Fête de la Musique weekend

Filed under: geneva, life — Tags: , , , — thomas11 @ 11:57

Oops, just found the beginnings of a post about last weekend in my drafts. Well, we’re one weekend later and I have no idea if any one wants to read this, but now that I’ve started already, here we go.

Last weekend, I took a break from hiking and spent some quality time in the city – it was the weekend of Geneva’s biggest festival, the Fête de la Musique (Festival of Music).  Fête de la Musique, Genève It’s one weekend packed with concerts of all kinds, some open-air, some in classic concert halls, some with orchestras, some by street musicians.  The weather was fabulous, a little too hot even (now it’s really too hot!).

I spent only Saturday evening and a little of Sunday evening on the festival, which is a shame. I managed to pretty much waste my Saturday until the evening with shopping and laundry, by being lazy and unorganized and not feeling too well.  At least Saturday night made up for it.

I slowly wandered through Parc de la Bastion, my favorite park, towards the Old City, stopping all the time to watch people and listen to music. I met an English fellow from a previous Sunday hike there, and we spent the sunset down at the lakeside, then made our way back to Bastion to listen to one of the best sets of electronic music I ever heard.  The two young DJanes, Kyssia and Myssi Sensi, seriously rocked the park.  They covered a pretty broad range from House to Techno with some Drum’n’Bass influences, and were not afraid of adding quite some noise here and there, which made me especially happy :-) They are Geneva locals, and have their own independent label o’xensa, and that’s a site I’ll definitely keep checking for events.

Salève on Fire

Following up on that with a couple of refreshing beers made sure that this Sunday’s hike wasn’t going to happen for me. Which was fine, because my coworker Jerven had organized a picnic at the lakeside, where we happily spent the whole afternoon doing nothing.

As you can see, I had, of course, my new camera with me.  Some shots turned out pretty nice, but most of them have problems with sharpness, focus, or lighting.  I still have a lot to learn, and the SLR doesn’t do as much hand-holding as the compact one.  But it’s great fun.

So much to do!

Filed under: geneva — Tags: , , , — thomas11 @ 11:34

It’s horrible. There’s so much to do, and so little time. What, at work? No, on the weekends, of course!

Starting next Tuesday and ending the following weekend, there’s the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival. “The Swiss event for fantastic films, Asian cinema and future images”? – I’m sold. And I’ve never been to Neuchâtel, about an hour from here, anyway, so that should make a nice weekend trip.

Sunday at the Lake
During the whole of July and August, Geneva hosts the Musiques En Été (summer music) festival. In various venues, among them the old courtyard of the town hall in the Old City, jazz and classical concerts are hosted.

Also in July and August, OrangeCinema brings open-air cinema directly at the lake. Just look at the photos on the site! Amazing.

Since the Love Parade, every city must have a similar event, contrived or not. In Geneva, it’s, unsurprisingly, called Lake Parade and will be on July 12th this year. Well, there might be some good electronic music, making me have a look although it’s not exactly my kind of event.

No, I’m not finished yet! Two more to go!

Sunday at the Lake
From July 31st to August 10th 2008, Geneva hosts the Geneva Festival 2008. It’s an official event organized by the City’s institutions, and seems to offer a broad range of events. August 1st is the Swiss national holiday, so at least on this day there should be some interesting happenings.

Finally, August 29th to September 13th will see a festival called La Bâtie. From looking at the website, I honestly am not sure what that’s about, but it sure looks interesting. Music, dance, modern art, and lots of chicken and roosters running around. Look at the video on the page if that sounds weird to you :-)


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.


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.

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