Sunday, February 15, 2009

All Along the Clocktower

Martello aptly noted that the theme of our first full day in the Francophone portion of La Suisse was “cold and closed.” Granted, it was Sunday—that dreaded, dead day in Switzerland—and for many, it was also the last day of the long holiday. Nevertheless, we hopped an hour-long train to Geneva so we could see the sights. Martello charged Trofie Wife with the walking tour, so with numb toes, we headed to the horloge fleurie, or flower clock, by the lake. Wouldn’t ya know it, there were no flowers in bloom in early January! The clock face still worked, but it didn’t quite pull off the intended effect.

Along the quai we noted the, uh, interesting public art on display. Apparently, a curator determined that it would be “inventive” to charge different artists with putting random stuff in trees all over the city. Perhaps the whole exhibit just went over our heads… . Instead of looking at more chairs suspended from tree branches, we decided to hunt down an elusive clock (those Swiss really do love their timepieces!) that supposedly displayed dancing figurines on the hour. After wandering in circles and nearly giving up, we finally found it in a slightly desolate shopping arcade. The mechanisms possibly were frozen, as the doors opened, but the figurines didn’t parade out as promised. There were lots of bells, though.  

We continued to stroll through the old part of the city, walking by various important sites of the Reformation (Calvinism happened here) and Rousseau’s house. We had a lovely crêpe lunch (savory and sweet) and were delighted to attempt to eavesdrop on an Italian family at the table next to us (yup, we were starting to get “homesick”).

We then took a tram to the Carouge neighborhood, which the guidebook touted as Geneva’s Greenwich Village. The streets and buildings definitely lived up to their reputed cuteness, but, malheureusement, tous les magasins sont fermé (see, I can write much better than I speak! By the way, that meant that all the stores were closed).

On our way back to the train station, we stopped by the synagogue (and Holocaust memorial plaque), which appeared to be under construction.

We also had zilch success in seeking out an ice cream shop with reputedly weird flavors (carrot!); it was closed for the season (please, ice cream IS NOT a seasonal treat!). To add insult to injury, our final supper in Switzerland was a total disaster. The only place open on Sunday night was a fondue shop. Since we had had our fill of cheese in Zurich, we tried to find other menu items that would accommodate us. Trofie Wife read that menu very, very slowly while Martello ran back into the cold to track down an ATM, since this place with its old school waiters (think Peter Lugar gruffness) had some beef with credit. Our combination of a salad with tuna on top and saffron risotto was pitiful; luckily, we found some more chocolate in our bags upon return (well, at least Trofie Wife did. Martello ate his real food, the tuna.)

We went to bed eager to begin our morning trek. Our vacation had been long and it was now time to go home.

Baci e gelato,

Martello e Trofie Wife

No comments: