We hitched a ride this
morning into Geneva's airport with Donald, who was the librarian at the
institute and was heading back to England with his wife Margaret in a
few days. This is the interior of their MG, with the steering
wheel on the right-hand side. It's correct for Britain, but the fellow
in the picture had to hand over the parking billet, since the Swiss booths are
on the opposite (United States) side.
As you can tell from the
windshield above, the weather was being uncooperative.
Nevertheless, we went into the city from the airport, visited the
tourism center. We learned that there was a little open air train that went around
to the old part of the city, and despite the dripping, we took it to get
The arsenal's canon was cast in 1683.
Translation: Here stood the cloister of the cathedral in which the
citizens of Geneva unanimously adopted the Reformation on May 21, 1536.
actual house (to which the plaque is affixed) dates from 1721.
(Nice of them to gloss over the fact that they kicked Calvin out for a
while before they realized what they had done and invited him back!)
We passed the historical
places we came to Geneva to inspect: the auditory where Calvin preached,
St. Peter's cathedral, the Reformation museum, the library on the
university campus, and opposite that, the wall of reformers, on which
were perched bas-reliefs of Genevans Calvin, Farel, de Beza, and Knox,
flanked by other European reformers including Zwingli and Luther.
We found a pub in which
to have some late lunch while the outside sogginess continued.
Yes, the photo's a joke, but the Ovomaltine (we call it Ovaltine) was
comforting on a cold and rainy day.
Since returning to the old town would require more walking in the rain
than I was willing to do, we decided to tour the vicinity of the train
station to window shop. There were many watches, Swiss army
knives, and lots of jewelry along the route. We stopped in at a
jeweler's store where I spied a fob watch whose front and back covers
opened to reveal the works inside. That watch is now in James'
pocket on Sundays. There was also an interesting mechanical lady's watch with a view of its innards which now sits on my wrist. The
shopkeeper gave us a langniappe of a couple of baseball caps with our
purchase, too, which I thought was exceedingly kind of him.
Breakfast and dinner
during our stay were on the house at Château Bossey, so in due course we
started back. The first leg of the journey involved the train from
Geneva to Coppet, a picture of which appears above. From Coppet we took a local bus to Célingy,
where this horse and mule shared a corral, and
from Célingy we hoofed it the remaining two miles or so to our quarters.
This particular wet evening we were greeted on our way from Célingy by a
long line of wedding revelers cramming the road to the château, blowing
their horns and making as merry as is possible from behind their
steering wheels. As there was only one road into the campus, we
could not but join the rejoicing. However, not wanting to intrude
upon the party, we took the long way around the buildings to our room.
Donald, who drove us in
to the airport this morning, was again the unofficial greeter at dinner
as he was at breakfast. Most of the people who were present at the
Institute, either just passing through like James and me, or there to
study for any length of time, gathered around four tables grouped
together and ate dinner. Many were from Africa or Europe, and the
common language was a sort of Franglais, more French than English.
I had an interesting conversation with a Roman Catholic priest from
Ghana who was astounded at the freedom of speech we Americans take
for granted, particularly the freedom to criticize those in power.
There was also a lot of talk of the upcoming United States presidential
election. One of the group mentioned it was good that Mr. Bush's
term was ending, saying "The American people deserve better." It
was interesting to hear what a different point of view these people