Packed and settled up, we set off for the last time to the city of
Geneva, this time in a taxi to avoid injury and undue strain in handling
the luggage. Once in town, our first stop was the locker hall in
the train station, where we stashed the large suitcases, minus what we
intended to mail home. The next stop was the post office, whence
we sent a number of items we didn't want to carry or break on the way
home. When those chores were finished, we had one more small
errand to run: Christopher had asked for cheese to be brought home for
him. We found a little fromagèrie where the shopkeeper was
very kind in selling us just a shaving of an assortment of cheeses for
him to taste. Included in the mix were Appenzeller, Brie, Chèvre,
and Marechal, among others--but no Swiss!
the remainder of our time, we sauntered around the rest of the center
city, visited Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, stopped in at an
antiquarian bookseller where we found a copy of an old Genevan Psalter,
and mused on the fact that "Purgatory Street" was only blocks downhill
from the cathedral. (Yes, really!)
C. H. Dufour, hero of Geneva, with an
The piazza upstairs from the train
This is the hill one climbs to get to "old
This plaque honors a housewife who, in
1632, helped defend Geneva by pouring hot soup over the heads of her
attackers. Her children went hungry that evening, but at least
they were free.
This statute commemorates Geneva's joining the Swiss federation.
It stands opposite the flower clock and the English Garden near the
View of the lake from
Terrasse Agrippa d'Aubigné near St. Peter's cathedral.
So this is why cheese
Nave of Holy Trinity Anglican church
8 Rue Guillame Farel: home of the Company of Preachers. (With a
doff of the hat to Handel and his chorus in Messiah)
Having taken our last look around and gotten a bite of lunch, it was
time to scoot toward the train station, collect our belongings, and go
through customs. While we were emptying the lockers that held our
possessions, we were interrupted by a person who appeared to be less
than functionally intelligent, asking for help several times as to how
to work the lockers and how much it would cost to rent one. Our
attention thus diverted, his confederate made off with one of our bags:
the one containing my laptop computer and all the backup drives I had
assiduously kept, including every file for this web site and all the
notes and preparatory files I had for my sabbatical projects. I
haven't even begun to calculate the loss of personal and archive
So join me in praying for the reclamation of these
two souls who find it necessary to steal for a living, and if you happen
to be in Geneva, keep a lookout for a seven year old blue Toshiba
Satellite laptop with a U. S. three prong plug and a power transformer
that is frayed and held together with electrical tape. There is a
STUFFBAK reward label just below the screen. I don't really care
if I get the machine back, I just want the information on it; same with
the seven thumb drives, strung together on a faux gold chain. They
contain literally years of unique work, precious to me, but worthless to
most others. Whatever other items were in the sack are relatively
Well, after that blow, "moments from a clean getaway", as James said, I
had no heart to do anything but wait for customs to open, get on the
train, and endure the hours it would take to finish the journey.
So that is what we did.
The train that would whisk us away from Switzerland. Our seats
were in the very last car, not even visible in this scene.
late evening arrival in Roissy-en-France was unremarkable, except that
the first driver we hired at the Gare de Lyon did not know how to
get "from here to there", and so asked a colleague to take us instead.
After the barbarity of the locker hall incident, I was heartened by his
compassion and gave him a generous tip to show some fellow-feeling and