Listening to real English conversations is a great way to improve your English language learning. Today I’m going to tell you about my recent holiday, and while you listen, you will learn some everyday English vocabulary, and practice your grammar. So start listening now and find out what I got up to and improve your English by listening.
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This natural, English conversation is an opportunity for you to do some English language listening, and improve your English listening skills. If you’re new to English, this is a great opportunity for you to learn how to speak in everyday English and get used to hearing native speakers using different words and expressions.
Listening is a great way to see what parts of the English language you’ve learned and practice understanding what you don’t know. In today’s English lesson, the conversation is a more natural, relaxed way of talking (I won’t be using academic vocabulary here, just talking in everyday English). Listening to this type of English conversation helps you with everyday English, as any native English speaker might use it in the UK.
Conversation Relaxed Academic Fortification Occupants Vineyards Adorned Honesty
Hi there. Today I'm going to give you a travelogue of my holiday in Switzerland. I went to Switzerland with old school friends and we stayed there four days in my friend's flat. So while I'm telling you about my holiday, it's opportunity for you to do some English language listening, learn some good vocabulary, practise your grammar.
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Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
So I've just come back from four days in Switzerland with three of my oldest school friends. An amusing correction I heard while I was in France this time, someone said 'I'm not your oldest school friend. I'm the friend you've known the longest.' That's a subtle difference in English. Anyway, in my school friendship group, there are five of us and one unfortunately was unable to come with us because she just had an operation. But three of us visited my friend who lives near Lausanne in Switzerland, on Lake Geneva.
We spent the whole of our school days together from 11 years old to 18 years old. So we know each other well and our families know each other, but we've not had a holiday together since we were girls of about 16 - it was nice to get together.
So we stayed in the apartment of our friend who is currently working in Switzerland and her apartment is on the shore of Lake Geneva or more correctly it's up on the hillside above Lake Geneva - so from her balcony, we had a fantastic view. One of the first things that I learned was that we call it 'Lake Geneva', but to the French-speaking people who live in Geneva, it's Lake Léman or Le Léman. So it has a completely different name.
And if you are a German living in Switzerland, or if you're a German speaker in Switzerland, it's 'Genfersee', that's G E N F E R S E E. So 'Lac Léman' or 'Genfersee'.
So on the first evening, we went down to the little town of Lutry, which is right on the shore of 'Lac Léman' or Lake Geneva. And we listened to some live music. So there was a band there doing 'covers'. That means they were doing their own version of famous songs. And it was quite a lot of rock music, shall we say.
So Dire Straits, Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Deep Purple etc, stuff that we know! Beer, wine, and cider were on offer. And it felt very much like the sort of thing that we might have done and enjoyed as teenagers - so that was appropriate! We did have some crêpes at a stand by the water and they were very good.
And then we went back to the apartment and had some gin and tonic, which was very nice. The next day we visited Château Chillon, that's C H I L L O N. And apparently this is the most visited monument or tourist site in Switzerland. Château Chillon is a castle right on the shore of Lake Geneva. And it's very beautiful.
And there has been a fortification, a fortified building on this site since Roman times, so over a thousand years. Different parts of Château Chillon or Castle Chillon date from different times. I'm used to visiting historic buildings in the UK, so I know something of the history. I usually can recognize at least the monarch that they're talking about, the king or queen. But this Swiss history, I didn't know a lot about. The castle was owned at various times by the house of Savoy, then by the Bernese and then by the Vaudois. So it swapped between French-speaking occupants, German-speaking occupants, and back to French-speaking occupants again. So, as I say, it's not part of history I know very well, but the history of the region is complicated and that's reflected in the languages spoken in Switzerland.
I was aware that French is spoken, German is spoken and Italian, but I didn't know about Romansh, that's R O M A N S H. That's the fourth language that's spoken in Switzerland. You learn something new every day!
