Chateau-d’Oex: third time’s the charm

Despite my previous two failures on trips to Chateau-d’Oex, I decided to go back this weekend. I know I’m crazy. The reason for this trip was Rallye du Goût, an event hosted by the tourist office where you snowshoe and taste local products (cheese, sausage, wine, honey, more cheese, and syrups) at different stations along the path. The event was a combination of my two favorite things: the outdoors and food.

It started snowing hard yesterday morning, so I was a little worried that the event would be canceled. But, as night fell, the snow stopped. It turned out to be a lovely evening. Guess third time’s the charm!

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State estimation, why I travel, testing my French skills in the hospital, and Carnival with Italian friends

Friday morning I was actively looking for productive ways to procrastinate as I neither felt like working in the clean room nor staring at my computer screen. The EPFL calendar listed a seminar on the navigation of completely autonomous robots, which seemed like an interesting way to spend the morning, so off I went. Broadly, the talk presented how autonomous robots perform path planning to navigate through air, land and underwater. During the talk, state estimation came up. As the talk went on, my mind dawdled on state estimation. It struck me as a great analogy for why I travel. Bear with me as I try to tease this out.

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Skiing in the Swiss Alps and a failed hot-air balloon excursion

Our original plan for this weekend was to attend Chateau-d’Oex’s  37th hot-air balloon festival. The culminating event, Night Glow, was supposed to start at 6:55 PM, so we took a train at 4:20 PM. When we arrived, the town was suspiciously empty. There were barely any visitors wandering the streets. After a short 15 minute walk to the field, our suspicions were confirmed by a piece of A4 paper taped to a chalet: “Night glow canceled due to snow.”

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