Saturday, February 20, 2010

Italy, the land of Deutsch

Life in Switzerland is picking up again, with various social activities once again getting in the way of laundry and other various requirements around the flat.

Last weekend was the beginning of the Olympics, which I am pretty proud about having in Canada. We've won a few gold's and I am hoping we beat Germany in both medal count and number of gold's so I can rub it in Herr Gawlik's face. I've been sporting the various Olympics clothing my mom sent to Switzerland for me. I have yet to see a video of the opening ceremonies. I couldn't watch the whole thing because it was on during the miniscule 5 hours of sleep I got that night. But I did see the speechs right before the games were officially declared open. Man did that guy say "bienvenue" badly...

While I am being slightly negative, I just realized that I really do not want to write this blog right now... I'm not particularly sure why. But I'll write it anyway. If I don't, I'll forget everything that happened last weekend and this part week.

Anyway, the reason I was up early enough to watch the end of the opening ceremonies is that Ryan and I went to Rimini (Italy) last weekend. It takes 7 hours by train, so we had to get up early so we could arrive there at a reasonable time. I managed to overestimate the time required to get my stuff ready, which left some time to chill with Pat and watch the ceremonies.

Catching the train at 6:38 from Baden, we got to Rimini at around 14:00. I had arranged our stay with some students there through Couch Surfing, so one of the guys we were staying with picked us up at the train station. Ryan and I spent a few hours that afternoon checking out the old town. It was very typically Roman area including an outer wall (most of which is in ruins) and a large stone gate. We even came across a memorial to the Canadian forces who pushed back the German occupation of Italy in WWII. In the evening we were to a restaurant where the waiter didn't speak much English. So we spoke in German. In fact, I would say that I spoke more German at the restaurant than I've spoken in months elsewhere. The funny thing is that Italy teaches French as a second language, and he didn't even ask if we spoke French. The remainder of that night was very relaxed. We watched some of the Olympic events including Men's 5000m speed skating.

The following morning, Ryan and I walked to the train station and took a bus to San Marino, a very small country surrounded by Italy consisting of nothing more than a mountain and the surrounding valley. The cities within the surrounding valley feel like small Italian towns, while the capital city (San Marino) on the central mountain is very fortified and it definitely a medieval city. We walked along the outer walls on the very top of the mountain, looking over the entire country. It was pretty cool. We also bought euroshades, because there is no tax in San Marino. Stuff is cheaper, woohoo.

On Monday morning, we set off on a 6:00 train back to Baden. It was another long day of train travel, with a lot of intermittent napping to make up for the lack of sleep over the weekend. Upon arriving in Baden, I went to work for a half day. It was pretty awful.

Weeknights have been picking up lately, with plenty of things going down in the evenings. Ksenija was in town, which meant the weeknight partying was back on for a few days. Monday and Tuesday nights were spent watching the Olympics. Tuesday was a colder day than most, but I walked to Mirgos in shorts and flipflops anyway. The lady at the till thought I was insane and asked (in German) if I was cold. I told her no and that I'm from Canada. This seemed to be a sufficient explanation. On Wednesday, a bunch of people went to Nouba for some beer and shisha. Thursday was a night of Conan at Ziegelhau. Conan is much better than I expected, considering Andrew is the one who wanted to watch it (Andrew enjoys only terrible movies). Friday was a night of a few beers at Rachel's place. Considering it was just me and three girls, it turned out to be a pretty good night.

Saturday and today are days of being super lazy. Watching movies and taking naps are on the priority list. "Scotty doesn't know, Scotty doesn't know, Scotty doesn't know-ohh" and "Mike is a girl. Even I know that and I'm taking intro German. You asshole!". Hahaha Eurotrip is awesome. I'll also be staying up tonight to watch the Canada-USA game. I hope it is worth the murder of regular sleeping habits.

Next weekend, I am going to Ireland. I'll be the one of the three drivers there. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried, being that I haven't driven in quite some time and I haven't got the whole "driving on the wrong side of the road on the wrong side of the car" thing down pat.