Captured Moments

By: Linnor Marie

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Tuesday, 10-Jun-2003 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Interlaken, Switzerland

Trailing a red-hot Ferrari
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(June 7) After spending the afternoon with Mitzi and Junnieâ??s friends, we drove to Interlaken, which is north of the central range of the Bernese Alps and flanked by Thune See and Brienzer See (lakes). This was the same place where Mama got anxious visiting last September. I quite understood why she felt that way. The road going there passed through mountains and along raging streams of water that probably came from the melted snow up in the Alps.

The sun was still up but it seemed darker than usual as the rays couldnâ??t get through the thick branches of tall trees that lined the path. It actually felt like we were headed right up against the mountains as they loomed high and mighty in front of us. Quite daunting but exciting nonetheless. I could imagine how Mama must have felt.

As we neared the mountain resort, a red hot Ferrari whizzed by. How could it have driven that fast on those hairpin turns? What a mean machine!

The resort was secluded yet a lot of people were hiking, having coffee, sightseeing or plain relaxing when we got there. Chalets doubled up as bars, restaurants, coffee shops or souvenir shops. The latter were already closed so souvenir shopping was put off for another day. We spent some time taking in the mountain view and the mist-like spray of the waterfalls. It was heavenly!

Monday, 9-Jun-2003 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Bern, Switzerland

Charming Bern with cobbled streets
Fresh flower market
One of many ancient fountains
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(June 7) The Vevey-Bern route is about an hour's drive at 120 kph speed. As we cruised the auto-route, we saw that Switzerland sure is a lot more breathtaking at daytime than in the evening. Picture-pretty vineyards and quaint chateaus and chalets came to life as we drove by. The plains and mountains were huge expanses of green!

Bern is on the German side of Switzerland. It looked a little bit different from Vevey. For a more convenient sightseeing, Junnie left the car parked for two hours and we all took a short bus-ride to the famous landmarks. Their buses were clean and looked like new so it was perfectly alright to commute the short distance. I wouldnâ??t be too willing to do that in Manila or Cebu though.

As any first time traveler, I took shots of the whimsical 400-year old fountains that dotted the cobbled streets of Bern, the Clock Tower or giant cuckoo clock, and the gothic Munster Cathedral which was built between 1421 and 1893.

The highlight of the Bern walking tour was the waiting and listening to the 11:00 AM sound of the giant cuckoo clock. It was quite magical when the clockâ??s figures started coming to life. Everybody was craning his neck to watch it all. I would probably be reminded of that magic moment everytime I hear our own cuckoo clock back home.

Lunch was spent with Mitziâ??s officemates who put together some kind of despedida for her and others who will be returning to their Manila assignments. Ahhh, food was overflowing! Jerry and I had our fill of rice, grilled sausages, kare-kare, spare ribs, embutido, leche flan, maja blanca, brazo de mercedes and of course, lots of chips. What a feast!

Jerry and I took a stroll around the place and took shot of me with the wide expanse of green as my background. It was just lovely!

Sunday, 8-Jun-2003 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Vevey, Switzerland

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(June 7 Swiss time) Started early to get ready for the dayâ??s itinerary. Vevey, Bern and Interlaken were the places to visit. Breakfast was a hearty American meal prepared by Mitzi.

Took a few shots in Junnie and Mitziâ??s condo unit in Vevey before finally proceeding to our first stop, a square named in honor of Charlie Chaplin who lived here in asylum for 25 years. A photogenic statue was erected of a bowler-hatted Chaplin twirling his cane amidst the roses on the Quai Perdonnet on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Saturday, 7-Jun-2003 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Geneva, Switzerland

Waiting for Geneva flight at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris
Arrival at Geneva Airport posing with our travel host, Mitzi
And shown here with Junnie
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Having landed in Geneva, I felt all giddy especially when I saw Junnie clowning around by the waiting lounge of the airport. So this was now for real. Jerry and I were officially tourists in Europe!

Mitzi and Junnie took us for a drive around some famous landmarks in Geneva like the Flower Clock and the Jet dâ?? Eau on the lake. Of course some shots were taken. As Junnie said, everyone who visits Geneva for the first time almost always has his picture taken here. We were no different.

It was about 10:00 PM when we were treated to a welcome dinner at Molinoâ??s. But you wouldnâ??t believe it was already that late. The sun was just setting! So this is summer in Europe when daytime is 15 hours long! Oh the kids would really be amazed to hear about this. Imagine all the things that you could do when itâ??s all bright and sunnyâ?¦

Friday, 6-Jun-2003 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
The Flight to Paris and Geneva

Our first French meal aboard Air France
The Flight to Paris

June 6, Friday at the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport), I noticed lots of people flying Air France were lined up early for the 8:00 AM flight to Paris. Regular check-in didnâ??t take too long. Everybodyâ??s temperature was taken right before the first x-ray machine â?? a measure to detect symptoms of the SARS disease.

As I looked at the passengers, I couldnâ??t help but wonder why these people were going to Paris. Were they going to Europe for the first time too just like Jerry and me? Were they as eager as we were to see all the wonderful and breathtaking sights we only read in books and see on National Geographic? Probablyâ?¦ God only knows how excited we were. I couldnâ??t even start to put it into words!

The flight took all of 14 hours â?? the longest single time I wasnâ??t in front of the computer, so far. What a break!

Breakfast consisted of egg omelette and sausage with croissant and â??pan de salâ?? and was pretty filling. Then our first French meal was served for lunch. Jerry and I had yummy fish terrine, Waldorf salad, medallion of pork, Meaux mustard, potatoes au gratin, French green beans, cheese, French toast and pineapple slices for dessert. Unlike most of the people on board who took soda and fruit juices with their meals, Jerry and I opted for nothing else but French red wine â?? a small bottle each of Vin de Pays de la Cite de Carcassone. What could be more French than that?

The flight to Paris was rather long but the inflight movies kept me from being bored. Not much of a movie-lover, I surprised myself by watching 3 movies in a row: Frida, Chicago and How to Lose a Man in 10 Days. The movie marathon was interrupted only by naps in varying lengths plus a few trips to the restroom.

Finally landed in Paris at 5:30 PM. The smooth touchdown was impressive but the queue that formed inside the tube as the French airport guards checked everybodyâ??s passports was a big letdown. Jerry and I were caught in the middle of the long line and had to endure the almost unbearable heat in the glass tube. They should have set-up the checkpoint somewhere inside the airport where it was cooler and more convenient. The unwilling lady employee in the waiting lounge worsened the situation all the more. But hey, this is supposed to be a great vacation, so enough of the negative comments.

There was a slight delay in the Paris-Geneva leg but the waiting time was okay. We enjoyed taking shots and watching other passengers while we waited.

Our in-flight food was a baguette of ham and cheese plus a teeny-weeny can of orange juice.

Met up with Junnie and Mitzi who took us around Geneva for an evening tour. Then capped the night with pizza and pasta at Molinoâ??s, a popular café cum restaurant.

Switzerland and the little that we saw of it was already beautiful. We were excited to see more of it in the coming daysâ?¦ (to be continued...)

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