July 11, 2012

Confessions of the Euro-fluenced: Days 10-11

If this is as bad as it gets, then we will be fine.

I think I said that in my last post.

How could things get worse than roughing it and not sleeping and getting attacked by monster flies?

Well, my friends, it can.

Once more we took one gondola, one small train, and one large train out of Gimmelwald and eventually reached our destination in Lausaunne, Switzerland.

Upon entering the hostel, I realized that this is what a prison would look like if Ikea designed it. It was hip. It was modern. But it was also a cold, barren, a desert. Concrete walls. Concrete floors. Small windowless rooms. This really was one of the hippest looking hostels we've seen so far, though maybe only for a very short stay.

So we only stayed for two nights. We shared our cell dorm with two other guys. One of them was named Lucas.

Andrew had the privilege of meeting Lucas before me. I had been walking down the hall when this meeting was taking place, and I could hear their conversation quite well. Lucas.... hmm... how to describe his voice? Like a Spanish angel? He rolled his R's and breathed into his syllables like a romantic conquistador trying to win the heart of a maiden. I couldn't wait to meet him.

Andrew and I enjoyed his presence those first few hours after meeting him....

...Until later that night when we were all winding down for bed. He was in the middle of a conversation with Andrew on the latest Higgs-Boson theory (Lucas was a PhD student in town for a conference on astrophysics), when at once he decided to take his clothes off. We were okay with this because we had quickly learned that this wasn't unusual in the hostel world; however, most people jump into bed before, before they reveal their goods. And most people don't strip while in a face-to-face conversation. But Lucas must have wanted to share said goods. He removed his clothes piece by piece by piece. It was hilarious watching Andrew try to continue the conversation while Lucas undressed. He eventually (thankfully) stopped undressing when he was down to his little black thong.

Did I mention that Lucas was over 300 pounds, made the room smell like stinky shoes, and snored louder than a lion?

Oh Lucas, Lucas, Lucas.

But that wasn't worst part of what we experienced in Lausaunne.

On day two, Andrew decided to visit Geneva, which was an hour away by train. Geneva was where the famous theologian, John Calvin, completed a lot of his work. The plan was to visit a cathedral, a museum, Calvin's grave, and other such sights related to The Reformation.

Andrew began his day like any spiritual person should... praying in the cathedral. He ended his day like any heathen would... cursing the sun (to be clear, sun as in bright yellow thing, not Jesus Christ, the Son of God).

Why the change of heart? It was during his meditative lapse in the cathedral, pondering the legacy of the 17th century Swiss-Protestant reformation and it's enduring impact on the moral culture of European society, when he realized that his bag containing lunch, train tickets, sunglasses, newspaper, umbrella, and passport had been stolen!

Needless to say, Andrew wasn't able to complete his visit to Geneva. Instead he had to find his way from the police station, to the Geneva consulate, to the train station, to the Bern embassy (3 hours away), and eventually take the train back to Lausaunne... all in order to get a temporary passport.

The police (who only spoke French) ended up finding his smushed lunch and a few other non-essential belongings in the bushes. But the passport was long gone. We're thankful that neither the camera or his wallet were in the bag.

We learned this lesson the hard way: Listen, don't laughto Rick Steves when he says to keep money and IDs in a money belt. Money belts aren't just for American septogenarians on a tour bus.

Highlights of Lausaunne
-free buffet breakfast
-great pizza and paninis at Pat & Dom's
-walking The Promenade along Lake Geneva
-thunder echoing off the concrete walls of the prison hostel

>Food 1
>Location 0
>Activities .5
>Comfort 0
>Hostel 0

The FLACH? 1.5 thieving stars.

That fateful cathedral (pre-thievery).
Pat & Dom's pizza!
Lake Geneva and lunch.
Lake Geneva at sunset.
Easy entertainment.
Lake Geneva.
Andrew recovering, post-passport incident.
Along the promenade at Lake Geneva.

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