Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 10:55 PM UTC
The country that brought you Swiss cheese (big hint there!) chocolate, gold and banking at it's most secret, skiing in St. Moritz, the Swatch wrist watch, and the Red Cross now offers you modellism on an international scale. Euro Miniatures 2002 held in the Fribourg Canton, and the lovely Payerne valley was held in the Payerne community center over the weekend of August 30th to September the 1st.
The trip to Payerne started on the Thursady under the bleakest of all possible outlooks. We were accompanied by our close friends from Precision Models, of Belgium. Driving torrential rains slowed our progress through France (can you see Jack falling asleep here?) Mrs.Jack took over the wheel for the remainder of the 8 hour journey. Eventually, after passing the halfway point, the sun decided to smile down upon us and we had fine sailing weather right up to the border. After having crossed the border, into the land of milk and honey (and moola, c.f. "money") Jack took the wheel back for a pleasant spin through the Swiss countryside. You are immediately struck by the almost frenetic adherence to cleanliness here. They even have clean dirt! Well we arrived at the destination in the evening and were too worn out to unload. After a rather unfortunate cold welcome at the hotel (Typically un Swiss like!) we ate dinner and retired early.

I'm not one to hold grudges but I certainly would NEVER recommend the Hotel de la Gare in Cousset Switzerland (at 65 CHF per night, per person mind you!!) to anyone other than those with severly masochistic natures!

Now then, We unloaded early on the following Friday morning. having quickly established our stands. The crowds were steady if at first reluctant to part with their hard earned cash. Unfortunately due to some stringent application of judging in the event that took place two years earlier, some participants had been discouraged and failed to return.

The organizers, however made up for those short commings and issued extrodinarily beautiful commerative medals this year to the various category winners. The pieces in the competition were of a very high calibre and many noteworthy painters displayed their work such as; Catherine CeasrioThouvinelle, Richard Poisson, and others. Additionally, an excellent flats painting demonstration was offered by Mssr. Serge Franzo´a, expert of the highest degree in the subject.

It was a great relaxed atmosphere, and the Swiss are a charming welcoming people. There was a special exhibit on the Swiss papal Guard, with mannequins dressed in various uniforms and displays of sundry medals and arms, of the guard. Friday evening we manned our stands like a cew in the face of a storm, resting until 9 p.m. We were invited to join some German Swiss from the Bern IPMS sector to have dinner.

Intelligent, witty,multi-ligual and lively, I believe they shall be joining us at Armorama.com, as I sang forth the virtues of membership. The Dinner on the Saturday evening was typically Swiss in nature and consisted of a cold buffet, eat as you like type arrangement, I was soon full to bursting. The Swiss took to dancing the Polka, and convorting about the dance floor in some modification of a minuet a al moderne. I felt as though trapped in a bizzarre time machine of sorts, until I was assured that this was typically European behavior. The night ended early, which was just as well, as Jack was carrying his luggage under his eyebrows. We had, in fact, planned to pack up and leave early on the Sunday, and gave warning to the Hotel owner, early the previous morning.

However after returning Saturday evening, we were informed that such a rupture of our reservation would require us paying half the price for the room! We were thus, held captive and forced to remain in order not to lose our investment. We dined at a local restaurant, where we ate a typical Fondue Bourginon, for only 25 CHF! This was ironic as it had been the finest Swiss meal we'd eaten to date, but served by Turkish propriators! They were exceedingly nice, pleasant and generous offering free after dinner drinks and lively conversation. It was not without mixed emmotions that we parted Switzerland the following morning, happy to be rid of our hotel yet regretting the many friends and acquiantances made in Payerne over the years. Best of Show went to Mme. Catherine Cesario for her splendid flats presentation.

Captain Jack, carried forth the banner of Armorama.com by bringing home a bronze medal in each of the Master figure and vehicle categories. It was great fun, and I would recommend the trip to you if you are in the region. A bi-annual event, Euro Miniatures also has their own web site. I shall be posting both the web address as well as the photos this week.

Jack Yodelleeheehoo!
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