Aug
2
2009

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Geneva

by Tyler

We decided early in the afternoon that we would go to Geneva, thinking it would be nice to do something productive during our rest day. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I suggested this; we definitely don't have any trouble in the "being productive" department. It was very late in the day (three o'clock on a Sunday), when we left camp and headed in the general direction of the tourist office so we could figure out how to get to Geneva.

While inspecting a time-table at a bus stop, a bus pulled in and Tara asked about getting to Geneva. The driver told us no buses went there but that he could take us to the train station as there would be a train in just a few minutes! When we arrived the train was already in the station and we rushed to figure out how to purchase tickets. As we hurried through the process of using the automated ticket machine, not sure if we were doing it correctly, an attendant came out of the train and said he would process our tickets on-board. Foolishly we hopped on, and before we knew it we'd blown our budget completely. Two round-trip tickets cost us 50 CHF!

We were disappointed but it wasn't the end of the world; we would still get to explore Geneva. When our train pulled into the station, we began to regret our poor planning once again. Huge menacing clouds loomed overhead and we had just managed to snap a few pictures of Lake Geneva's impressive fountain before the skies opened up.

Lake Geneva Fountain Lake Geneva

It was pouring down rain and we hadn't thought to bring our rain coats, jackets, or hoodies! Under the quasi-shelter of a sycamore tree, we tried to decide what to do. I was very frustrated and said that it was pointless to stay, feeling like we should just take the train back to Rolle. I argued dejectedly that it was Sunday, everything was closed, and it was now 4:00—any museums would likely be closed, assuming we could even find them. Tara smiled, told me to stop being a grump and made a run for a nearby church in hopes of better shelter.

Sure enough, the door was unlocked, and I quickly joined Tara in the safety and warmth of the chapel. The stained glass windows were beautiful and we sat together for awhile in silence and peace listening to the rain outside. After a few minutes I went off to investigate the massive pipe organ that took up an entire side of the sanctuary. With a bit of searching around in the semi-dark, I found the key to the gate and let myself in, walking up the stairs to the cozy nook where the keyboard was housed. I was very tempted but I didn't play it.

Geneva Chapel Organ

With slightly improved spirits and a lot less rain coming down, we left the church and went to find the tourist office for information about museums. The Art and History museum was still open and it was FREE, so we walked across the lake on one of the many bridges and wandered around the streets until we found it. We had an hour or so before they closed the exhibits, and I felt a little better about our visit as we wandered around looking at old musical instruments, byzantine chandeliers, and a variety of ancient swords that seemed impossibly huge.

As we slowly dragged our feet around the museum and then around the city itself, we realized we were completely exhausted. Maybe it really is okay if we do nothing but rest on our rest days! On our way to the train station we were both starving so we spent nearly an hour looking for an affordable meal before we dejectedly settled on McDonalds, the only place where we could get a decent portion of food for less than 20 CHF. We both shook our heads at the absurdity of our visit while we wolfed down a few hamburgers.

Geneva

When we arrived back at camp we collapsed into our tent and settled in for an evening of writing and reading. Tara worked up enough energy to cook a delicious pot pie dinner (just the filling, no crust) and I managed enough ooomph to go do the dishes before we both fell fast asleep.


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