Switzerland Day 2: CERN and Bowling

Friday was a long day but it wasn’t really busy, just a lot of walking!

  • 8am Breakfast

We got a ticket to use at Pipo’s, just round the corner from the hostel, which entitled us to a breakfast made up of a croissant, a glass of orange juice and a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate. It didn’t seem like much but I don’t remember feeling hungry until lunchtime anyway, so it was all good.

  • 8.30 am Visit to CERN

We took the number 18 tram from Gare Cornavin to the end of the line at CERN. Our tour was booked for 2pm so we had a look around the microcosm garden, visited the Universe of Particles exhibit in the Globe of Science and Innovation and browsed the gift shop before having lunch in the restaurant at 11.30.

The garden was full of particle accelerators used in past CERN experiments, which were decommissioned to make way for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and current experiments. In front of the Globe stood Gayle Hermick’s statue containing vast amounts of scientific formulae, diagrams and chemical element information, aptly named ‘Wandering the Immeasurable’.

The Universe of Particles was interesting. When you go inside it’s almost a pitch black room, illuminated only by the light coming from the screens of the interactive pods detailing the goings-on at CERN. Every half hour or so there is also a video about the Big Bang and the origins of matter and particles (alternating versions of French and English). I took a video of the English film but unfortunately I can’t upload videos in the free WP version, so I’ve uploaded some stills instead.

The gift shop was smaller than you’d expect but I still managed to spend a total of 39.50 Francs (£27) on a blue CERN hoodie, pen and canvas bag…so I’m glad that the restaurant was the cheapest place we ate at during the trip! A whole Margherita pizza cost 10.50 Francs (£7) and it was a massive pizza, I’d say about 30cm/12in in diameter.

The first part of our tour took us to see the LEIR (Low Energy Ion Ring), previously the Low Energy Antiproton Ring, which pumps lead ions into the LHC.

Due to recent experiments taking place we weren’t allowed to visit the LHC, so we were taken to the antimatter factory instead. Here, they smash together protons and antiprotons and electrons and antielectrons (or positrons) to try and investigate more about the elusive antimatter – what it is, what it does etc.

  • 5pm Head to Balexert Shopping Centre for tea

We hopped back on the number 18 tram to Balexert. We had 2 hours to do some shopping and find something to eat before bowling night so we had a quick wander round the shops, past the central Easter display of chocolate and pink bunny balloons, and triple checked the map to make sure that we headed in the right direction for H&M, despite not seeing any of the neighbouring shops :/

There were only 5 restaurants to choose from for tea (including McDonald’s, which would probably have been the cheapest choice but we wanted a proper sit down meal) so we went with a Mexican restaurant and I tried tacos, guacamole and black bean sauce for the first time. The tacos were good, not so keen on the other stuff, though.

In the Balexert Shopping Centre
In the Balexert Shopping Centre
  • 7pm Bowling

I think this was the part of the trip that we looked forward to most, after CERN of course! Somehow my team was the only one allowed to have the barriers up on the lane (I’m not complaining, I would have ended up with consecutive gutter balls otherwise).

Bowling

All in all, a very eventful day!

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