Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday in Geneva

Travel Thursday!

I was off to the last major Swiss city that I had yet to visit . . .

Geneva in English  

With 189,000 inhabitants, it is the second biggest Swiss city trailing only Zürich, population of 342,000 souls.

It was only about two hours by train

Geneva's GREAT cantonal flag

Geneva is a good city
if you need to buy a watch

Not real 

And next to Geneva's Tourist Information Office. Oh, the shame of it all!

The Jet d'Eau

On the Rhône River's Rive Gauche (South Bank), this pencil fountain, built in 1951, is shooting a plume of water 140 meters/460 feet into the Swiss sky!

At any moment, a colossal SEVEN TONS of water is in the air propelled at 200 kilometer/125 miles per hour by a 1,360 horsepower engine that rockets 500 liters/113 gallons of water per second into the heavens.

It is indeed "The World's Largest Fountain."

It does not look that big from this side of Lake Geneva.

I better take a closer look by first walking through . . .

Jardin Anglais

The "English Garden" is Geneva's flowery lakeside park on the  that was first landscaped in 1854. 

It has a gazebo and the . . .

Horloge Fleurie

This "Floral Clock" was created in 1955 and is crafted of over 6,500 living flowers. It boasts "The World's Longest Second Hand," at a length of 2.5 meters/8 feet-3 inches, which is currently spearing me in the back. 

A Paris-style fountain
in the Jardin Anglais

Jet d'Eau up close 

Damn! It is big!!!

For perspective, note the man standing at the end of the walk way to the right of the base of the Jet d'Eau.

Fountain Head Art is . . .

Always a favorite of mine 

"Kevin and Jacob,

A typical Genevan outdoor café

It looked inviting but I opted first to go further into Geneva's old town, the Vieille Ville, in search of Geneva's Cathédrale St-Pierre.

Let's go that-a-way 

The path led uphill to any area of the Vieille Ville also known as the "Protestant Rome" because during the Reformation, John Calvin and John Knox, amongst other Protestant leaders, took refuge here.

Genevan roof tops as I continue my climb 

A classic Mini-Cooper

And an excuse to stop, take a picture and catch my breath!

 The Camino de Santiago's Swiss Route

Ah, the memories . . .

The Cathédrale St-Pierre 

Built between 1160 and 1230, it is a hodge-podge of styles. While basically Gothic, it has early Romanesque elements and this Neo-Classical portal that was added in the 18th century that just does not work for me.

It was built as a Catholic Cathedral

In 1536, it became a Protestant church, losing most of its lavish Catholic decorations due to the new teachings of men like Martin Luther, Calvin and Knox.

But it still has a sparkling
new looking organ!

St. Andrew 

The Tomb of Henri de Rohan

Buried in the Cathédrale, he was the head of the Reformed Church in France in the 16th and 17th centuries.

St. Andrew again!

He is BIG in Geneva it appears.

John Calvin's Chair

Calvin called for many radical reforms in the Church and preached several sermons in this Cathédrale reputedly while sitting in this very chair. 

Ornately carved prayer stalls 

Masterpieces of Romanesque and
Gothic stonework 

Dragons in the Cathédrale 

Somebody call St. George!!!

It was a beautiful Cathédrale to be sure, but it was time to move on.

As a Catholic I decided it was best NOT
to tempt John Calvin's wrath any further

Even his beard was trying to get me to go to the Reformation Museum!

A typical Vieille Ville street scene  

Cannons to the right of me . . .

I'm hungry

Next to the Cathédrale St-Pierre 

A paper thin ham and Roquefort cheese crepe with a Coke Zero filled the bill for my delicate stomach.

While dining al fresco, I was reminded that

The view of the Cathédrale St-Pierre
while I ate my crepes 

Fountain Flowers at the
Place du Bourg-de-Four 

This square was the site of Geneva's market place in the Middle Ages. Today is is full of art galleries, antique shops, cafés, up-scale eating places and this fountain.

