Geneva this July is hot. If it were a human body it would be running a fever of over 38 degrees Celsius! And there was me thinking places like Morocco had a monopoly on sweltering temperatures. Clearly a myth. What makes it especially like an oven here is the lack of wind – plus the lake doesn’t seem to help out cooling the place either; that doesn’t stop folks gathering on the beaches along its shores…
Tag Archives: switzerland
Phew. After a few days’ rest and recuperation since last week’s merciless working schedule at the WEF, I do believe I’ve recharged my batteries sufficiently to be able to continue my notes on my four-day stay in Davos, where the WEF took place.
First – rewind: some history…
So, just why is it that this famous yearly forum – infamous to some, helpful to others – takes place in this particular tiny village in Switzerland?
I’ve got two versions…
To warm-up it’ll be Western Europe, mostly of the Alpine variety. Then it’ll be a healthy dose of equatorial/tropical travel, then back to Europe, then back home for a bit. It’s going to be fun, I can tell, and I’ll be sharing that fun, plus pics thereof, as I go along (I’ve already found the ‘masterpiece’ button:).
One of Geneva’s main places of interest is the water fountain on Lake Geneva. I’ve visited Geneva five times or so… or maybe more, but definitely less than 10 times from what I remember. Anyway, I’ve been here many times before, but never had the chance to get a close-up view of the fountain. It was either not working, or I didn’t have time. But this time I finally I did it. Here it is – the fountain in all its glory.
Quite a flight the other
day night for us – 11 hours up in the air!
Looking at the flightpath got me thinking… I wonder why our trajectory was so straight. If we were to fly via southern Siberia it would have been shorter, thus quicker – probably by around two hours. Is it that Turkish Airlines don’t want to pay the Russian overflight fees? Or is it geopolitical? These musings led to further questions on this topic:
- On the Seoul–Istanbul route how many kilometers would you save if you were to fly in a northerly arc, and how many minutes or hours would you save?
- How much would the fee be for a Boeing 777 to cross Russia from the border with northeastern Mongolia and Novorossiysk (on the opposite side of the Black Sea to Turkey)?
- Or is it all geopolitical based on ‘principle’?
Anyone know the answers?
First, a brief summary of the previous two parts…
On the Swiss-French border, near Geneva, there’s a place called CERN. Within its various buildings, modern-day alchemists scientists conCERN themselves with the fundamental structure of the universe. They disperse protons and other particles at near light speed and have them smash against one another, which creates various kinds of quark-gluon plasma and other mysterious physical phenomena. Then they apply titanic brainpower (math, physics, nuclear physics, quantum mechanics… all that), engineering capacity, and computing power to track the results of collisions of these fundamental particles.
We were there the other week and given a good long guided tour. Took lots of pics too…
The first accelerator we saw is called LEIR (the Low Energy Ion Ring). In it, lead ions are pooled. First the ions come from the LINAC-3 linear accelerator to LEIR, then they pass through to a PS ring, and then into a complex of big hoops, including the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Bonjour mes amis!
All righty. You’ve had the soup for starters; now let’s move on to the main course…, rather, into the main course – i.e., inside the proverbial pie served up as main course, and check out the filling – the proverbial steak and kidney, as it were… (but I digest).
Put simpler – let’s find out what goes on within the walls of these plain buildings on the Swiss-French border where nuclear-physicists study the very nature of… nature – at it’s very deepest level.
It’s not just the biggest, it’s also the most expensive, most innovative device in the world. Naturally, that means it’s highly computerized. I wonder what AV it’s got :).
What we’ve got here is a modern-day wonder. Research at the cutting edge of both theoretical and practical knowledge into particle physics – the study of what makes up matter. Other groundbreaking stuff has been going on here since the 1950s too, including the small matter of, in 1989, the invention of… the World Wide Web!
Yes folks, this is CERN. An international team that prods the microcosmic world with various kinds of prodders to try and learn what’s going on down there. Here they make particles ‘collide’ at the speed of light to find out how they interact and to get clues to the fundamental laws of nature. Pretty cool, no?
For me, there’s nothing better to invigorate the soul and get the spirits up on a winter’s morning than a brisk stroll in the icy air to the accompaniment of the cheerful, optimistic sounds of… bagpipes!
Actually, there is one thing that invigorates the soul better, and that’s an earthquake. I was woken up by one once in Japan. Invigorated? Yes. But getting the spirits up?…
No earthquakes here fortunately, in the small town of Davos in the Swiss Alps. But lots of icy air and, bizarrely, some bagpipes emitting their dulcet tones. Not that I was able to appreciate them for long, for I had to be off to my next meeting…
Things seem a little overly workaholic-like in Davos this year. Some events start at 7.30 in the morning! WHAT? Jeez, what a nightmare (for an evening person like myself). Oh well, if that’s when they start, that’s when they start. Will just have to comply humbly, and grumbly. But – organizers – please, kindly, get a grip and not repeat this madness next year, eh?
Curiously, Davos, for WEF week, turns itself into the weirdest skiing resort in the world.
To start off with, the environs around Davos have never been a super-mega for skiing and snowboarding. There aren’t that many routes, and they’re somewhat straight and boring, in fact hardly much fun at all – especially if you compare them with the likes of Zermatt, Sölden, Lech, the Dolomites and so on…
Not much fun
“This world is a desert that is a circle.
Heaven is closed and hell is empty.”
– Octavio Paz, Elegía interrumpida (Interrupted Elegy), mid-20th century
I recalled these lines of this great (though not all that well-known) Mexican poet just recently on my latest travels – driving across Switzerland. Have to say I wasn’t expecting low season here to be this low. Place was practically deserted, with most of the hotels practically empty too. But of course: Summer is a distant memory, and neither Christmastime nor skiing-time has fully kicked off yet…
Making the place even more eerily desolate was the thick fog that had descended…