Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spa day

On Saturday, six friends and I took a train ride into the mountains to go to a hot springs, like you do. For CHF 22 we had three hours of access to the hot pools and to the spa facilities - it was pure luxury. I knew it was going to be amazing when we got off the train and this was our view:

I don’t have any photos of the facilities, but here are some of the outside pools courtesy of my friend Chris’ facebook (hey thanks).

In addition to the heated outside pools, there was a pool that played classical music underwater, a sauna series, a Turkish Bath, some light therapy rooms, and a repos room with a wood burning fire. Seriously, I’d never been to anything like it, and we plan on going back after we finish our major research paper. (Although I’m writing my paper on water scarcity, and if I already felt guilty about my water usage I don’t know how I’ll feel after four months of research.)

During the week, I generally spend my time indoors because Switzerland is incredibly cold right now. Yesterday morning my computer said it was 12 degrees F and that doesn’t include the windchill. The cold would be manageable (wear long underwear or two pairs of tights, wool socks) except that the wind will literally knock your socks off. I think it blew one of my favorite earrings out of my ear yesterday. No joke. I’ve braved the cold twice in the past few days and while I couldn’t feel my hands for quite a while afterwards, I got to see some very beautiful Swiss sights.
This is the old city of Geneva, Lake Geneva, and the mountains as seen from the bell tower of St. Peter’s Cathedral.

A beautiful chapel inside the cathedral

This is a phenomenon known as la bise noire. When the Geneva area gets super strong winds they blow the waves of Lake Geneva up onto the shore more than usual. These waves freeze almost immediately when they hit the freezing air, and so you get trees and benches and boats and even cars that are covered in a thick layer of ice. It is so unreal.

The best place to see it is in Versoix, a neighboring town of Mies, but because the wind is so strong by the water my friend and I could only stay for two minutes, maximum. People who were walking on the ice were being propelled along by the wind. I have literally never been colder. I guess that’s part of the Switzerland experience. x

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