July 26 - 1
Trip Start Jun 10, 2006
79Trip End Aug 05, 2006
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(Val) I had begun communication a long time ago to try and get a tour of the CERN particle accelerator located just outside of Geneva. You were supposed to book 6 months in advanced and I started the process a bit late. I had asked them to email Rob's account because we were on the road at this point and he was checking his email regularly. At some point in the trip I finally checked my email and they had written and wanted a response. In the end, we thought we were on a waiting list for July 26.
The train arrived in Geneva over an hour late. We checked on our options out to Nice where we had reserved a place for tonight. We changed money into Swiss Francs. We put our stuff in lockers. We found out which bus to take to CERN with the help of this very nice lady in the bus ticket place, and within about 20n minutes we were on our way. CERN is a European organization for nuclear research founded in 1954. It is the biggest particle physics laboratory in the world and is a collaboration of many countries. Rob is intrigued with it because it is also the place where the World Wide Web was birthed. The hardware of the Internet already existed, thanks to the American military, but the software to use it as we do today was created at CERN so that particle physicists around the world could communicate about their findings. So we all thought it was cool to be going to this place. CERN was the last stop and we got off the bus, not quite sure which way to go. We headed to the corner just in time to see this "thing" go by on a trailer. We have no idea what it was, but it looked important and very "scientificy". We and others took pictures as it went by, not knowing what on earth it was that we were photographing. We joked that perhaps they just roll the thing by every time a bus drops off people and they have a good laugh watching them take pictures!
The entrance was in the other direction. The receptionist looked up our emails on her computer, but there were many other people on the waiting list. The tour wasn't until 2 pm and we needed to leave by then to catch the train. There was a nice little museum that we wandered through and read and listened to the displays. The girls bought me a shirt for my birthday. This way they bought both of our birthday gifts in Europe. Audrye got a shirt and Krystal got cards. It was too bad we couldn't have taken the tour, but we were glad we came. I believe there are only two particle accelerators in the world and the other is in Illinois. So I will plan more in advance, and try and get a tour of that one sometime when we are in the States.
We rushed back to the station, but the 1:43 pm train out of Geneva was full so we booked the 4:20 pm. This was actually nice because now we had time to wander around Geneva. We walked to John Calvin's church and the Reformation Wall. The Wall is really quite a tribute to some of the men who influenced the Reformation.
We found a Budget grocery store before going to the station. We had 25.20 Swiss Francs that we wanted to spend. We were adding up our items: juice, potato salad, bread, cottage cheese, a huge bag of apples, yogurt, and we were getting close. Water, perhaps we needed a water. In the meantime, Audrye found a cheap ice tea. We thought we might be able to get both. At the check out, I showed the nice lady, Stephanie, that we had exactly 25.20, so she would check out total from time to time. The last time she checked was before the water and ice tea. We thought we could get them both......the final tally....25.20! We all had a good laugh and we thanked her and we were on our way to the train complete with a buffet in a bag!