Friday, July 6, 2007







SWISS ROLL DAY 4
20-06-07

Downhill on a very warm day (30 plus), all the way along the shore of Lake Geneva to the city itself, which is at the far (western) end. But first a stop at Nyon to see a pretty (small) park, the centrepiece of which is the sparse remains of a Roman temple (left).

Then follows a tour of Geneva’s international area, which contains offices of the UN (including UNICEF, UNHCR), the World Health Organisation, the World Labour Organisation and so on. All are convenient to the airport and most have beautiful parks and gardens. Not to mention perks – one shop invited diplomats in for duty free shopping.

Next halt was the park, which contains the Wall of the Reformation (above) where the “heroes” of the movement are honoured. Calvin is the main man here – he made the making of money okay but had a problem with the spending to if.

The movement, like the Taliban, tried to ban music and wine but succeeded in neither quest and, ironically, Cromwell’s statue in the wall is the unwitting centre point in a stage being set up for a concert this evening.

Neither Calvin nor Cromwell would have approved and neither would have blessed the statue in Montreux of Freddie Mercury.

But before we get to the Queen singer, we had other things to do on the lakeside at Geneva, such as see the jet d’eau (above) and the floral clock (the latter more or less replicated in Montreux).

The tour director takes most of the group on a riverside walk and to lunch in the self-service of a local supermarket but we two walk along the southern shore until level with the impressive 500-foot fountain. Time then for lunch. We sit down at a modest establishment on the lakeshore where two chicken and mozzarella paninis (toasted), along with two bottles of apple juice, cost us 25 SFR.

Back to the bus and we drive to Lausanne where we board a boat and enjoy a beer and a relaxing hour or so talking, mainly to a New Zealand couple (C and G).

Freddie Mercury comes up in the conversation as we land at Montreux and SM tells us where the statue is. We stride down to it while the others are boarding the bus – and on the way spot the Smoke on the Water plaque -, take the photos and return to the coach.

A thundershower accompanies us on the short trip up to Villars but it is dry again by the time we reach the hotel where we have our included evening meal. Bookings and payment made for optional tours (we take them all as we may not be this way again), all followed by a drink in the bar and a conversation with our multi-lingual driver, who reveals that he regularly visits Ireland on cycling trips.