L’Abri and Itinerary v0.5

11/12 June 2009

L’Abri was the shelter for my journey. After traveling for over five weeks, it was time to stop for a moment (although I wish it could have been more). It was great to see Quinn. It was even better to have some great conversations with some amazing people at L’Abri.

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70.0 mm || 1/320 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Huemoz, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland

I was able to finish a book I have literally been try to finish for almost two years and have started, stopped, and restarted several times, The Language of God by Francis Collins. I read over 150 pages in two sittings, morning and afternoon.

The Language of God is a decent book, not great. From an engineer’s (or scientist’s) perspective, I found it lacking in detail. However, I assume such omission was not a matter of ignorance, but rather an attempt to make the book more acceptable to a general audience. I would have liked something more on par with Stephen Hawkins’ A Brief History of Time in terms of science content.

I also began reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and upon finishing the preface, immediately wished I had read this eons ago.

It was nice to be on a schedule, having set times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was nice having a time set aside for me to just ponder. And it was actually nice for me to have my computer locked away for a littler while, and something that I should probably do more1.

As John, the Swiss L’Abri “Director” noted in his email to me about my request for refuge at L’Abri, “A couple of nights is not very long to deal with theological questions, but perhaps it can serve as a beginning.”

The few nights I was there were a good start for me and a reminider of what I need to focus on. It also reminded me why I want to retire to Switzerland, perhaps even Huemoz.

I took some time to meditate on my trip. Where I had been, what I had seen, and what I wanted it to be about. I looked at what my current plans were and decided that they would not do if I wanted to make it with my sanity intact…not to mention, perhaps actually enjoying the trip.

Thus, I also sat down and refigured the rest of my trip. I wrote down the cities I was planning on going to, researched them some more, and then wrote down an even smaller list of cities. Thus leading to Itinerary v0.5, which I now present to you with the applicable changes:

  • July 10-13: L’Abri, Huemoz, Switzerland
  • July 13: Leaving L’Abri in the morning, travel to Arbon, Switzerland via Interlaken and Luzern
  • July 13-14: Arbon, Switzerland
  • July 14: Leave Arbon, Switzerland for Vienna, Austria on the overnight train.
  • July 15-17: Vienna, Austria
  • July 17-21: Budapest, Hungary
  • July 21-25: Prague, Czech Republic
  • July 25: Travel to Krakow, take a bus to Auschwitz and back, then travel to Warsaw
  • July 25-29: Warsaw, Poland
  • July 29 – August 1: Berlin, Germany
  • August 2: Frankfurt, Germany
  • August 3: Leave Frankfurt in the morning for Seattle (via Chicago O’Hare)

Still pretty intense, but nowhere near the pace Charlie and I had going for Turkey and Greece. Most of Austria was gutted, because I didn’t have any real interest in going. Based on my prevoius experience, three nights and four days seems to be a good amount of time to spend in a city; and more importantly, an amount of time that I’m willing to spend and not feel like I missed it or spent too much time there.

In Arbon, we’ll be hanging out with Remo and Gunther, who you may remember from my last trip to Switzerland. They are two brothers who live in Arbon and are super funny.

So, to all the amazing people I met and had the opporunity to talk with at L’Abri, and who managed to find this blog and read this far down, a heartfelt thank you for taking me in. It was pretty much just what I needed, and I shall return.

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18.0 mm || 1/3200 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Montreux, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland


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70.0 mm || 1/2000 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Montreux, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland


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38.0 mm || 1/2500 || f/4.2 || ISO200 || NIKON D70


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18.0 mm || 1/640 || f/9.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70


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18.0 mm || 1/320 || f/9.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70


  1. I’m also thinking about switching to a system where I only check my email three times a day 

L’Abri, The Shelter

Huemoz, Switzerland
10 July 2009

I’ve made the first real deviation in my Europe plans today. I broke off from Charlie and Andi this morning and took a train (three actually) to the tiny village of Aigle (which is pronounced “Eegg-le). I’m now waiting for a bus to take me up the mountain to Huemoz, which is near Villars. It is there that I will find L’Abri. As in all cases, I have expectations of what L’Abri is. As in most cases, I’m sure my expections will need to be refigured.

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18.0 mm || 1/200 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Aigle, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland

I think this break will do me good. I can feel my mind slowly going bonkers. I’ve been exposed to at least 8 languages, Russian, Estonia, Ukrainian, Turkish, Norsk, Greek, Italian, and now French. I’ve also covered countless kilometers, and spent six nights travling and not in a real bed of any sorts…seven if you count the kitchen floor in Rome.

Despite the fact that Rome and Florence were a bit slower than Greece, I need to find some direction. Not only for my trip, but for me. And I’m hoping that L’Abri will help point me in the right direction.

I have no real plans to journal during the trip, which I think is a bit odd since I would suspect most people would use this as a time to journal explicitly.

I’ll see you on the other side.