Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday Shopping in London

Walking through Marylebone to Oxford Street

Selfridge's window display

Beautiful department store decorations

Kickin' off the holiday shopping season in London - Happy Christmas!

Adidas' live window display! - Love the dancing!

Oxford Street- One of London's best shopping areas

The infamous Harrods!

Harrod's window display

I want to take this guy home!

Back on Oxford Street in the evening to check out the Christmas lights

Crowds of people out shopping!

Meeting up with Mark's friend Candy

We jetted off to London last weekend to enjoy the start of the holiday season! We stayed in the Marylebone neighborhood, within walking distance of Oxford and Bond Streets. We spent Saturday cruising through some of London's best shopping areas! Oxford Street was shut down to traffic and there were tons of crowds out starting their holiday shopping. We started out in Selfridge & Co., one of London's oldest department stores. We continued down Oxford, then over to Bond Street, where some of London's most high-end stores call home. It was fun to see all the beautiful window displays.

After a hot chocolate break at Starbucks to rest our feet, we headed in the direction of Knightsbridge, where Harrod's and Harvey Nichols are located. Harrods has a fantastic gourmet food hall that I could spend hours in! In the evening, we headed back to Oxford Street to enjoy the Christmas lights.

That night, we met up with Mark's friend from law school, Candy. She moved to London earlier this year and we had a lot of fun catching up with her over dinner. The next morning, we met up with her for brunch as well. Then it was time to head home! It was a great weekend and we enjoyed the holiday spirit!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lausanne Snowstorm 2010

Trekking to the bus stop early Wednesday morning!

Mark took these pictures of the heavy snow that fell all day Wednesday

Our very own winter wonderland!

A crazy snowstorm hit Lausanne this week! It stranded buses, trains and shut down Geneva Airport. Everyone had a tough time getting home, including me! Here's my story:

I took the train into work on Wednesday to avoid the roads, which was definitely a good idea! However, heavy snow was still falling when I got back to Lausanne on Wednesday evening. My bus on the #1 line only made it 3 stops before it got stuck behind a line of other buses that were stranded! The bus driver told everyone "Descendre" (get off)!! After checking in with Mark to see if the other line was still running, I headed for the #3 bus, but stopped when I saw that another bus at the front of the stranded row was starting up again, woohoo! The bus driver made an announcement that he was driving an abbreviated route, but I lucked out that my stop was included. Unfortunately, that luck didn't last too long! The bus made it one stop and then got stranded trying to pull away from the curb on a hill! At that point, I was out of options (it was the same route as the #3) and so I started walking!

It was an eerie scene as I climbed up the two (steep) hills to home! I probably saw at least 1/2 a dozen buses stranded on the road and mobs of people were walking, since they also had to get off their buses! It was somewhat chaotic, and yet calm at the same time. I was very thankful to make it home that evening, having had a 2 1/2 hour commute! According to Internet statistics, Lausanne only gets that much snow about once every 5 years. It will be interesting to see if that was our "bi-decade" storm or if this winter will bring more snow like it! At least I really can say that I have "walked home 5 miles in the snow, uphill, barefoot"....okay, so I didn't have to walk as far as five miles and I wasn't barefoot (thank goodness), but it's a good story. :) I'll keep you posted on our winter weather!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Start of the Swiss Christmas Season!

It's that time of year again! The weather here is officially COLD and snowy, the Christmas displays are out in full force and the Christmas markets are open, selling fondue, hot wine and Christmas crafts! We got into the Christmas spirit last weekend by putting up our Christmas tree.

Mark getting his "decorating" on!


Our little tree!

All finished!

The Christmas display at the Globus department store in Lausanne made us laugh!

The "American" ornaments included a surfing Santa!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Portuguese weekend in Lisbon!

We had a whirl-wind trip to Lisbon last weekend, leaving Geneva on Friday evening and arriving back on Sunday evening. Scroll down below as I take you through our weekend tour of the city!

Lots of "statue-centered" round-abouts in town!

We ate breakfast on Saturday morning and then bought tickets for the "hop-on, hop-off" sightseeing bus tour around Lisbon. When pressed for time, this is a great way to fit in a lot of sights that you might not normally have time to see.

Lisbon's bull-fighting ring, still in use today

Parque Eduardo VII, Lisbon's largest park, provides a nice city view!

We hopped off the bus at Stop 16, Lisbon's river-front area, Belem, to check out the sights. Above is the Torre de Belem, the fortress tower completed in 1521

Ducking out of the dungeon in the tower!

Check out Lisbon's bridge that links to the 2 banks of the Tagus River! It is modeled after (and identical!)to San Fran's Golden Gate bridge! The statue on the far bank is modeled after Rio's famous Criso Redentor
Lisbon's riverfront

The Monument to the Discoveries, built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator

Portugal's Cristo Rei

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
Monastery commissioned in 1501

Cool view of the church's beautiful nave from up above. Most churches don't let you ascend to the upper level at the rear of the church, so this was a great vantage point to see over the whole interior.

Portugal's famous custard desserts, pastelas de nata


We enjoyed our desserts at Lisbon's famous bakery, Pasteis de Belem

Time to get back on the bus!

A view of Castelo de Sao Jorge from town

We headed up the hill to the castelo and enjoyed some amazing views of Lisbon from the observation terrace

Checking out the castle ruins

Lisbon's famous street trams

Statue of King Jose I in Praca do Comercio

Now a huge open square, the Praca do Comercio housed the original royal palace for 500 years until it was destroyed in a big earthquake in 1755
After our long day of sight-seeing, we headed back to our hotel down Avendia da Liberdade, Lisbon's famous and most "chicest" street

When in Portugal, enjoy some port! Looking forward to going back to check out more areas of Portugal in the future! I hope you enjoyed the tour of Lisbon!