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Back in town after a enjoyable, week-long visit with my younger brother Stewart and his family in the French-speaking Vaud region of Switzerland. It was great to get away from Charleston for just a little while — and just as cool to return to swing of things. I snapped some extra photos in the Swiss town of Nyon, at Le César bar near home base (their careful and deliberate service of Belgian beers — each in its own elegant glass vessel — was excellent and well worth the high-franc price), on a slow boat ride across Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), in the French town of Yvoir, and in the big, hilly city of Lausanne (30 minutes north of Nyon). Stewart and his wife have an adorable, sharp witted two-year-old. They’re quite a trio.

Here’s a list of a few things I learned last week while over there:

1. Pilsner Urquell and Budweiser Budvar tastes just fine at room temperature.

2. They love the band Harvey Milk and Scandinavian black metal at the Disc-à-Brac store in Lausanne (the best record store I saw all week).

3. Synthesizer techno dance music seems most popular with those who blast it from expensive motorcycles.

4. On Swiss cable, the Sky News, BBC World Service, Bloomberg News, and Geneva’s Léman Bleu channels blow the comparatively slick, celebrity and “i-News” driven CNN International away.

5. Butter and salty cold cuts on chewy wheat bread for breakfast ain’t bad.

6. Never make a tipsy Moroccan lady angry in a Swiss bar.

7. While cultural mix in Swiss cities seems pretty international (with a healthy dose of Latin, Slavic, Germanic languages bandied about), most Swiss tend to be ultra-traditional and isolationist in nature.

8. Most of Switzerland is actually rolling fields and farmland (and mountains).

9. In Swiss thrift stores, framed art is way overpriced, but the old VHS tapes are a bargain.

10. Fried Perch fillets goes great with a lemon-dijon butter sauce.

Au revoir. Les acclamations et remercie!


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