Monday, April 4, 2016


After my trip to Berlin, I filled my calendar with education, music and family, quite a variety of diversions to keep me busy until Easter.
Bill worked with other committee members to welcome us to La Côte International School

Students from the host school performed "Food. Glorious, Food" from Oliver. Delightful!
On Bill's invitation, I decided to attend the SGIS (Swiss Group of International Schools) conference in Lausanne with two other of my colleagues, Aaron and Sarah. It has been some time since I had attended an educational conference, and I did not know what to expect.
The topic of Friday's keynote address
Garfield Gini-Newman was a very informative and entertaining speaker.
The speakers come from the UK, the US and Canada. and were all very well qualified to speak about working with adolescents. I had two particular favourites: Rod Eastaway gave a delightful keynote address about making Math fun for all ages–I loved his approach; and Garfield Gini-Newman, a professor at U of T, my alma mater, gave us several very useful tips about the use of technology in the classroom in order to enhance learning.
Aaron and I at the Olympic Museum

Part of the colourful display promoting the upcoming Rio Olympic Games.
Being in Lausanne was a draw, too. On the Friday evening, we were treated to a delicious and plentiful buffet dinner at the Olympic Museum (with a free pass into the exhibits beforehand.) That was quite a feast.
Apéro at the Olympic Museum

Bill says "Santé" before dinner.
All in all, it was stimulating and satisfying to learn new tricks at the SGIS event. I really enjoyed myself. I will have to review my notes before the next staff meeting though, as I have been asked to share what I learned with my colleagues then.
Wine tasting on a boat
The following day, I made my way to the harbour in Neuchâtel for the annual wine sale sponsored by Coop. Every March, this local grocery chain rents space on a couple of boats and invites clients to come aboard to sample wines from all over the world. Adam joined me for this event and then we headed to the Temple du Bas for a Vivaldi Concert featuring a local choir and two soloists, as well as an orchestra.
Getting ready for the performance.
The following weekend, I was excited to greet my first guest since January, my niece, Laura. She brought beautiful weather with her as well, the best I had seen in some time. We had a great time together.
Laura's required pose in front of the Hotel du Peyrou
Of course, I showed her around the two places that all my visitors have seen: Neuchâtel and Bern, and we made sure to eat lots of delicious cuisine. Laura had to have some fondue, so we started with that on Friday evening at La Taverne Neuchâteloise.
Laura and the legs.

A beautiful day and new view of Bern
I have been to Bern so many times now that I thought there was nothing new to see, but on this occasion I found a square which afforded me a different angle on the Bundeshaus. It was very close to my new favourite restaurant there, Tibits. This a a paradise for food lovers, with an entirely vegetarian menu. We both loaded up our plates at the buffet!
Yummy Tibits!!
A little later, as we approached the Bärengraben, we saw a Canadian flag. Apparently, there was a six week Canadian festival in the city. In the old Tram Depot, Canadian beer could be sampled and well as Canadian cuisine. Laura and I decided to stay with local specialties instead. That evening, I took her to one of my favourite spots in Neuchâtel, Vio.
Lovely Laura in beautiful Bern

Canada weeks in Bern
On our final morning together, I thought Laura should ride a funicular so we chose one up to nearby Chaumont, a highly recommended trip that I had yet to experience. It was somewhat overcast in Neuchâtel that day, but just as I had been told many times, Chaumont was lovely and sunny. It was also snowy. Basically, we just went up and then down again, but we both enjoyed the ride.
Heading up the funicular to Chaumont.

The snow and sunshine at the top.
For our final meal together before Laura headed back to the UK, we chose a local crêpe place, Bach et Buck. The wailing baby in the restaurant did not get in the way of our enjoyment of our meal, thank goodness. Shortly thereafter, Laura was on her way home. I am so very pleased she made the effort to visit me.

My Sunday was not over, however. Patti and I had free tickets to another concert in the late afternoon, this time in Marin, a Neuchâtel suburb. I got lost finding the hall, but fortunately I got there in time to enjoy the young trio who performed so beautifully. The Swiss certainly enjoy classical music!
Patti and I on the steps of St Ursenkathedrale

The interior of the Jesuit Church in Solothurn. It had been under scaffolding on my first visit.
On Holy Thursday, our last day of teaching before Easter break, I accompanied Adam and Patti to Solothurn for yet another concert, a performance of the Messiah. We left as soon as we could after classes, because I wanted my colleagues to have sufficient time to explore this charming town. We had yet another beautiful day: spring was in the air.

A healthy and yummy winter salad in Solothurn
This was a perfect evening: we all loved the town (Patti says she would like to live there); we found a delightful place to eat (we had identical salads); and the concert was the best I had heard this year. I loved it!

No comments:

Post a Comment