After a late lunch at the flat after Château Chillon, we did a walk through some of the vineyards that are on the south side of Lake Geneva. It's absolutely beautiful round there. And Lavaux, that's L A V A U X - that's famous for its vineyards. And we were able to see black grapes, red grapes, white grapes - all sorts of varieties were growing in those vineyards. And it really is some breathtaking scenery there.
Again, we had a lovely evening on the terrace, on my friend's balcony, overlooking Lake Geneva, after our vineyard walk. And we enjoyed some cooking and some more gin, gin, and tonic - quite a bit of gin and tonic this trip!
On the next day we went to visit the town of Montreux, so that's M O N T R E U X. It's a very pretty town and the buildings are sort of spread up the hillside on the side of the lake. So everyone has a beautiful lake view and there is the most wonderful promenade - that's P R O M E N A D E. And a 'promenade' is somewhere where you walk for pleasure.
So often - the same in the UK - there's a promenade in a seaside town where you go to walk to take in the view. And this promenade - well, I salute the gardeners of Montreux, the gardening, the planting alongside the walk was absolutely beautiful. It didn't look 'municipal'. It didn't look like 'a public planting'. It looked like private garden planting. I like that! Montreux is famous for its jazz festival and in the gardens by the lake in Montreux are some statues of famous people who have played at the jazz festival. So there was Aretha Franklin there, Ray Davies, also Carlos Santana, my personal favourite. And there is also a statue of Freddie Mercury, our own dear Freddie on the front at Montreux - a shrine also to Queen fans, I think. It's adorned with flowers and ribbons and all sorts of things that people have left there, in tribute to Freddie Mercury, who I'm sure you've heard of.
I also learned that the famous song, 'Smoke on the Water', Deep Purple was written after an event at the Montreux festival. Apparently a Frank Zappa fan managed to set the Montreux Casino on fire with a flare. So I'm pretty sure there would've been 'smoke on the water' on that occasion. And 'Smoke on the Water' is the song that people tend to learn when they are playing bass guitar. You may well know it.
We also visited a town called Vevey, which is again by the side of Lake Geneva. And it's famous for its 'fourchette', 'La Fourchette à Vevey'. So it has a fork sticking out of the lake, a big one, a fork that you might eat your dinner with. Interesting. And we sat in a café on the shore of the lake at Vevey and had some lovely, but very sour lemonade - at the Café Littéraire.
After this, we had a swim in Lake Geneva at Lutry. It was a bit chilly, but it's also lovely and clean and clear that lots of local people go and take a dip, go and have a swim in the lake after work. What better way to end the day!
On our final day in Switzerland, my friend decided to take us for a mountainous hike. So instead of going towards the lake, we went from her flat, back up the hill and into the countryside around Lutry and Lausanne. It's absolutely beautiful and had some very typical Swiss cottages and it also had cows with bells round their neck, proper Swiss style.
A photograph of cows in the Alps. Listening to real English conversations is the best way to see what you've learned, what English you really know and practice understanding what you don't know.
At the end of our very energetic walk - much more walking than I'm used to and much steeper Hills than I'm used to - we found a tower and we were able to climb up the tower and once again, have 180 degree views of Lake Geneva or Lac Léman. We took lots of photographs.
We also found a little café which was closed. However, it had what we call an 'honesty box'. So basically the café was closed, but the fridges were still open and you could help yourself to ice cream and cold drinks. And there was a little box where you left the money for the ice cream and the drinks.
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My friend told me it's very low crime rate in Switzerland and people are very honest. So an 'honesty box' is not unusual. You do sometimes see them in the UK, as well. I suspect it's easier in a nice, well-off country like Switzerland for there to be lots of honesty and trust around. But still nice to know, nevertheless. A nice touch!
Anyway, I hope you found that interesting. I've shared with you some of the sites and possibly the sounds of Lake Geneva and that area, that French-speaking area of Switzerland. And you can use this podcast to practise your understanding of English.
There's some nice vocabulary in here. There may well be some words you don't know. So listen a number of times until you understand it. And when you've understood, listen another time, so that you can experience what it's like to be comfortable in your understanding of English, an important experience for you to have!
Enough for now, have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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