Hike: Pointe de la Gay

Filed under: geneva — Tags: , , , , — thomas11 @ 19:42

Last Sunday, I had a blast joining a hiking group from Glocals, a web site mainly for expats in Geneva. Phillip, opera singer and mountain freak, organizes a hike almost every Sunday. This time, the destination was the Pointe de la Gay [French], a summit of the pre-Alps in the Savoie (en. Savoy) region in neighboring France. With 1800 meters, it’s not that high, but its location between the high summits of the French Alps and the Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) allows fabulous views in either direction.

Glocals hike with Phillip - Pointe de la Gay

The glocals group was great. We were an impressive 17 or so people, and I didn’ t even count the different nationalities. It was great to meet so many nice people as I’m new in Geneva. That plus great hikes means I’ll join again next Sunday!

Glocals hike with Phillip - Pointe de la Gay

If someone finds this when researching practical hiking information: the French page I linked above has all the information. If you can’t read French, the gist is, drive to the tiny village l’Ermont, near Belleveaux; it’s on Google Maps. From there, the paths are signposted. It’s an ascent of 850 meters, and the round trip should take four to five hours. Some of the paths are narrow and steep, and while it’s not dangerous, it can be difficult to walk when it’s wet and muddy.


Hiking has started! – Morges

Filed under: geneva — Tags: , , , — thomas11 @ 21:04

First a very short update for my poor regular readers: I’m really too busy to blog here, it seems. I feel bad about it, though, and will improve on this. Monday to Friday I really don’t do anything exciting, because apartment hunting takes up quite a bit of time in addition to work. Well, that is exciting, in fact. It’s really difficult in Geneva and probably deserves a post on its own! Add to that the usual everyday stuff and studying French a little, and there’s not much time left. However, I did start to follow one of my passions on the last two weekends: hiking!

Monnaz, Lac Léman

Starting with a short and pleasant hike at Lac Léman (Lake Geneva/Genfer See), I did a round trip starting in Morges, between Genève and Lausanne. Clocking in at around 2.5 hours, it leads through a lovely scenery where vineyards, pastures, and little villages alternate. There’s no need to describe the route in detail here, as it’s recommended by the Morges tourist office and thus marked and signposted pretty well. You can get a copy of a map with the route and a short description there. The hike starts at the train station, which is just five minutes from the lake, and leads to the villages of Joulens and Monnaz (lovely!), with great views over the lakes. From Monnaz, it crosses the valley to reach the castle of Vufflens (not open to the public). From there, it leads back in a similar fashion via the village Denes. Alternatively, follow the valley between Monnaz and Vufflen for a straight route back to Morges. It’s a pleasant footpath along the creek, and shady.

near Morges, Lac Léman


How hard can it be to check a JDBC connection?

Filed under: tech — Tags: , , , — thomas11 @ 16:57

This is a long, technical and geeky post – skip if you’re not into that!

Today I faced the problem of checking whether a given JDBC Connection is valid. For the sake of simplicity, let’s just say that “valid” means “it works” – you can successfully issue queries with it.



Beste Suchanfragen

Filed under: meta — Tags: , , — thomas11 @ 20:28

Zur Feier des 10.000sten Besuchs, hier die besten Suchanfragen, die irgendwen hierher geführt haben:

  • selbstmordrate studenten karlsruhe
  • tibetische schlampe
  • i don’t know what my thesis is about



Dilliwallas want to shop

Filed under: india — Tags: , , , , — thomas11 @ 19:44

I got myself a flickr pro account today. That means primarily that all photos I uploaded are there again, not just the latest 200.

My India photos have always been available via the custom thumbnail page I made for them on this blog, but now they are all back on flickr, and I can see their statistics. A rather bland photo of a shopping center has almost three times as many hits as the one ranked second. Funny. The second ranked also shows an area of Delhi known mainly for shopping (although the picture wouldn’t suggest it; the visitors come mostly from search engines, however). There seems to be a lack of Delhi shopping resources on the net!

Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Delhi Hauz Khas Village, Delhi

First week in Genève!

Filed under: life — Tags: , , , — thomas11 @ 19:23

Wow. Tonight, it’s actually already a week and a day that I’m here. I guess I’ll have to start at the beginning as this is my first post since I announced my new job. On Saturday, May 3, my parents drove down to Genève (I’ll use the French spelling, now that I’m a proud resident!) with me and a first load of stuff. I’m staying at my colleague Alain’s house, which is a fabulous old mansion with a large garden and all, for the moment. I spent the weekend exploring some of the area with my parents, having my first cheese fondue, and on Monday started working right away.

My introduction at Swiss-Prot has been a very pleasant and painless experience. The people were so welcoming and helpful, and let me explore the large number of ongoing projects with all the documentation etc. before loading my task list. So, now I’ll spend my days sitting at my desk in the Swiss-Prot office, which manages to be a really nice place despite being an open-plan office. Actually, I suspect I’m the kind of person being prone to like that more than the seclusion of a private office anyway, seeing as I always preferred to live in colocation, too. Still, it’s bright, spacious, and reasonably quiet.

I won’t get into technical details here, that’s planned for a couple of posts in the tech category, suffice it to say that I’ll work on editors and their web front ends for database curators. The curators are biologists who review scientific publications and experimental data and enter the results in a concise form into our Swiss-Prot database (and related ones). The user interface is not the problem here, as it’s pretty straightforward; the challenge is the complex data model needed to describe the gazillion of entities involved in even simple biological processes, and their relations.


This weekend, I enjoyed the awesome weather and strolled throughout the city, with some leisurely reading and sightseeing breaks at the fabulous lake side. It’s a really, really beautiful place. Tomorrow I hope to get a longish hike done on the Salève, Genève’s landmark mountain. Yay, mountains!

Ting and me

I even met with two former fellow students from Karlsruhe, Qiangqiang and Ting. Qiangqiang works here since a few months, and it’s nice to have a contact you already know.

Ahem, didn’t I announce recently that there would be no diary-like entries? Well, perhaps it was good for me to recap the week, with all the new impressions. I hope I didn’t bore anyone. Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading or hearing from you (you’ll find me on Skype, btw). Cheers from Switzerland.


Photos: Home and Vienna

Filed under: life — Tags: , , — thomas11 @ 06:54

As a farewell greeting to my home near Calw, northern Black Forest, I took some pics that turned out rather nice.

Fünfbronn, northern Black Forest

Also, I haven’t yet announced the photos from our recent trip to Vienna.

Wien 2008-04

As usual, clicking leads to my photo page, where you can browse through the other photos.

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