My Switzerland escapades: Bouveret to Brig (Day 5)

Here  we go again…From Bouveret to Brig, transferring to another platform to another train with our luggage, tsug, tsug, tsug, hahaha… that’s not the sound of the train, it’s the sound of our luggage going down the stairs:-(

Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland (Brig Campus)

We’ re visiting the University center of Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland. We were greeted by  two equally beautiful ladies (Ms. Jenai and Ms. Laure) thanks goodness! we don’t have to pull our luggages again going to Hotel du Pont.

At Lounge (Campus accommodation)

Brig is located close to the Swiss- Italian border but they refer it as the German side of the Campus.True, people speaks more of German than French though it’s about one and half train ride to Milan, Italy.

Hotel du Pont

It is a nice town nestled at the foot of the Alps. Hotel du Pont is in central town strategically located along the shopping stores, train station and different cafe restaurant. Pedestrian friendly place!

From the Bouveret campus, students transfer to University center to continue their Bachelor degree in International Business Management. Here, students, teachers and staff are all in Business suits. Though there is one charity day that they allow them to wear casual dress and pays 3/CHF . Students accommodation is like a deluxe Hotel complete with bar, cinema,storage, kitchen and Gym.Kevin also attended one class” Global Tourism” , everything was already thoroughly explained to him in Bouveret, our campus tour was brief but positive. We had sumptuous lunch and Kevin also joined them at Indian dinner, I wonder if he gonna trim down when he join them next year. 🙂

Fondue-melted cheese serve in communal pot over a spirit lamp, dipping bread using long-stemmed fork
Parfait mocca flambe - i call it as " flaming ice cream"

And of course we, will not leave Switzerland without tasting “Fondue” and parfait Mocca Flambe , had fine dine in at hotel du Pont. Great day!

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My Switzerland escapades:Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland- a parent view (day4)

Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland (Le Bouveret campus)
multi -cultural environment

This is it! August 30, 2011, the reason why we’re here? To visit the prospective college Kevin is interested to join, opppps… i would say, I am more enthusiastic than him because he wanted to go to Florida, USA instead. When Kevin was in the middle school, I asked him what he wanted to be, He said with pride” I want to be a chef and open a restaurant for my dad” Although, he loves food and helps me in the kitchen, I did not take it seriously. He loves to play piano when he was small and now he loves to play guitar (he is passionate with music), I was thinking he might change his mind too, about being a chef. One of his passions too is Art, he is good in drawing, photography and recently attended an ID Tech Camp and took a short course in video editing. My eldest son was telling him to get a course that he is passionate about so  he would enjoy his profession afterward.

Yes, I believe that passion creates vision…a beginning to follow our endeavor but sometimes it just doesn’t pay the bills. As the sayings goes, “make a business from your passion and money will follow”.Well, I am not a firm believer of this ,otherwise a lot of people who is passionate about playing tennis,baking, writing will all be rich but we all knew that it doesn’t happened all the time. Having a profession that gives you a leeway financially and at the same time being passionate about it is a bonus in itself.

As a parent, it is also my duty to guide and help him to decide what path of studies he will be following, once he finishes his High School in 2012. So, My research begins, in Arts and Culinary. While Kevin is busy doing his” thing” in the kitchen, experimenting dishes, playing guitar and thinking to get a career in Film (documentary) huh! Sounds confusing… me too! Oh well, mostly of teens are not so sure ; a lot things in their mind, I want to get this, I want to be on and so forth.

Lets break it, 123 passion; 1.Music,2.Chef,3.Film making.Where to study?1. Philippines, 2.Switzerland, 3.USA. We’ve been to Philippines and USA many times but never been to Switzerland. I asked him again, are you still interested in Culinary? Well, mom why do you think, I am always in the Kitchen cooking? Because you love food and want to eat!*wink* :-)Nice try mom! I want to know if I really enjoy doing it! Alright Kevin..I got it!

