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Posts Tagged ‘Geneva’

 

“If you want to find the trail, if you want to find yourself, you must explore your dreams alone. You must grow at a slow pace in a dark cocoon of loneliness so you can fly like wind, like wings, when you awaken.”
Francesca Lia Block, Dangerous Angels

 

After our leisurely start to the day “P” and I set off in glorious sunshine, with the top down and Sasha, the pooch ensconced in the back. The air was so crisp, the wind brisk, despite the breeze from our travel I didn’t feel in the least cold. It was invigorating and brought back memories of England.

I had absolutely no idea where we were or where we were going, apart from the promise that I would be dropped off at my hotel in Fribourg.  One stretch of our journey took us along a winding mountain road. There was a stream on my left, and I could hear the water rushing along over the sound of the wind in my hair. On my right was the mountain.

 

Suddenly, I saw the water rushing down the mountain, pure snowmelt, cascading over the ground towards the stream on my left. We pulled over to the side of the narrow road, just before a quaint wooden bridge where the water ran underneath. The roar of the water as it finally went under the bridge and joined the stream was louder than I expected. I could imagine the side of the mountain suddenly slipping down and washing everything away. The smell of ice crystals in the air was amazing.

Further along the snowmelt had made the road impassable and we carefully turned around and backtracked until we found another road to turn onto. Asked about lunch I realised the fresh air had made me hungry and we made our way to a small town in the mountains, Neuchâtel, and had a beautiful cheese fondue, for which the town is famous. Once again, gazing around at the scenery, it all seemed surreal, the backdrop to a movie. Everywhere I looked I saw either verdant green pasture or higher up, the snow-capped mountains. It felt like a peaceful interlude and I was truly grateful that “P” had brought me here.

It was a wonderful gesture, a gesture of true friendship. “P” had asked me what my plans were in Switzerland, especially Fribourg, which isn’t really on the main tourist route. I had made arrangements to meet up with friends there, however, just before I left Athens I received an email to let me know they had a family emergency and had to leave, an absence which they were unable to return from before I had to leave.

We finally arrived in Fribourg at day’s end and as “P” helped me get my bag out of the car he made me promise to return to Geneva early if I was lonely. Checking in to the hotel I found I was feeling tired, another first, which I put down to the bracing air and the car with the top down. After settling in and a light snack, once I curled up in bed to read I fell quickly asleep.

The next ten days past swiftly as I wandered around the ancient town.  Part of Fribourg is French whilst across the Sarine River is the German-speaking area of Switzerland. The Bern Bridge is completely covered and the only wooden bridge left today.

As I walked around I saw amazing examples of architecture from many different eras. The Cathedral of Saint Nicholas seemed to draw me almost every day.  It has been the Cathedral of the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg since 1945.

The narrow cobbled streets and cafes made it a beautiful place to stop for coffee and watch the world roll by. The time seemed drawn out and at the same time condensed as I was swept away in daydreams. Each day I would end my trip with a walk to the Zaehringen Bridge, 165m long over the Sarine River. Gazing at it I was always drawn to the cliff face and the sight of the many buildings clinging precariously to the edge. It seemed to embody the tenacity to survive that you can sometimes see when there seems no logical reason for them to be able to survive the winters for those many hundreds of years.

Only a short train ride from Fribourg was Lausanne, a beautiful city with the towering Notre Dame and Lausanne Cathedral.  It is actually a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. There are so many incredible buildings, historical buildings of note that I had a crick in my neck trying to take it all in. The gardens in the centre of town were full of spring flowers.

I saw “P” and his friend one day in Lausanne. He had called the hotel and asked if I would like to meet there for lunch, and even though I had been there only a few days before it was delightful to go back and have a relaxing lunch in one of the many cafes.  The trains are so quiet and fast in Switzerland that I was back in Fribourg in little time.  A quick trip to see the bridge and I was back at the hotel for the evening.

As agreed I left Fribourg early to stay in Geneva. The more metropolitan air was so different after Fribourg and as I walked around Lake Geneva I spent many hours pondering the differences we feel about certain places as we “travel through life”. I sat and watched the swans in their nest on the bank of Lake Geneva. Their regal bearing has always enchanted me and to see them so close, after such a long time was truly magical. I could see the Alps surrounding Geneva, felt the special quality in the air that only the Alpine air could provide and became lost in daydreams, or were they memories?

I saw ladies in ankle length gowns, men in tailored suits, walking leisurely around the lake. I heard the quietly spoken conversations, which must have been in French and yet I understood what they were saying. I felt as though I was walking along with someone, looking out of someone’s eyes, and seeing these things as though I was there.  I could see the old gaslights being lit along the walkway as the light began to fade.

I finally came back to myself, realising that I was going to be late meeting “P” if I didn’t hurry. It was strange, but hurry did not seem to be a word to use in Switzerland and I knew he wouldn’t mind if I was late.  None the less, this was my last night in Geneva and I had to leave the next morning to begin my journey home.

We once again talked late into the night, but this time I asked to be woken early so that we could make our way to the airport without worrying about traffic problems, which he said were common in peak hours. Just like any big city!

Leaving was smooth and effortless and as the cloudbank hid the land beneath me I caught one last majestic sight of the mountains, as their snow-capped heads rose above even the clouds.

