Sunday, August 7, 2016

Barefoot in the park

Having had a very social life the past couple of weeks – and looking forward to even more events, I had decided that I would take the day “off” Wednesday the 3rd and simply buy a day pass for the public transportation system and wander Geneva.

There were a few ideas in the back of my head, one of which was to visit the flea market at Plainpalais, but as it turned out it was a good thing that I hadn’t had any as I didn’t even make that.

Leaving home I headed for town then deviated to run an errand near the Old Town. That in turn had me exploring things that I had never seen: some architectural, the rear of the Russian Orthodox church, an “installation” – even led to the discovery of a Henry Moore sculpture that I am sure 99% of Geneva’s inhabitants don’t even know is there.

Architecture in Geneva is so varied

Architecture in Geneva is so varied

Architecture in Geneva is so varied
François Lefort, Admiral and General under Peter the Great
How did his statue get up on the bluff behind the Russian Orthodox church ?

The Russian Orthodox church under scafholding

One of the seven golden cupolas down for repairs

An "Installation", of 7 TV screens - nothing currently playing though

The Henry Moore sculpture

John Calvin's school had been recently renovated: still an operating high school

Entrance to the State's Courthouse - on the right was the old prison

The fountain at the Bourg du Four - a gathering place for many

Entrance to the Courthouse

It was close to noon when I arrived at the Bourg du Four – the ancient center of Old Town -there where bread was baked, where the market took place back in medieval times and where the inhabitants gathered to talk. I remembered that the Lutheran Church had noon concerts so wandered down to see what the day’s offering was: oh yeah Bach, Beethoven among others played by the FOG trio (although it is simply the letters of their names, they re-arranged them on purpose to spell FOG as – as the moderator said – they are often not quite clear as to where they are going) and only a half-hour to wait. 

The Lutheran Church - built to look simply like a Manor House in order to not detract from the cathedral, it was the first "foreign" church to be allowed in Geneva after the Reformation

What better place to do so than at the coffee shop that replaced Mortimor’s (for the year that I worked with the first pastor before he returned to the USA, he would often suggest that we go get coffee and take a break as we worked flat out for five hours the days that I was there). How the inside has changed, but the pastry and water were fine.  Enjoyed the concert then headed off to have lunch somewhere other than the usual places.

Building still the same

Inside entirely different!

The FOG trio: Christine Guignard, Olivier Fleury & Virginie Olsson

This meant walking down the hill to a bus stop – the one where I was planning on catching one to another of my recently discovered places. I had determined to take either the 25 (Botanical Gardens) or 9 (Délices) whichever showed up first, but when two had gone by without either being them, I changed the plan to simply the third bus – fate had it being one that went to the neighborhood where my older son had lived for several years – and a park that he had just recently shown me.  Starving and knew there was no restaurant so grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of water at the local Coop then went and laid out my newly purchased “Swiss” blanket in a small park tucked away from the city.  I did discover that perhaps my bones are no longer made for laying on the hard ground, but took off shoes and socks and stuck it out long enough to admire the sun and wind in the trees above me and eat my sandwich.

Then it was across the foot bridge that parallels the train tracks overlooking one of the most interesting natural sights in Geneva: the junction where the Rhone River coming out of the lake meets the Arve River coming down from the French Alps. The Arve on the right is glacial water and very gray and murky: the Rhone has gone through the lake and is pristine clear – such a difference.

Le Rhône et l'Arve

Had my afternoon coffee in the Bois de la Batie – another area of town known for its animal park and wonderful biking and hiking paths – and much enjoyed the sign in the restroom.

"Toilets: limited to 5 minutes, Reading tolerated"!
Then it was find the bus heading home in time to arrive for the last preparations of a wonderful Syrian evening. We ate well and way too much. I am blessed to have such friends: the conversation around the table was lively, the food greatly appreciated. Indeed a most wonderful birthday celebration. According to information that I received, I share my birthday with 20 million others in this world – but I sure felt special and only one that day.