Monday, September 13, 2004

Lyon, France—Geneva, Switzerland—Day 226

After packing up my things this morning, walking my things down to the post office that I needed to mail home and mailing things home (much to the amusement of the postal worker for all that I was sending back), I then checked out of the hotel in Lyon and walked over to the train station near my hotel, heading for Geneva.

While there are no hippos in Geneva, I figured it would be a nice place to stop for a few days on my way up to Basel. I took the train over to the second train station in Lyon (literally called “Part Dieu”) and soon was heading to Geneva on a TGV express train.

The train ride to Geneva went really quickly—I was absorbed in my book “Fast Food Nation” and sped through a good chunk of it before reaching Geneva around three o’clock—and any one who has ever read it will know, in two hours I was put off of meat—for good? Who knows. For now at least. I found a taxi and went to my hotel, checked in and had to change my reservation to get a non-smoking room (despite protests from the receptionist who claimed that I didn’t request one but then found out that I actually did) and put my things down.

I then headed back out on the town, so to speak. I walked around, map in my bag just in case. I first headed down to Lake Geneva and walked along the water front in the Jardin Anglais and the famous floral clock. I then walked up the hill to the vielle Ville (the old quarter) and the beautiful Catedrale de St. Pierre. I climbed up the stairs of the north tower which has a great view over Geneva and the old town. I headed back down, purchased some postcards from the nice guy sitting at the small desk at the bottom of the stairs and avoided listening in on conversations in English.

I walked back down the hill and meandered in some shops for a bit before finding dinner at an Italian place which just so happened to be right next to a strip club. I didn’t notice this until I had ordered. In fact, you hardly realized it was there. Perhaps the most ironic thing was that there was a huge children’s carousel just down the street a ways, just feet from the restaurant and the club. No one seemed to really care that a children’s carousel and a strip club were just feet from one another. In America, this would be an outrage—a shocking scandal—a protest. But here in Geneva no one seemed bothered by it.

So while I dined on my spaghetti amongst the other tourists, children gleefully went around on their shining horses as their parents watched and only occasionally were you reminded of the club’s presence—when its thump thump thumping music briefly escaping during one’s entrance or exit through the huge black door. Everyone was just going about their own business.

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.