On the agenda for today
was not only getting out of town, but getting out of France and into
Switzerland. Expecting it to be more arduous than border changes
in the United States, we prepared for the worst.
crowded Gare de Lyon with passengers queued up at the ticket counters
awaiting their turns.
The actual train ride to
Geneva was long but quite pleasant, and though we had first class seats,
we found ourselves content to stay where we landed in a second class
car. Moving the bags through the train just seemed like altogether
too much bother.
The comparatively empty
Gare de Genéve upon our arrival.
Surprisingly, we walked
on and off the train, through immigration and out of the station with
nary a glance at any of our papers: not our tickets, our ID or our
passports. It must have been that huge sign on our foreheads that
read "Innocents Abroad" that tipped them off to the lack of threat.
We gathered our wits once
we were out of the station, and found a bank that would dispense Swiss
francs, since we learned that the euros we had gone to the trouble to
procure were not exactly the most welcome legal tender in Geneva.
The ATM spat out 100 franc notes, so I had the opportunity to go into
the bank itself and ask for change. At least I got out of the rain
for a moment or two, and nobody attempted to speak to me in English.
We found ourselves a taxi
who would take us to the Institut Oecumenical where we would be staying,
situated outside of Geneva by about eleven miles. We would be
making the trip into Geneva by train, bus, and foot for the next couple
of days, but the baggage made a big difference in this instance.
While we were loading the
suitcases into the back of the car, I missed seeing one of them, and
mumbled to myself in French "Oh! I am blind!" as I realized what I
had done. The driver overheard me and replied wryly "Hereusement,
madame, vous n'êtes pas. (Happily, madame, you are not.)"
True enough, thank goodness.
She dropped us off at
Château Bossey, a beautiful facility set in the Swiss countryside.
It is surrounded in the front by forest and a bit of farmland, and in
the back by well kept gardens, including this one with a fountain at its
The view from our room
would have looked different if we had arrived a day later and not had a
choice; as it was, we were given a choice between second floor and third
floor accommodations. Had we taken the third floor, the windows
would not have had this vista of Lake Geneva.