Last week was a very IMD-centric week for me. It began Monday night with dinner at a professor’s house to discuss my next career move. After dinner and much discussion of Harry Potter with his children, we moved out to his terrace for dark chocolate, 1997 Castello Broglio Chianti Classico, and a marvelous sunset over the lake. While I distracted his dog with lots of petting, he played an excellent sounding board to my ideas and offered very helpful insights based on his experience and contacts.
Tuesday and Wednesday I met professors at IMD for coffee and again benefited from their very different perspectives. Also the IMD Info Center has helped me discover articles and papers to inform my decision process about next steps. Not wanting the benefit to flow only one way, though, I’ve been trying to give back to the IMD community as well and last week I met with three students interested in entrepreneurship to discuss some of the real issues encountered when starting up a business.
This weekend my Poken coworker, Bogdan, and I traveled to a few castles in the area. First on the list was Yverdon, which is a charming, sleepy little town with a modest castle in the center. Apparently the castle operated as a school for much of the 20th century–what an awesome place to have classes!
Next we moved up the road to Grandson, which boasts a much more sizable castle and was hosting a medieval festival that day. Although much smaller in scale than the renaissance fairs to which I am accustomed in the US, this one did have the advantage of location on real castle grounds. There was an artillery demonstration, archery competition, and duel between armored knights outside plus a museum of armor and weapons inside. The turrets (Yay!) offered breathtaking views of Lake Neuchatel and a pleasant feeling of dominance over the peasants below. 🙂 Here we bumped into Paul, the ping pong “ringer” from IMD who used to beat most of us last year–again the IMD network is ever present!
Unfortunately, though, there was no meat-on-a-stick to be found so we departed in the afternoon for Neuchatel. The castle there is very Swiss in style and provided some good exploring through its courtyards and along its parapets. The day was beautiful but almost chilly with the wind coming off the lake–what a change from August in Houston! I’ll still never forget the 140-degree heat indexes of two-a-days in full pads at Rice Stadium . . .
Pics of all the castles are now in my facebook album.
As the day wore on we returned to Lausanne, but not without a pit stop in Renens for the European Sumo Championships!!!! We arrived just in time for the highest level of women followed by the highest level of men. Having never attended a sumo match before, this was quite a spectacle to me and it was interesting to see that a match consists of much more ritual than actual wrestling.
Bogdan and I bet on each of the matches and cheered loudly whenever someone much smaller beat an oversized opponent. They might as well have called it the Eastern European Sumo Championships, though, as it quickly became easy to predict the winners by country of origin: Georgia, Bulgaria, Russia, and Poland seemed unstoppable. The poor Swiss contenders never stood a chance.
Video of the men’s final match is on facebook.
It was a fun day of local exploration and I’m glad I took advantage of Bogdan’s offer to drive us around. It would have been all too easy just to stay at home and get work done but opportunities like this are fleeting before my imminent return to the States. Switzerland really is a beautiful country and I will miss it dearly–especially in the summer!