As I goggle the best Culinary School in Switzerland, Culinary Arts Academy of Switzerland, pops up…I read their curriculum and I found that on the 1st year, a student will earn a Swiss advanced certificate and will have 6 months paid internship, 2nd year Swiss higher diploma and another 6 months internship until they graduate on the 3rd year of Bachelors degree in Culinary arts, a total of 7 terms. Or you can take up Bachelor in International Business Management (Hotel and Tourism Management). They have  two campuses, Le Bouveret (Swiss-French border) and the German side (Brig). To find out more, please visit www.RITZ.EDU

On my point of view, this is a well planned curriculum, I am already 52 years old, I will never know if anything happens to me, will Kevin be able to earn his Bachelor degree? At least if he got his first year certificate and internship, he has something in his CV to start with. But of course, as long as I am able, I will continue to support him until he gets his Bachelor degree or even until Master degree, God willing. 🙂

After discussing it with Kevin, I sent an e-mail and I immediately got a response from Ms. Laure Parfaite (International Admission Councilor) and received an invitation to visit from Ms. Jenai Oliveira (Area Manager) with outlined schedule of campus tour, classes and complimentary accommodation for him to have a better feel of how student life in both campuses.

along the road
walking from La Lagune rive bleu

Day 4,of  Switzerland escapades; walk…walk… with Kevin’s luggage from the Hotel to Cesar Ritz Colleges of Switzerland; It took us around 20 minutes, I was dressed white with blue blazer (2 years ago my most comfortable attire is shirt and jeans, Kevin would comment on some occasions “dress like a mom”) there you go, I am dressed like a mom 🙂 another request from him, NO PICTURE pls!

good day!
overlooking lake Geneva

As we entered, we were greeted with a smiling front desk officer, he took Kevin’s luggage and we were ushered to their bar lounge (they are after all..a Hotel School). Miss Laure, is a very young lovely lady who toured us around the campus, along the way, we met a lot of Professors, students, staff, executive chef who are all very hospitable and accommodating. Each one gave Kevin some pointers and advises on how to choose his path to success. What I noticed most , students are coming from different culture (Arab, Asian,Europeans etc) which is a  real practical experiences for students on culinary, academic and hospitality.

The kitchens are super, neat and clean; we had the chance to dine in, which was prepared by the students like we were in the real setting with real chef! Kevin was able to attend a class (Baking) with complete uniform, he really enjoyed the day and hang out with Korean students and stayed one night before we move in to another Campus in Brig.

Lunch with Ms. Laure and Kevin
chairs for unwinding thoughts

PS…Students takes 3 levels of French Language to pass the term! :-))

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My Switzerland Escapades: Montreux to Medieval town of Gruyeres (day3)

boat on Lake Geneva

Day 3, let’s try another route…boat-walk-train-bus to medieval town of Gruyeres.It’s refreshing and an enjoyable 25 minutes boat ride from Bouveret to Montreux. There’s also refreshment or breakfast on board (too late, we had breakfast already at the hotel).What’s amazing with the transportation here, everything is on time! You can also take your bicycle on boat or on train, there’s a special place for it. There’s also 1st class and 2nd class, I would say if your going for a long ride to Geneva or to Lausanne by boat, it’s probably nice to take the 1st class,.. like your on cruise!

along the shore of Montreux

Montreux houses and building are  more continental than Bouveret, its lake shore are more flowered and the windows of huge buildings are decorated with colorful window curtain. There are more jazz bars, discos and hotels. We wish we had enough time to roam around but as I said the train leaves and arrives on time.

And so we walk and climb upstairs,no luggage hurray! Beware of going from city to city with a heavy luggage, transferring from one platform to another will kill your shoulder and legs as there are no elevators or escalators that will ease your misery 🙁

golden pass panoramic train

Golden pass panoramic train is an amazing  ride experience from Montreux to Montbovon, a spectacular view passing through the vine yards, lake view, tunnel,green valleys and mountains.

From Montbovon , we shifted to another train to La Maison du Gruyere where we listen to the history of the medieval town and watch how cheese is being made.

Then we took a bus to the Castle of Gruyeres, hurray! 2,627 feet above sea level, finally … another spectacular view of well-preserved houses of 15th to 17th centuries line up the main street, with restaurants along the way hmmm no McDonald this time ..No diet pls!

Medieval town of Gruyeres

At the entrance of the castle, we found a small museum called HR Giger museum, the art of “alien” and Tibet Museum. I find it amusing to pose with Egyptian mummy statue. The castle is well furnished and preserved.There are about 16 rooms complete with 15th century paintings.We watched  a thrilling multimedia show” Gruyeres” a wonderful story of the castle.Outside is a chapel with stained glass windows showing the baptism of Christ. On the ground is a French style landscape garden, I would say its some  sort of geometrical style.We were so engrossed taking pictures , time passes by so quickly but of course, kevin and I will not leave the place without trying those yummy swiss food!

We hurried up to catch the train back to Montbovon or else we gonna miss the last boat going back to Bouveret but…as we can’t read nor speak French, we got the wrong train and wallah, we went straight to Bulle, another classic town of  Gruyeres,… charged to experience! And so, we waited for another train to bring us back to Gruyeres then to Montbovon.

terrace view

Going back to Montreux, we took the Golden pass classic train in luxury style (2hrs) just right on time to catch the boat to Vevey then to Bouveret.

