we were “hosted” by the SFOR forces and a very funny misunderstanding took place when I asked a friend to take a photo of “us four” (one of us five was missing) and the other girls thought that I wanted a photo of the soldiers! Other misunderstandings include: Rosé – not José when we were in the south of France in 2005, and during the Geneva weekend when P No 1 was talking about a “Pâquis priest” (Pâquis is the neighbourhood where she lives as well as the public beach) – not a priest from Pakistan as Irish O thought!
The late arrivals had a simple lunch of “viande des Grisons” (air-dried meat) and a Greek salad – these dishes are summer classics at Bain des Pâquis while the cheese fondue is a winter classic that I have never had there (but in lots of other places).
After dinner with a 6th [Finnish] girl who did the Master’s with us, we headed to Carouge (on the other side of the river Rhône) where P No 1’s husband G has his new wine bar called Vert Bouteille. What a cool place! Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the interior but he has done everything himself – from building the bar to scouring old mid-century furniture and planning the wine and food menu! The best part? He had Spritz al Aperol on the cocktail menu and immediately started making us some when we arrived!
Ten years ago when we studied in Venice nobody outside Veneto (the region of Venice, Padova and Verona) had heard of Spritz al Aperol – or at least not the Italian students we met in Bologna. However, forget about the Bellini cocktail, this is what the locals drink in Venice! Nowadays you can even order a Spritz al Aperol in Brussels! (see link to a recipe under the category “Travel links” on the right-hand side of the blog)
Despite that we are ten years older than during our student days we still managed to stay out until 03.30 ;-) Sleeping arrangements were on the floor and sofa in our hosts’ living room but we slept so good (and late). The next morning we had a long brunch in the middle of the river Rhône.
The brunch buffet included of course some Swiss specialities such as Gruyère cheese, viandes des Grisons and birchermüsli but also lots of other dishes. Probably the 2nd best brunch I have ever had after the champagne brunch with P No 1 in Warsaw…
A brunch with a river view in all directions!
You can’t go to Switzerland without stocking up on your favourite Swiss food stuffs! All five of us have lived in Geneva; P No 1 since 2001, Danish L and I in 2002, Irish O in 2004 and Swedish Å in 2005 and we all have our different favourites. I always buy rösti, Å and L buy Gruyère cheese and O get chocolate. After shopping we ended up at Bain des Pâquis again, sunbathing while chatting away and in the evening we had a great Vietnamese dinner and then drinks in a bar close by. We discussed where our next girls’ weekend should take place – maybe it is time for Dublin?
On Sunday morning the other girls left, while I went to one of my favourite places in the world, my father’s uncle’s adoptive village in the canton Vaud (between Lausanne and Montreux). Unfortunately he passed away two years ago but I wanted to see his Swiss widow M whom I hadn’t seen since 2007, which was my parents’ and my last visit. I am the only one in the family who can communicate with M in French and we have been keeping in touch via letters and phone calls. It was lovely to see her again but that’s another story… As a parting gift, I got a box of locally made chocolates and this enormous courgette from her garden to give to my French hosts in Geneva!