The Swiss Alps call me!

Trip Start Sep 27, 2012
Trip End Oct 12, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I was so excited when I saw the information for the conference in Switzerland - I knew this was something I really wanted to go to - and, in addition, I love Switzerland.  I was last there in 1998 on our first Europe trip and fell in love with the beauty of the place, so a conference that really interestes me on the shores of Lake Geneva sounded perfect.  But could I go all by myself?? I have been three times to Europe, but always with my husband and we have shared the planning, the adventures and the memories of each wonderful trip.  I found it hard to imagine doing it solo, but realise that people do it all the time.  Besides, I am a very experienced traveller and have no real concerns about managing what I need to do.  It is just that half the fun is sharing it, or has been until now.  So I committed and booked and tonight I am off on Qatar Airways, via Doha to Geneva, with an ultralite suitcase that I hope I can carry by myself! 

I wish there were an easier way to get to Europe.  It looms ahead like a sort of marathon, but no effort will make it any shorter; you just have to wrap yourself in a cocoon with books, movies and a few snoozes and let the hours tick by until you finally get there.  If there are no babies screaming, no talkative passengers, no drinking neighbours and no plane dramas, that is all bonus.  At the moment there is nobody booked in the seat next to me according to the online chart, but I am not counting on that because you always get disappointed. I felt a bit unsure about Qatar Airways, which was the cheapest and quickest flight, but they were airway of the year last year and their economy seats have 6 or 7 cm more in the pitch from the seat in front.  We'll see.

I have books downloaded on my iPad, crosswords cut out from The Age, all my devices charged, contacts updated and stuff all over the bed.  Then there are my medications - they fill a fair bit of my backpack as I don't dare be separated from them and I hope I have done my pill counting correctly as I am paranoid about running out of something essential.  I have done my maths as to how to schedule my morning and evening meds when night and day get reversed - just have to set my alarm before I get lost in the land of blurred time when day goes on forever on the plane!

Peter was anxious about me travelling alone in case I have a health problem (especially after my brother's dramas in Spain!), but I have managed to get to today and be well.  I had to notify my remote link monitor for my pacemake/defibrillator that I will be overseas for a while, otherwise the device will get distressed when it looks for me wirelessly every night at 1am and I am not here!  I also carry a list of Medtronic clinics should my alarm go off for any reason (it is a bit annoying for me to be alarming from inside my body and a total mystery to everyone else). I discovered that my device was actually manufactured in Lausanne, which is about 15 minutes from where I will be staying - so I think that is comforting for some reason.

I was so happy to discover that my friend Vicki is also going to the conference, so we are sharing an apartment in Montreux for the first week - nice for both of us to have company.  We know we can get on well because we shared a place in Darwin last year, so it has worked out really well to have a little holiday before the conference begins.

The biggest challenge for me is managing my own technology! Have been syncing phone and iPad today, making sure I have all contacts and am mystified to find I have 2 Skype accounts!! So with Facetime and Skype and email on two devices and phone in an emergency, I hope I can manage it all. It has forced me to research and understand about international roaming and wi-fi and I am reasonably confident that I will not rack up astronomical data bills without meaning to! My conclusion is that in a high tech wortld, it is ridiculously hard to travel overseas with so called smart devices. Ah well, on our 1998 trip we travelled without phones and used public phone boxes to call the kids. Maybe it was easier!
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