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My Switzerland escapades: Le bouveret back to Geneva (day2)


Sunday, our first morning in Le bouveret, what a day to spend the time strolling around the vicinity, look at the magnificent view of Lake Geneva, the mountains, the people, the small shops around the marina, the smell of brewed coffee with the smell of nature blended together.., oh my!

magnificent view

we walk again without our luggage of course!, it seems there  are no taxis around the hotel , so I asked… the receptionist said..”its only 10-15 walk to train station” ahhh but last night was about 30-40 minutes, anyhow, i’ts a beautiful day, indeed! I enjoyed the scenery more while strolling..yesss if there was no train to catch at nine a.m. ( to Geneva) I rather stay in here, there was a sort of festival along the shore, a lot of stalls all around, people walks around with smiling faces, a lot them with dogs (beautiful snazzy puppies and dogs)

Sunday morning

 Besides the hotel is the Aqua park, which is good for adult and kids who likes to splash in the big slides down to swimming pool or go to the beach, do biking or ride in miniature railway train system which  is unique in Europe or if you like painting, the place is an inspiration in itself.

As we walked to the train station, we passed by chalet and small cute bungalow surrounded by green and flowers. It’s just so refreshing to note that the place is so peaceful, no malls, no abaya :-), no rude taxi drivers and I believe  i did not see any policemen but my son said, he did notice one. and so the train trip this time seems shorter because the weather is just great!


Geneva has been described as the third European financial centre after London and Zürich and was ranked as the fourth most expensive city in the world.

  I wonder where all these people hanging out on the restaurant get their money, I see them most of the time  eating out… hahaha would you believed we settled for a McDonald meal instead of dine in!

As usual we walk…eat ice cream..drink…chocolates..walk…drink. My son doesn’t want to go on tour, he wanted to experience how to travel, eat and live like the resident, so be it. I should have brought a big dictionary of English-French, If i was alone, i would just settle for an air-conditioned coach with a tourist guide!

But don’t get me wrong, I did enjoyed the trip…so much..that i like to stay more. By the way, this is the only trip that i been to without going shopping! yesss no shopping because it’s Sunday and all the shops were closed except for restaurant and coffee shops. Even on ordinary days, shops  closed as early as 5pm or as late as 6pm.

Jet de' Eau

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My Switzerland Escapades… walk…walk…walk …(day 1)

le bouveret

It took us 6 hours flight from Jeddah, KSA to Amman, Jordan to Geneva, Switzerland via Royal Jordanian Airlines. We arrived Geneva at 6:30 pm and the sun was still shining brightly, we readily went to the train station just adjacent to the airport and hence we already have our on- line ticket, we decided to room around the shops and tried some French bread at the café’ resto and tried to figure out which platform are we going in.

Our final destination is Le Bouveret (Swiss- French border), we asked the tourist office to give us some info about the place and La Lagune Rive Bleue , she gave us  a printed map and we were told to get on the bus or just walk from the train station.

We booked first class train ticket (and found out later, there’s not much difference between 1st and 2nd class) additional CFH30 is not worth all. It took us about two hrs from Genève airport via Lausanne to St. Maurice, and transferred to another train that took us 24 min to Le bouveret. The scenery is spectacular so I don’t find it boring to travel by train, though it would be nicer to get on the boat enjoy the sunset then go by train.

There was no Bus stop sign (though everything is in French) that will give us a hint that a bus neither is nearby nor taxis around. Le bouveret is a small town on the banks of Lake Geneva at the mouth of Rhone River. It was almost half past ten and it seems the place is already deserted, good thing, there were few Chinese students who could speak English and told us just to walk right across the train rails and pass through the marina, follow the bridge and right beside the Aqua Park (most popular tourist destination in the area) is La Lagune Rive Bleue.

La lagune rive bleue

Huh! Good thing, I am not wearing high heels, I can pull my luggage but to walk and walk not knowing where you are at the middle of the night, sounds creepy??? No, it was fun actually. We saw a bar, full of people and Kevin volunteered to go by himself and asked where the Hotel, I stayed put, oh my! I want to go and make pee. I always wonder why Saudi Arabia call comfort room as WC and the same thing here, ahhh water closet (w.c.) 🙂 and so we walk…walk…walk..finally we got Rive Bleue.

