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Off to France, Switzerland and the UK with Granddaughter, July 2022

Georgia & Zig

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Continued from France Trip Reports.

Geneva, Switzerland - Sunday, July 17 - 20​

Sunday, July 17

Georgia and I went to Mass at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in the neighborhood. It had a beautiful mixture of different styles of stained glass. Some reminded me of Georg Braque, others were monumental saints in a naïve Mexican style reminiscent of windows we saw in the SW United States. The crucifix was also very interesting: mounted in a circular frame and resting on a table behind the altar, the corpus had fantastically elongated arms, as though he was embracing all humanity. And under the altar was a gilded bronze “egg” with a smaller version of the same corpus bursting out of it—undoubtedly an image of the resurrection.

A Chapelle St Victor was located behind the altar with a lovely woven tapestry made out of course wool yarn and metal pieces affixed to a rough burlap undercoat. The description said that the artist, Alice Basset, took 18 months to make it. She also designed the monumental Mexican style saints’ windows. Each window was an homage to the 7 medieval sanctuaries in the immediate environment that were destroyed during the Reformation.

During the service a diverse mostly prosperous congregation filled the church. The priest was very dynamic and attended by two east-Asian girls and a boy, (their brother?) bell-ringer. All in all it was a lovely serene service though I can’t help but sense some lingering animosity between Catholics and their neighbors in this most protestant of countries.

After church we suited up and headed for the beach—a stone beach. Round stones, thank goodness, but still stones from the size of marbles up to the size of baseballs. The “baby” beach had sand but we grownups had to suck it up. So Sara and I wore our sandals on the beach and in the water. We just had to shake out little pebbles from time to time. Lake Geneva is big. Not as big as the Great Lakes but big. Large enough to have small waves at least. We had to find a place under some trees to lay out the towels where Georgia could rest out of the hot direct sun, but the water was deliciously cold. Sara and I would cool off in the water then hurry back out to a concrete retaining wall to sit in the sun and warm up, then back in the water to cool off again. There were lots of people there all trying to cope with 95+ temperatures in a city with no air conditioning.


The water was lovely greens and blues and with the swans paddling around it made for a calm respite from the frenetic traffic in the city. Then we took a long meandering walk around the Parc de la Grange. It too was full of people just enjoying their Sunday with picnics and walks and music. As it got closer to those long, long European twilights there were gorgeous shadows stretching across the green lawns by the enormous trees that Sara just had to climb. And there were statues—mostly of lions under the trees.



And there was a bronze dancer, elongated like a Giacometti, but not crude— rather, polished and smooth.


And so back to the room at dark and to bed where we tried to open windows in just the right configuration to coax a nonexistent breeze in. Remind me to never live in a city completely devoid of air-conditioning.

Monday, July 18, to the other side of the Lake

Today we took the train to Montreux on the other end of Lake Geneva. There were well-maintained paved walkways all along the water’s edge with beautiful flowers and Expensive homes. If you had to ask how much they cost you couldn’t afford them.



It was still very hot, and even the ducks were staking out their places in the dappled shade. We didn’t have swimsuits this time so had to content ourselves with dipping our feet in the cooling water and eating the occasional ice-cream. Saw lots of teenagers showing off their diving skills to each other from a round public pier-like structure. It was inevitable that there would be a few belly-flops and raucous laughter.

We walked up the hill to find a small restaurant where we could sit and cool off. But mostly we just tried to stay out of the sun until we could catch the train back to Geneva.

Tuesday, July 19

Today we climbed to the highest part of Geneva to find the Museum of Art and History. Spent the morning oooohing and aaahhing over the likes of VanGogh, Matisse, and Sisley. But they closed the Museum early due to the heat, and we headed off to find a place to eat. Shared various sweet and savory crepes at Chez Marino Creperie under the trees in a small park. It took a long time to be waited on and served but what were we doing anyway?


Wednesday, July 20

Woke up to rain this morning. When it stopped the air was cleaner and cooler. Sara and I went back to Parc Grange again for another day-long leisurely walk. We found ice cream and flowers and enormous redwood trees brought from California who knows when.



And for supper we visited the pizza parlor just down the street from our room. It was delicious, the waiter was terrific, and we were able to eat outside in the cool evening air. The prices were still too high, but what the heck.

to be continued in the UK forum

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