 

Next week – Going Home

 

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

 

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“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” Aldous Huxley

The departure from Israel was much smoother than anything to date. So smooth that I thought I was dreaming, or perhaps it simply didn’t worry me any longer. I was catching a plane to Athens, so perhaps that made the difference?  Whatever the reason, I was ensconced in a delightful business class seat and the trip was relaxing and I zoned out fairly quickly.

On my arrival in Athens I stowed my “extra’ baggage in short-term storage. The guys there were so helpful and it was quickly done. It was certainly easier moving around with just one bag!

Athens was a brief stop. A few days to catch my breath and reacquaint myself with the Acropolis and the sites around town. I was still very much in my introspective state and was aware of the energies as I wandered around. I was still in this wonderful place of accepting whatever happened and the expanded feel of energy as I wandered around was magical.

Even though I had only a small amount of time I felt no urging to run around trying to see everything. It was more important to capture the feel of the places I visited. I saw the Acropolis and Parthenon again, the National Gardens, and Syntagma Square. It was a peaceful bubble amidst the hustle and bustle of the frenetic pace of Athens.

I was leaving Athens for another unknown experience, Geneva and eventually Fribourg, Switzerland.

I was meeting a friend in Geneva, someone I met through an overseas Pen Pal site a few years earlier. Still it was a little nerve-wracking as I asked him how I would pick him out of the crowd. “Just look for the pink shirt” I was advised, and I must admit it didn’t really help with the nervous anticipation. At least I only had one bag to “man handle” and I went through the airport so quickly I wondered what was happening. The Swiss seemed so “laid back” after the high tension of the Middle East.

#InSearchof

The BMW 6 series fast and hot!

As I left the airport proper, not having seen my friend, I saw this very tall person who looked exactly like his photos, dressed in a pink shirt next to his hot car. His two door BMW had the top down and I could see the beautiful face of a Sky Terrier peering over the seat. Oh – heaven and sadness all at once. I realised I must have looked a fright in my very casual but comfortable travel wear. However, that’s how I was and it made me, in my joggers, look like a dwarf next to my six-foot six tailored friend. Suitcase stowed away we set off – WITHOUT SEATBELTS FASTENED!

I was horrified and bemused as he explained that they weren’t used, unless the police were around. (But there was one, at least an ex-police officer, in the car!).   The drive was exhilarating as we sped (yes sped) along the main road through the byways of Geneva to reach his home.  As the car stopped outside this innocuous home, where I had agreed to spend the night, I was feeling a little apprehensive but so relaxed at the brisk temperature and the beautiful sight of spring bulbs in flower.  Memories on England sped through my mind.

 

Through the front door I was given my next breath-taking surprise. The entrance was so deceptive and inside I found a veritable mansion. I felt so under dressed, and in need of a shower and an elegant dress. Well the shower was easy, but the dress not so easy. All my good clothes which I had carried around needlessly were now in storage at the airport!  So I settled for a good change of clothes and some reasonable shoes and made myself ready to find my way through this enormous house to the computer room.

Since he was in the computer business, in a large way I should add, there were computers on computers and at least six working machines. By that I mean all going on different programs. It was an enormous array and he could follow all of them. (Feeling very below par as I struggle to get my computer to do basic things for me.)

I had my next surprise over freshly brewed coffee. I had totally lost track of days and dates and arrived there expecting just another Friday. Yes it was, but it was also Good Friday, and everything was closed. (Great timing Susan). After a few phone calls we were faced with the fact that dinner in Geneva was out of the question. Not a problem I was told, we will go to France for dinner! What?! France! How!  We drive over the border, just bring your passport.

So we set off for France. Now I admit I am geographically challenged and I had no idea where I was going. Of course France and Switzerland share the same border. A short drive in the twilight and we had crossed the border without any fuss. Drat! I had not been able to get my passport stamped in Geneva (not done due to their status) and because we weren’t stopped, no French stamp either.  Oh well. My next surprise was the number of dogs allowed inside the restaurant. It seemed almost every other table had a pooch sitting quietly under the table – or next to it.

 

#InSearchof

image from nickhardcastle.wordpress.com

It was a big day and due to my insomnia issue I was still wide awake when we returned to his home. We watched clips on the hoax or not of the Twin Towers and the plight of Palestinians and the harshness of the Israelis. It was an interesting evening to say the very least. After a final cup of coffee, very late in the morning I actually felt a little sleepy – jet lag I assumed. I was advised to take a glass of water with me as he would be setting all the house alarms and once in the bedroom wing, the door would be alarmed.

I was alarmed – I am a night wanderer and I was being told I would be in one tiny wing of bedrooms and unable to leave. No! I trusted this gentleman and would have to content myself with iPod and book! The slate shower was much colder to enter so late in the morning as it had absorbed the chill from the air, but the hot water was magnificent. The bed was so soft and warm under the doona that I eventually fell asleep.

Unbelievable! I slept in! Not only did I sleep in, it was 9am when I woke up!  I was so embarrassed and hurried to get ready so I could leave my room and see my host, who had volunteered to drive me to Fribourg rather than catch the train.  Yet it was no trouble, I had a leisurely breakfast with more freshly brewed coffee, an entrancing walk through the grounds of his house, entranced by all the spring bulbs growing freely throughout his lawn before we decided to leave and head for Fribourg.

We drove with the top down all the way, but it’s what happened along the way that was so unexpected.

 

Next week…..Fribourg and Home.

 

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

 

If you would like to read more of the story, here ar a few of the earlier parts to the story….

In search of… Part 21

In Search of…Part 20

In Search of…Part 19

 

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