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My unknown Lady: the living statues

living statues

As I walked around the Copley square in Boston, I spotted two ladies, tourist gathered around and take pictures. I patiently waited for my turn to take pictures, enjoying the scenery and admiringly looking at these two. A young girl, place a dollar in the basket and suddenly i saw a synchronized movement of thank you gesture from this unknown ladies. I almost lost my grip on the camera when  i saw them move. ha ha ha ha got you! they are super real people. How can they stand still at that very moment without a  blink!

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Chill : Hop on…Hop off… Boston Tour (part 4)

Boston harbor

Eventually towards the end of my educational trip the sun rises up only to be gloomy again at the middle of the day but I was adamant to go on tour, period! Boston Duck Tour (one vehicle for land and water)… great value, but I choose the two-way vehicle instead. The hop on…hop off trolley with a free Boston Harbor cruiseand a two-day pass at your own pace.

Boston duck tour

I only have a day and two hours before going back to reality 🙁  🙂 …sunny and chilly at 9 in the morning, with a map and camera (tourist) hops on the bus, sit back and relax!

There are 18 stops around Boston, the best thing about this tour is the history itself, and the bus drivers are great as story tellers or should I say a historian with a twist of their own wit and ideas to entertain visitors.

Have you heard about the Boston accent? The dropping of “r” and the broad “a”, so let’s call our historian as Cristian.

cristian: everyone says Ba

tourist: Ba

cristian: no no not ba in ba ba black sheep.. says ba as baaaa

tourist: (laughing)  baaa 

tourist: yeah lets hav a dink n a baa’ 

cristian: now let me tell you about the swan quack!

tourist: now wha? quaack quaaack! (Laughing loud)

while we were passing by the Boston common and public garden, he took out an all time children’s favorite book ” Make Way for ducklings” a story  of a pair  mallard ducks who decide to raise eight ducks named jack, mack, nack in Boston public garden (well beautytbeyondfifty forget again),I’m sure there’s a name “quack”.

Marriott Long Wharf

I went down to take the Harbor cruise, too chilly in the morning, passed by Dunkin doughnuts (every corner on our way), I was thinking hmmm lunch at the famous Long Warf? Nah… not fun being alone, so I discarded the idea.

After the cruise, first stop is New England Aquarium and Faneuil Hall Market place. This is where I had lunch inside the

Quincy market

Quincy Market, a melting pot of homemade delicacy, a lot of food to choose from and I cannot decide which one, too crowded! Though it’s a two-story rotunda, it’s hard to find a place to sit. Outside was also bars and different restaurant (casual and upscale dine in) like Cheers(remember the popular 1980s TV sitcom?), steak house, Italians resto and a lot more. Surrounded by gift shops and pushcart stalls, street performers, you can actually sit anywhere and have lunch and watch the show. A whole day of entertainment! Certainly enjoyable!

Trinity Church

Another stop is Copley Square,

Copley Place

again a lot of shopping and dining choices, a temptation to unfold, look for a millionaire, marry in Trinity Church( an impressive dark multi-hewed stone and glass window ) giving me goose bump when I got in.

Honeymoon in

interior of Trinity Church

Fairmont Copley Plaza then off to Copley Place shopping Galleries where you can find an all original signature items. Hop in to Symphony Hall,get in to Jillians Boston, watch a game in Fenway Park, go to Imax theater, comedy bar or to Museum

or to garden park and finished off  Whale watching , live in Commonwealth Avenue where you find brownstone home ornamented with flowers and trees, study in MIT or Harvard  Opppps where I am?

Pinch me! Alright I was day dreaming, time to hop off.

Cheers ladies!


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Hot to breeze to chill: Boston, Massachusetts (part 3)

view from skywalk observatory
Boston Harbor

From Atlanta to New York, the weather is not forgiving, My flight was delayed for 45 minutes due to heavy rains, I wonder, why oh why I brought my spring clothes instead of winter clothes! And why do I have to travel always in last minute? I have a meeting to catch at 1 in the afternoon and its 11 in the morning and I am still here in New York.

Atlanta to New York is 2 hrs and 10 min flight and from New York to Boston is 1hr and 15 min flight. Ahh, after so many trips. I still don’t get used to the fact that I came from Saudi Arabia, land of the desert and camels where life stands still five times a day though I live in Jeddah which is more tolerant and cosmopolitan than other cities in Saudi Arabia.Confused? me too!

inside Quincy market

I arrived in Boston with more heavy rain which is predicted to last for a week, Great! From hot and dry… to breeze  and showers… to chill and wet! Yey! Got an excuse for shopping clothes…. ha  ha ha oh well, my hands are tied or should I say I am on continuing educational trip ( which mean…on budget) Do you know how much to attend a dental workshop like this? the first course in Atlanta was US$ 2598 and the 2nd here in Boston, US$1550, plus ticket and hotel accommodation, all these expenses for the sake of giving the most updated, skillfully done Cosmetic Dentistry!

