Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vegan Voyager: Neuchatel, Switzerland

I've been so caught up with my book blog and reading and writing and preparing for NaNoWriMo that I haven't updated this blog in a very long time. SORRY! I am once again behind!

So, a few weekends ago, I took the very last vacation of what ended up being my extraordinarly LONG vacation time.

Guillaume, some of his friends, and I headed over to Neuchatel, Switzerland, which is right across the border from France, to celebrate La Fete des Vendanges with one of his friends that lives there.

Lovely view from their house

La Fete des Vendanges is basically a festival to celebrate the fact that grapes are harvestable for making wine. Which in no way whatsoever means that people sit around together and drink wine. The opposite almost.

Neuchatel, population approximately 33,000, is a very small city. It closes down it's streets for three whole days and has a sort of fair. There are booths everywhere in which you can find every type of alcohol (although I don't think I ever once saw any wine available) and every type of food (except for maybe vegan food) available. There are all sorts of rides and fair games and lots of cute little tents selling fun things (like at a street fair). During the day there are parades and at night there are random float things that drive around shooting balls of confetti everywhere.

We are covered in confetti!!!!

And, because Neuchatel is so small and people come in from all over Switzerland and all over France, it ends up being COMPLETE CHAOS!!!!

During the day, it was fun. We walked around by the lake and watched a cool parade and got to experience the city. There were far too many people, but it was survivable.

A couple parade pictures!

The night, however, was not my cup of tea. We were there for two nights - the first night we went down to the festival, and I left after about an hour or two because it was just too claustrophobic. There were SO MANY PEOPLE everywhere that I could barely breathe, and most of them were drunk and over half of them were smoking. I tried to have fun, occasionally stopping to dance to the music with the others. But there was just too much cigarette and too many lame drunk people and not enough space to move, much less breathe.

Needless to say, I did not return the next night when they all went out, instead opting to stay in and enjoy the much more Audreyesque activity of reading. I had a great time, they had a great time, all was well.

So, even though I wasn't the hugest fan of the festival, I had a great time, and the part of Switzerland we were in was BEAUTIFUL! I am really glad that we decided to go. I could definitely see myself living in a cute little small place like that. (except that it is so small that no matter where you live, you tend to live right by the train track, which I wouldn't love).

On the drive back, we got to stop in Besancon for a bit to say hi to Guillaume's grandmother. It was lovely.
All in all, the weekend was a success!

2 things said:

Ariane said...

Hey darling,
It's funny, I'm preparing myself to do the NaKniSweMoDo 2010 : National "Knit a Sweater a Month" Dodecathlon.
I totally understand for the festival : Everything is fun but you don't have fun. Analogy : I love to eat, but when I'm eating TOO SPICY indian food, I'm not having fun. At all!

Mary Anne Gruen said...

I have the same problem with really really close crowds. I'm glad you got to enjoy some of the day time, though.

Have fun with NaNoWriMo!