Door art at a lawyer's office 

Nice Knocker

Stars of David and a Crescent. hmmm . . .

Seen better days . . .

This one too

We need Richard Bellman to the rescue, STAT!!!

I wonder how things are going
in North Las Vegas?

Eerie Tree 

The Rhône River flowing out of Lake Geneva 

Lake Geneva is known as Lac Léman in these parts, the Rhône flows into the Mediterranean Sea via Lyon, France.

This medallion means but one thing,
an expensive restaurant awaits within

The Brunswick Monument

I saw no apparent connection to the wonderful world of bowling here.

It was a GREAT day indeed!!!

This got me to wonder . . .

Who picked Baylor's Heisman Trophy winning QB, Robert Griffin III, in Thursday's First Round of the 2012 NFL Draft? 

Canella and Stracciatella

Delicious, but not as big as Catania gelato cones and much more expensive.

Art at a playground 

An Irish stronghold in Geneva

First they got immunity, now this!

Palais des Nations 

This is the United Nations base in Geneva.

It is the world's largest conference center for international peace and security matters. It was built between 1929 and 1936 to house the new League of Nations efforts after World War I. The League of Nations was founded in 1919 with a goal to maintain peace throughout the globe thus avoiding another World War.

According to the History Channel, it did not work out for them.

Damn that Hitler fellow!

In 1946, because of their failure to stop World War II, the League of Nations was dissolved to make way for the new United Nations.

"The Broken Chair"

Located across the street from this entrance to the U.N. compound, this 12 meter/39 foot tall wooden chair is a powerful peace symbol.

It was sculpted by Swiss artist Daniel Berset and was placed here in 1997 as a symbol against anti-personnel land mines at a time when the world was joining together to agree to sign the simply named Mine Ban Treaty.

The lost leg symbolizes what so many land
mine victims suffer if they are not killed. 

This entrance to the U.N. was not for visitors, that required a bit of a hike but afforded a few nice sights along the way.

Musée l'Ariana

This is the Swiss Museum of Ceramics and Glass.

I passed, I was on a peace keeping mission!

Fish out of water

I finally got to the U.N. Visitors Entrance, presented my passport and was issued the proper credentials for my visit.

My Official United Nations ID Badge

It was time for the 4:00 p.m., hour long United Nations Guided Tour in English.

Small Conference Room

The ceiling is an undersea motif as the Spanish architect who designed the room loves the ocean.

The U.N.'s newest delegate? 

A fun time at an A-Bomb Blast 

Various countries have donated works of art to be permanently displayed at the U.N.'s Geneva home base.

Our Outgoing Tour Guide

A gift from the Chinese government.

The immaculate grounds
of the United Nations 

This is the biggest of the
U.N.'s Conference Rooms 

It seats over 2,000 people comfortably 


This is a leftover from the Palais des Nations' League of Nations days. The League was so disfunctional that they could never even agree to an official name. In America, we always refer to it as the League of Nations, other countries called it the Society of Nations.

Thus, amid their agreement to disagree, the woodworkers carved these "Ns" on a railing with an "L" on one side and an "S" on the other.

Somebody invade Poland please.

Globe Pottery

Mahatma Gandhi

A very appropriate statue just outside of the United Nations compound and across the street from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.

So, I have now visited Basel, Bern, Chur, Geneva, Gimmelwald, Interlaken, the Jungfrau, Lausanne, Lauterbrunnen, Luzern, Meiringen, Montreaux, Mürren, Murten, Spiez and Zürich.

Additionally, of course, I live in the heart and soul of the Bernese Oberland in beautiful Thun!

While living and traveling to 20 different European countries while coaching four seasons of American football has given me a wealth of amazing experiences and friends, I must say that if I had to pick just one place to live as an ex-pat in Europe, it would definitely be Switzerland.

Plus, I would still be close enough to visit friends in Sicily and Sweden. Which reminds me, I have got to make some travel plans.

1 comment:

steveswindle said...

The Jet d'Eau would make a very fine firefighting stream!!!!