The best and the worst in France

My parents in law invited the whole family for a weekend to Crest in the department of Drome. A town I wouldn’t put on the list of the 100 must see towns in the world, but everything holds surprises. As always, family outings are mostly about good food and good wine. The first evening we ate reasonably well. The next day we visited Crest with the highest dungeon of France. In the evening, we went to the Pizzaria Di Angelo … If you ever happen to be in Crest, avoid this „restaurant“ at all cost. We were greeted with the information, that only half of the guests were allowed to eat a pizza, the others had to eat something else, otherwise we would no be served. Woha (brain to blood preassure – rise)! Finally we ordered only two pizzas. Me and my parents in law ordered Raviol – a local speciality, basically small raviolis – which came clearly from the micro wave. It was disgusting. What happened to the pride of France, the kitchen. I would be ashamed to serve food like that. The pizzas would be a reason for Italy to declare war. They put french Emmentaler (which is an insult to the Swiss) on it instead of mozzarella. Yucks.

The next day we went to Saoû. Now that was something else. We enjoied local specialities under the trees on the central square (if you need soft drinks, you are out of luck here, no Coke or anything like that … but the wine was incredible). Since every meal starts late and takes at least two to three hours, we skipped supper and went to a vocal jazz festival in Crest.

Monday was the absolute highlight for me. The town of Cliousclat is almost to nice to be true. If you like pottery, that would be haven. My haven was La Fontaine – It’s about as close you can get to the perfect french restaurant. I don’t mean the expensive places with Pierre as your waiter (who wants to know the first name of the waiter anyway). No, sitting in the street in the shade, talk to other guests, kids running around and everybody is just extremely friendly, because they like what they do. Regional and seasonal food (mostly), perfect wine. That’s life. If I ever happen to have a big company and need a new headquarter, I would go to a small french town like Cliousclat, just to get lunch every day in small restaurants. Who cares about free fruits, massage, gym or meeting rooms, designed to the latest scientific findings in face-to-face collaboration, if you just could meet somewhere in the shades of a nut tree to discuss the next project? Customers would always come back to me, just because of the food they get during meetings (and I truly hate this new mode of standing during lunch, „Stehlunch“ they call it in German. Horrible. Where will it end).

The only setback was the nuclear power station a few kilometers down the valley. That really spoiled the view. That should be reason enough for France to get out of nuclear power.

I think we should do the same thing somewhere in Italy. Could be fun, too.

I even had time (while driving the sleeping family back to the hotel – don’t volunteer to drive and do a good job) to muse about Notes. Where is that Beta for Vulcan? There aren’t any news since LS11. It’s Q3 already! I am really curious about it. It is a crossroad for me. Either it has the Wow factor or it’s time to move on. We are looking into Zimbra, too, which looks promising as a Domino replacement.

PS: Notice to IBM Suisse Romand or SNOUG SR. Where is the Connections Account you promised at Givaudan? I am waiting to get more into this social stuff.

One week without internet, phone and tv …

Sounds hard, doesn’t it? Naa, I have just been on holiday. One week skiing in La Tzoumaz, which is part of Les Quatres Vallées. 2 days of snow fall in the beginning and then 6 days sun, snow and fun. Our two little monsters (5 & 7) went to ski school during the day and my ex girlfriend (my wife) and I took every black or black/yellow run we could find. Most of them several times. I really like Verbier for skiing. I have been skiing in most of the areas in Switzerland and in Italy, Canada, France and Austria, but I have yet to find a cooler place.
Every time I am in Verbier, I am amazed about the number of good skiers. If you like it steep and deep, that’s the place to go. If you like moguls, here you can still find them. Freeride? Yup, plenty.
One day my wife and I decided to use every lift only once. It’s easy. There are so many. We went from La Tzoumaz to Verbier to the Mont Gelé , to La Chaux, from there to Gentianes/Mont Fort, then to Siviez, Tortin, Gentianes, La Chaux, Les Ruinettes, Atlas and then via Carefour back to Savoleyres. Took us about 5 hours and we used only 15 lifts (and no, we are not just slow).
During that week, Viviane (monster no 1) went to 6th grade (red star) in skiing school and Camille to 3rd grade. They both loved it. First we were afraid, that 6 hours of skiing course a day would be too much, but no. They always came home grinning (but tired) and they want to go there next year again.
Anything I don’t like? We stayed in La Tzoumaz, because Verbier is just too d… expensive to live. But all we missed was the evening sun. With the kids we can’t go out in the evening anyway and the apartment we found was just perfect for a very, very reasonable price. Because it does not have tv, phone, internet or fireplace, they can not rent it very expensive today. But that suits me. With internet I would have checked my emails every evening and probably started to work. A killer for family live. A few DVDs is enough to pass time when the batteries of all family members are just too low for anything else and since I don’t use a smart phone, I was free to just using my head.

Interestingly, when I returned, the world was still spinning.