AACD members inside the Hynes' convention Center

Would it be safe to say ; as technology advances, Dentistry advances too… rather than… we (fifty and above) have to keep up with the ever-changing trend and innovation…Young and old has to keep learning and collaborate to give  and share the knowledge and skills for a better oral health of the public. Beautybeyond fifty getting serious 🙂 let’s go back to my escapades.

Massachusetts State House

Boston is the capital and largest city of Massachusetts, the buildings are made of brick and brown stones which gives a more historical essence, the streets are clean, garden and parks are big and green. My room in Sheraton was on the 20th floor overlooking the Back bay view of the city, I can see the roof top of each buildings which were all amazingly clean.

My attention is divided into the great dental workshops and to the beautiful city itself. Every day I just  wished that the rain goes away and comes back again when I’m gone :-). I attended the welcome reception in Jillian’s Boston (near Fenway Park), a social night for about 2,000 dental professionals around the world.We dine, dance and drink. I asked the bartender ” do you have anything without alcohol?: she smiled at me “MINOR’? 🙂 you bet! never had a drink in my golden years! laugh, I know your eyes are wide open, huh!

sky view of greater Boston

Every morning I waited for the sun to rise, the third day, I got a glimpse of sun and hurried up to Sky walk observatory (50th floor of Prudential center) which is just adjacent to the Sheraton Hotel. A spectacular 360 degree views of greater Boston. Oh! Got a bit dizzy up there (good excuse for the outcome of my photos) but not bad as an amateur photographer. What do you think?

Fenway park

If my boys (husband and sons) were with me, we will surely not missed the most awaited game event, Red Sox vs. Cubs at Fenway park, they all love baseball! Towards the end of the week, the sun shines a bit so I did have a time to tour around the city, next blog  please! The Boston Duck tour!

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Hot to breeze to chill : Atlanta Georgia (part two)

From Saudi Arabia  to Atlanta , Georgia , a distinct contrast from hot to breeze, I came 8:30 in the evening, shops close at nine so I hurried up to check if I can find a decent top to wear the following morning. I decided to wear a white top with my black blazer and jeans and my strappy flat open toe sandals, as i mentioned earlier, things happens, you just have to be comfortable with whatever you wear and have some poised and you will be fine.

open toe sandal- i always travel in flat comfortable foot wear

The first thing I noticed in Atlanta are the people, largely African-Americans, but don’t get me wrong, they are very polite and well-mannered. From the taxi driver to the hotel people and to the professionals, they are respectful and polite. In contrast to the taxi driver of Jeddah and to the other people i have met along the way, sometimes they just don’t know how to be nice in some ways.

I came to Atlanta for an advance Aesthetic training in Botox and Filler which i already discussed on my earlier blog.

So , let’s go on with my escapades in Atlanta, It has a reputation as a ” city in a forest” indeed! a lot of  trees around, the environment is so green and a lot of high-rise buildings too.Every corner has a touch of arts and crafts, museum and garden.

bank of america plaza

The tallest building is Atlanta’s Bank of America Plaza (55 story; rank as 42nd tallest building in the world).

I only have a half day to tour around and then travel to another state for another dental meeting, so I brave the rain showers that never stop since the day I came.

coca cola samples from different countries

I was able to see the World of coca-cola museum, taste the different coca cola of the world, around 6o of them, so when i came out I got a bloated tummy and ready to fart  ha ha ha .

world of coca cola

I wonder why Philippines doesn’t have its own coca cola drink?

The Worlds’ largest indoor Aquarium with 8 millions gallons of  fresh and marine water ,of course a lot more to see, I remember my kids (now, they are taller and bigger than us) the big eyes , the smile and excitement in their faces is more than what we can ask for.

It’s Monday but still the aquarium was full of tourist and students on tour.I walk through the Centennial Olympic park to have a glimpse of  Turner CNN building. Unfortunately , i was not able to see the botanical garden of Atlanta

which is close every Monday.

And of course, as ladies always do …Shopping! Atlanta has the biggest outlet of

signature clothes, I was able to visit..take note only visit as in window shopping… 🙂

Lenox square, a luxury retails of Calvin Klein, Zara,Hermes etc. My wish and your wish..let me guess..are all the same. cheers!

Please click on ” my world” to see more photos.