Saturday, January 7, 2012

Schnee, Schnee und Schnee!

A new year. I hope it started off great for all of you - my NYE was amazing! I had a lot of fun in Ghent with a few friends - dinner and a party. It was different from Berlin in 2009 and Sydney in 2010, but no less fun. Just how it should be.

On January 2nd, my sister and me hit the road towards Chur. We  packed up Germaine, who is actually surprisingly big for his cute little body. The trunk was full but the back seat was empty - room for someone extra :).
We arrived in Chur at around 7 pm and checked into the only hostel in town: JBN, which stands - very originally - for Just Be Nice. It is a squeaky clean hostel, and boasts about having the cheapest rooms in town (35 CHF for a dorm bed for one night). All that is true, but the downside is that it doesn't have a real kitchen ... So all our food had to be microwavable or cold. Ah well, it can't all be golden. The guys at the reception were very friendly though, and they helped with the apartment search.

I didn't have a lot of appointments set when I left. The only 2 real ones were with a guy named Oral, on the 3rd of January, and a girl named Annina on the 5th. However, Caroline and me went out to dinner when we arrived, and the very friendly waiter at the restaurant gave us the name of someone who had an other apartment for rent - hurray! Another appointment, thrown in my lap.
The next day, in between the 2 appointments, we thought it might be 'a good idea' to check out Arosa. Dear god. We thought, since there was no snow in Chur, that the roads would be clear. Boy, we have got a lot to learn about Switzerland. Just about halfway, the roads got a bit dirtier and wetter, and not long after that, we were in a true snow zone, with uncleared, pretty steep roads. I'm lucky to have Germaine in my life though - although the boy had a bit of trouble in some particularly sharp bends, he stayed very cool and slowly but steadily pulled us up the road and brought us into the centre of Arosa. The sky was blue, the snow was white - life was great :). We just took a few obligatory pictures, and then had to head back - it is sad to say that we drove about 2 hours to be on the spot for about half an hour or less ... But ah well.
The day after, we went to Davos, this time by train though. It snowed a lot and was still snowing when we arrived. This was very good since the snow was fresh and powdery by the time we got to the slopes. I strapped on Burtie the snowboard, and ahhhh, there it was, the feeling I had lost a bit, although it had only been 3 months - snowboarding! And especially the fact that I hadn't forgotten how to do it, haha. I fell a lot, but as someone said to me before: if you don't fall, you can't improve. So I'm trying to keep that in mind every time my buttocks feel sore.
At times there was a lot of wind and snow in the face, and I said to Caroline: "It makes you feel alive, doesn't it?!" (She replied with a "Hmmmpf.")

5 January was again reserved for apartment hunting, accompanied by a trip to Vaduz and Feldkirch in Austria - just to show Caroline where it would all be happening. I'm happy to say that the trip, even in very snowy weather, will not take me more than 40 minutes. That's not too bad, I'd say.
On our last day then, 6 January, we met again with Oral, the current roommate in the first apartment we visited. He had 2 friends over, Leah and Naima, and since the weather was so bad (heard about any snow storms in the region lately? I have ...) we decided to go south to the Italian part of Switzerland, where we were sure the weather would be better.
Ha-ha-ha, I say to that.

Germaine having fun
It was snowing very hard in Chur already, and by the time we got to the highway, it only seemed to get worse. The roads weren't cleared at all, and everybody had to drive very slowly, about 50 km per hour. We had planned to go to Lugano, but soon after leaving Chur, I already knew that that wouldn't be happening. We decided on San Bernardino instead, the next 'big' stop on the way. After about 15 minutes, the snow only got thicker and thicker and we realized we were driving in a true blizzard. I have to say they have been about the most stressy moments in my driving career. At some points, I literally couldn't see anything, not even Germaine's outside (remember how I told you about how white he actually is? ...) and there was no option but to stand still with 4 indicators on - in the middle of the highway, that is - and hope that no one would bump in the back or front of me. It was an experience though.
In the moments that the fog and snow lifted for the rare 5 minutes in a row, the view was gorgeous though: trees full of snow, everything white, roofs loaded with meters of snow. Simply breathtaking, our own little Winter Wonderland, our own little Narnia.

Road to San Bernardino
San Bernardino wasn't much, since it was still snowing so hard and the only thing we could do was find a bar, drink a hot chocolate and then turn back before it got dark. But we all had a lot of fun and it was a great way to get to know some people already. I think I might like it in Switzerland :).

We finished the day with a lovely traditional cheese fondue. Caroline had been craving it since the day we arrived, and of course I wouldn't say no - I love cheese fondue! Oral and Leah also had no problem with it (Naima already left for home by then). It was the perfect ending to a very nice day, and I am happy to say that Oral's room might soon be mine, if the 2 remaining girls and I get along. But if they are anything like their current roommate, I'm sure that won't be a problem.

Cheese fondue
Now the only thing that is left to do, is fill in all the paper work and get the work permit started. Not so long now before the move and the re-entry into work life - I am getting anxious, nervous and excited. A good mixture of feelings, I'd say :).


  1. Heerlijk geschreven en het doet me ook naar Chur willen gaan :) Mag ik je komen bezoeken?
    Ben heel blij voor je Marie-Annie, zie, je leventje is toch goed he.
    Dikke non-schnee kus vanuit dreary and wet London, Charles xx

  2. Uh?? Insane belgian, ben ik dat? Dit is een profiel naam die ik al van mijn Malaysia jaren niet meer gebruikt heb! Nu is het 'dead normal Belgian'. Ik ben tenslotte ietsje matuurder geworden :)