Wet bear

Because of the 2016 Auto Show in Geneva all the hotels in and around Geneva were booked. We managed to get an AirBNB apartment for the three of us for our first night in Geneva.  After that we had to go far away to find beds for ourselves and the 13 ICRC folks who had flown in from far and wide. We are lodged at the outskirts of Lausanne and are bussed, every day, to the ICRC training center at the other end of Geneva, a one hour ride.

Our hotel sits forlornly between highway overpasses and parking lots. It is betting on a big stream of tourists to, what will be, the biggest Aquarium in Europe, according to the writing on the wall that separates the hotel from the unfinished aquarium shell. The brandnew hotel is all aquarium-themed, including its name, Aquatic. The colors are blue and turquoise; the pictures above the beds are backlit aquarium pictures, as if you have part of the aquarium right in your room. My colleagues have calm pictures of water with or without fish, but I have a picture of a giant bear, its snout prominently displayed above my head and small pieces of organic material (salmon?) floating in the otherwise clear shallow stream. The bear is submerged, walking on the riverbed, looking for things to eat. It is rather creepy.Aquatic-bear

The ICRC training center is located in an old cloister on a gentle slope overlooking the lake, surrounded by apple orchards and vineyards. The white topped mountains of the Swiss and French Alps form a seductive backdrop, bringing back memories of ski adventures in my teenage and young adult years.

I have been taking advantage of the gastronomic delights of Switzerland: cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a variety of forms: ‘raclette,’ fried little ‘tommes vaudoises’ (the pungent local cheese) with a crusty outside and runny inside, rösti, yogurt, and Bircher muesli.

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