Friday 30th July
the bomb shelter
Carole met me at the airport and whisked me off to her house in Genthod,
a suburb north of Geneva. I hadn't seen her for something approaching
a decade, but she hardly seemed to have changed at all! I'd met her
husband Nathaniel before, but not her children or mother-in-law (who
would be looking after the kids while we all went hiking).
Staying in their basement room, I got to see an example of the bomb
shelters that were mandatory in Swiss houses until recently. It's
used for long-term storage.
Saturday 31st July
Nathaniel and Doreen were off to the market (in France). I took the train
into Geneva, walked down to the Rhone and across one of the bridges, and
wandered around the old town. This turned into something of a religious
tour, since I saw the synagogue, the Reformation Monument, the Russian
Orthodox church, the Museum of the Reformation, and the Cathedral.
More secular sites included the art/history museum and the Maison Tavel
(both of these were free, which I was to find wasn't normal for Swiss
museums). As well as examples of furniture and artifacts from everyday
life, the latter has on the top floor a model of Geneva in 1850 —
when it was a full-on artillery fortress a la
Vauban — and
downstairs a (temporary) exhibition of photographs showing how Geneva
changed since then.
After that I wandered through the shopping areas and along the waterfront,
where some kind of festival was on, before heading back to the train
station to meet Mark, who had come down from Basel to join us.
Geneva seemed very French to me. And the museums had only French, sometimes
English, and no German.
There were a lot of Africans around,
presumably originally from French-speaking North or West Africa.
Next: the Tour du Mont Blanc