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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Geneva

We had a 2-hour train trip from Lyon to Geneva.  It's still amazing that even though you're crossing borders there are no customs, security or passport checks.  In fact, they didn't even check our train tickets - perhaps we were asleep when that happened - or have we been watching too much James Bond ?!?!?

This is the station at Lyon - not as flash as we were expecting for an "international" departure.





We've arrived safely in Geneva - not really knowing what to expect from this city.  First appearances indicate that whilst it's a nice place, it doesn't appear all that special - until you get into it.  The day we arrived was fine but cool.  The next day (Wednesday) was wet and pretty miserable - but that turned out to be a good thing because we decided to take a tour of the city on one of their tourist buses, which included a tourist train trip through the old city as well - you know those little dinky trains that travel through the cities.  The sort you promise yourself you'll never be seen dead on!  Well, it was one of those trains -- but no photos 'cos we wouldn't want to be seen on it !!  

So, many of the following photos were taken from either the tourist bus, or the dinky tourist train - that's our excuse for the poor quality.

                           


The photo doesn't do justice to what we saw.  We could easily see a snow-covered mountain in the background  --  we've highlighted it for you!  

The 'fountain' you can see is called the "Jet d'Eau" (jet of water).  Some interesting facts for you:
1. the water velocity at the spout is 200 km/hr
2. the mass of the water in the air at any one time is 8 tonnes
3. the water shoots 140 metres into the air
4. two massive pumps run the Jet d'Eau.
We hope you're impressed.  

                           


The photo shows part of the ancient wall that surrounded the old town.  The guy on the horse was responsible for starting the Red Cross organisation.  It was the first international association inaugurated in Geneva  --  since then, many other international organisations have made Geneva their home. 

                          


A rather magnificent memorial to a German prince who lived his last 30 years in Geneva and donated all his wealth to the city. 




Bollywood comes to town!  We stumbled across rehearsals for an up-coming movie.  For some reason or other, they love shooting in Geneva.





This is one of the longest memorial walls you'll ever see.  It features, in the centre, four of the main religious reformers (including Knox and Calvin).




Because we wanted to maintain our great interest in world affairs, we took a guided tour of the United Nations buildings and park.  (Actually, it was because it was still raining!!!)

We were invited to give a presentation for the General Assembly, but we politely declined.



The flags outside an entrance to the United Nations buildings.  
Competition 73:  spot the Australian flag!




Art works throughout the building are donated by different countries.  This one from China has been likened to the Mona Lisa in the sense that the pathway follows you no matter where you walk (just as Mona Lisa's eyes follow you).






There are always demonstrations around the United Nations complex.  This demo has been running since the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.



Here's another ...



This chair was in the Australian news.  The lost leg symbolises the limbs lost when people stand on land mines.  


Mathatma Ghandi

After a long, long day of more walking, we treated ourselves ....












Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Lyon

LYON  --  the gastronomic centre of France!  This common claim set up great expectations.  We really weren't there long enough to verify the claim, but we did our best to eat in as many places as we could.

We were, however, more impressed with the meals provided by Katrina in Werentzhouse and Yvonne in La Charmée.

These photos show you some of the delights we found in Lyon:



a terrine or paté


This one was a little light on the Chantilly cream,
however, Daryl managed.


And of course we needed to follow custom
and have espresso and macarons ...
(Damn it  --  Daryl ate 1 1/2 macarons
before I could click on the camera.)




The square just near our wonderful accommodation in Thérese and Olivier's B&B ...
(Another little competition for you:  Spot the Aussie flag if you can.)



Where are we again?
   -  Daryl using his boy scout skills again (a necessity, since he has little sense of direction).



... but he does have fine photographic skills if the subject matter is right.



Lyon has both the old and the new ...



The Gendarmerie?



The Rhône River



The Square at the end of the street where we stayed.



Those Romans were everywhere!  (Another amphitheatre similar to those found all across Europe.)



Daryl fell down a drain, but I managed to pull him back out.



This might not be a Monet, however the building was wrapped in a material that had been painted to show life in a previous time.



This is art of a different nature.  Despite the fact that we don't approve of most graffiti, this sample was very clever.



We didn't have nearly enough time in Lyon, but we enjoyed every minute there.  Wouldn't hesitate to go back.

Next stop  --  Geneva (from where we will fly home).


Monday, 24 September 2012

Back to France - La Charmée, Chalon

After leaving Switzerland and driving back into France, we headed for the charming little village where Stéphane's parents live  -  La Charmée (appropriately named).  We arrived just in time for lunch  --  now there's a surprise!

The sun room where we ate all our meals  --  it's a real treat, double glazed for comfort.




Yvonne pointing out how to prepare cherries picked from their own trees - but what's Daryl laughing at?  He believes he knows a better way - for $2.60 Mr Morello will give you a jar full !!!



Another of Yvonne's delights - this is a magnificent cheese tart, using Gruyere - served hot and with a simple green salad - delicious.



Stéphane's grandmother joined us for lunch. 
When we were introduced to her, she said, "Enchanté."  It was the first time we had heard that response  --  it seems it's no longer used by the younger generations.  


This was NOT one of the courses.

                            


However, after 5 courses (yes, 5!) we set off for a walk around the village.




The inside of the church was plain and simple  --  a relief after all the opulence displayed in the main cathedrals we'd seen.  This church was just as old (constructed in the 1400s).




This 'lavage' (communal washing facility) was a small step up from bashing clothes on rocks in a river, but not much.  Daryl demonstrates how to do it.




This was a later version of a lavage in the centre of the village  --  but of course, they've all had washing machines for a long time!





* * *

La Charmée is only 20 minutes from Chalon-sur-Saône, a fairly big town.  We went to the weekend market -- a great place to see and sample the local goods.  




                                                             Stéphane, Katrina, Daryl



Daryl drooling ....



Bonjour from David and Daryl to Usha (our French teacher back in Australia).
Merci Usha, pour nous aider à survivre!  Nous aimons la langue française, mais nous tuer!
(PS  The photo shows us standing in front of the college Usha attended when she lived in France.)



The sad moment arrived when we had to get the train from Chalon down to Lyon.  There to wave good-bye were:

                                                  Jean-René, Stéphane, Katrina, Yvonne
                                                                  Enzo,  Devan