Start where you are

The Jet d’Eau, originally a safety valve for hydro electricity generation, now serves no purpose but to be a tourist attraction of considerable beauty. Copyright © 2013 Wayne and Elizabeth Saewyc

[This entry was originally published 14 Septembre 2013]

One must begin at some point, and I have finally managed to begin setting up this server for documenting the year’s sabbatical, so we will begin here and now. Or, at least, yesterday.

We are in Genève, à Suisse… Geneva, Switzerland in English. The city is a centre of banking and diplomacy, but also an international city of culture and fashion, full of parcs and museums, well-preserved architecture, and a mélange of history, languages, and people. Most people know it as the home of Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations and its descendant the United Nations, but it was also the heart of Protestantism in Europe, the capital of John Calvin’s reformist movement.

As an important international city, Genève is among the most expensive to live in. There are nearly as many hotel rooms as apartments in the city, and they are all expensive. We are renting a studio apartment from a couple who work at WHO, and it is costing us as much as our 2 bedroom plus den apartment in Vancouver, which isn’t exactly a cheap place to live either.

“It’s not too bright.” “Yes it is.” Copyright © 2013 Wayne and Elizabeth Saewyc

From this base we make daily excursions – to the grocer for food (there isn’t really room to store any food), and off on a voyage de découverte (journey of discovery) to a cultural destination, a shopping district, or a restaurant. Yesterday we visited the jetée des Bains des Pâquis, a stone jetty into the lake on which there is an artificial beach and a communal baths, as well as a hamman (Turkish steam bath and massage) and a wonderful al fresco restaurant serving a very limited menu but an excellent plat du jour. Ours was baked Atlantic Salmon on a vegetable & mushroom mix and the most intriguing rice dish – the rice was black-purple, clearly some form of well-cooked brown rice but the sauce was slightly sweet and slightly sour and slightly salty. The plate had been drizzled with a soy-sauce and balsamic vinegar reduction that worked wonderfully with the salmon which was much milder than the salmon we get in BC.

To have this wonderful dinner we only ended up walking about 6 kilometres round-trip. Both of us are hoping to lose some waistline as we shift our heavy meal to noon-ish and increase our exercise.

But now I need to get ready for today’s adventures: Hopefully we will get to vieille ville (old town) and take pics of the buildings there.