This morning, we had a leisurely breakfast and went for a walk along the lakeside, out onto a cement jetty where there was area for summer swimming etc. We had morning tea in a quaint little Tea Room, where there were different kinds of chairs – normal dining type chairs, lounge chairs etc – with people sitting chatting or reading the paper and some just watching the world go past.
At 1.30, our Geneva Tour began on a nice big comfortable coach bus. The guide gave each piece of information three times: English, French and Spanish. We were the only English speaking people on the bus, one French speaking person and the rest were Spanish.
The first part of the tour took us through the areas occupied by various agencies aligned with the United Nations and associated organisations. We drove past buildings occupied by International Telecommunications Union; World Council of Churches, with 350 Christian Church members; World Health Organisation; Palace of Nations, where they had flags from 193 countries of the United Nations; International Committee of the Red Cross; World Trade Organisation, to name just a few. All of these buildings are modern high-rise and we can only wonder how many people are employed by the UN and its agencies.
We also saw a statue of Ghandi and in interesting “sculpture” of a huge wooden chair with part of one of the legs missing, which symbolises the campaign against the use of land mines – very dramatic.
From there, we drove along the lake and we found out some interesting facts about the water fountain in the lake – the Jet d’eau – it shoots water 140 metres high at 200 kilometres per hour, which is an impressive 500 litres per second.
Then we were taken to the Old Town, which was built on a hill and originally surrounded by walls, overlooking the lake and the River Rhone, which the lake runs into and the river runs to the Mediterranean Sea.
We were taken on a walking tour, where we saw the Geneva Flag, which is made up of two parts, one symbolising the Roman Empire depicting the Eagle and the other is a key which symbolises the original ruler, who was a Bishop.
We walked to St Peter’s Cathedral, which is actually a Protestant Church – inside, there were several stained glass windows and an interesting wood-carved pulpit.
We continued through cobble-stoned streets to the Old Castle, with its old cannons and murals etc. We also saw the oldest house still standing in Geneva from the 14th Century.
In the grounds of the University of Geneva, just outside the Old Walled city, stands the Reformation Wall. It is 100m long and the central section is 5 metres high. Various figures have been carved into the wall by the same sculptor that made the Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro. In the middle section of the wall are the four most important figures to Geneva: William Farrel, John Calvin, Theodore Beza and John Knox.
On our way back to meet the bus, we came across an ice skating rink, where a lady was teaching a little girl how to skate by using a wooden frame that the little girl held onto for support, while the lady pushed them both around the rink – a very clever contraption!! – see photos in gallery.
We also saw a statue of General Dufour on a horse – one of his many claims to fame was that he was one of the founders of what was to become the International Red Cross.
When the bus dropped us back at the Bus station, the sun had come out and so we decided to go back to the lake to see if we could get any better photos. We did get one of the fountain going straight up in the air, unlike yesterday when it was being blown by the wind and not long after Richard took the photo yesterday, they turned off.
Unfortunately, while it was sunny, it was also quite foggy/misty so we decided to come back to the hotel and start our blog.
We had dinner in a restaurant not far from the hotel and came back to the hotel to plan tomorrow’s activities.