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Walking in a Bearsac Wonderland

 

When Debra said she had just booked a flight to Switzerland and that she needed to find my passport, my little furry heart leapt with joy.

 

Saturday

We arrived at Luton Airport in plenty of time for Debra to check in her large ruck-sack holding her micro scooter and tri-pod, which she thought might look like weapons on the x-ray machine. She was sent to oversized luggage to get it checked out on the x-ray machine. The lady at the desk let us - that is Choc-ice and myself - go through the machine so Debra could see what we looked like on the inside. The plane was not full and we managed to get a seat each, I think mainly because people avoided sitting next to Debra because they proberly thought her insane in the membrane.

photo of clouds and land from plane

The flight was reasonably smooth and we saw the patchwork look of the countryside with little fluffy clouds floating lazily below us. We got the number 10 bus to the city centre of Geneva, which is where we were staying in a hostel. It was getting dark by now and was raining lightly.

photo of bearsac and choc-ice on youth hostel bed

Our room was tiny with three beds in it two were as bunk beds, we took the one that was not as Debra gets up early and thought it would be less disturbing to the other two inhabitants of the room. We checked out Lake Geneva (Lake Léman) at night with the lights reflecting on the water and had quite an early night. As is common with hostels, you often share with the opposite sex. Debra shared with 2 men.

Sunday

Debra lay awake a few hours before getting up about 7.30ish. We went exploring for about 10 hours in the drizzly rain.

photo of lake lamac geneva with tree photo of park benches and lake lamac geneva

photo of swans on lake lamac geneva photo of man with umbrella looking out onto lake lamac

We took lots of grey photos, which really pictured the scene of a beautiful wet Geneva.

 

photo of bearsac outside shop with teddy bears in window

I spottoed a St Bernards dog with a brandy barrel round it's neckand pretended I was close to death by freezing, hoping he would rescue me with brandy. However, he turned out to be stuffed and the brandy barrel was made out of fabric and also stuffed. We then went to look round the town and came across a teddy bear shop, a very expensive teddy bear shop, (put me to shame).

We ventured further and happened upon St Pierre Cathedral. The building of St Pierre Cathedral begun in the 12th Century and is a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque styles. There was a classical facade added in the 18th Century. The cathedral is the highest part of the old town of Geneva.

photo of stanied glass window inside st pierre cathedral

The stained glass windows are a wonder to look at. When we returned to the hostel for a combined late lunch/early dinner there was a new roommate. A nice young lady from Thailand who lives in Sidney but had been travelling since August. Later the other roommate arrived, an also nice young lady, from Japan. We talked about going to the mountains next day but the weather was going to be better on the Tuesday so we thought about the Red Cross Museum instead. Red Cross Museum (Musée de la Croix-Rouge) (Founded by Henry Dunant)

Monday

photo o red cross museum on hill photo of statues men bound, gagged and blind-folded

On Monday after a look around the shops and a few photos, our two roommates and we headed to the Red Cross Museum, which was opposite the visitors entrance of the United Nations. The museum was very informative with very well designed displays. There was the Red Cross flag and the Red Crescent flag above the strange looking statue men who were gagged and blindfolded. This represented the continual worldwide violation of human rights.

photo of bearsac next to artificial limbs photo of bearsac sitting with bound, gagged and blind-folded satue men

There were display boxes with bandages and other Red Cross items and little rooms with artificial legs to replace legs blown off by mines. There were even some cute little teddy bears with Red Cross t-shirts in the shop and everything. After all that I needed a sit down and sat with three stony silent gentlemen on a cold stone bench.

Back at the hostel we quickly had some dinner and went out on Debra's scooter for a couple of hours before retiring to the bedroom to discuss which mountains we would go to with the lady from Thailand.

Tuesday

photo of countryside with lake in distance photo of countryside with mountains

We got the 7.30am train to Bern, where we changed for Interlaken Ost arriving just before 10.30 after passing by beautiful lakes.

photo of bearsac by mountain train photo of bearsac at jungfraujoch on top of europe

As we got to different level we had to change mountain trains and rushed to get a seat by the window. The air was wonderfully fresh. When we reached the top of Europe we felt on top of the world as we looked out upon the snow topped mountains below.

photo of snowy mountains from jungfrau photo of bearsac with ice bears

It was freezing; my fur was all stiff and everything. We visited the Ice Palace inside the mountain where I met some polar bears who were colder than I was.

On the way back to Geneva we had to change at Bern. The lady from Thailand was staying in Bern that night so we said our goodbyes and Debra and I ran around Bern by night for an hours photo session before returning to Geneva and talking to people on the double-decker very clean train. We had the room to ourselves this night.

 

Wednesday

photo of sun-lit wet street in geneva

The day started out rainy as we did a tour of the old city but by lunchtime had developed into bright warm sunshine and a few fluffy white clouds.

photo of lake lemac geneva with swimmers

Right said Debra, I'm going to swim in that lake and there's no turning back. We returned to the hostel for Debra to get her swimming costume. She left leaving choc-ice and me in the room returning a few mins later for her forgotten towel and rushed out again before she changed her mind. Rejuvenated by her swim, Debra returned and took me out on her back scooting.

photo of children playing by lakeside geneva photo of calmess of lake

We scooted round to the opposite side of the lake where we came to a children's' playground area with rope ladders and swings hung from the lake edge trees. There were children playing and this brother and sister merrily playing together prompted Debra to get out her camera and take photographs of them at play against the lake. Debra then struggled into one of the tyre swings with her tri-pod and me on her back. Quite soon the little girl asked in French if we wanted a push. We understood the word poussée (push) - from endless doors from our shopping expedition with the roommates - so said "oui s'ilvous plait". The brother and sister pulled together in unison at the rope to control the swing. Afterwards Debra pulled the rope for the little girl as she sat in it and she went so high she nearly went into the branches. After a while Debra and little girl thanked each other and we continued by scooter around the lake about 3 miles out of Geneva where things quiet and slow down. Taking it all in for some time before scooting back to Geneva and our side of the lake where we came across the only two mad person in Geneva.

photo of eccentric man wearing coat and suit with giant red buttons

A large man in a large coat with large red buttons shooing away the swans. By the time we got back to the hostel we had done about 9 to 10 miles on her micro scooter and she was worn out.

 

Thursday (day of departure)

photo of bearsac by united nations sign

Choc-ice - who had been ill all week - was well enough to come to the United Nations with Debra and me. The United Nations office in Geneva is the second main office after the United Nations office in New York. It is located in the Palais des Nations, which was built in 1936 as the Headquarters of the League of Nations. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War 2 to maintain peace, develop friendly relations among nations and promote social progress, better living standards and human rights. In 1946 the UN took over the Palais des Nations as its home for working mainly on Disarmament and Human Rights issues. There are hundreds and hundreds of meetings a year and everything.

photo of choc-ice and bearsac in united nations conference room photo of united nations conference room geneva

The guide took us to three different conference rooms, the first holds 900 people, the second 2000 and the third is smaller than the other two but more decorative. He explained what each of the wall murals was about.

photo of the bears on balcony of united nationation conference room photo of the bears laying on marble floor

There were paintings in a large hallway donated by different nations and the different coloured marble for the floor were also donations as were the monument things in the gardens, which we saw only from the window on a very very rainy day.

photo of chocolate conkers in shop photo of easyjet plane on tarmac

Debra was so wet when we got back to the hostel at about 12.30pm that she was still wet 5 hours later when she rushed out to buy chocolates to take back home. Choc and I were under cover so we stayed dry. She had packed up already so could not change her clothes.

We left for the airport about 7pm for our 9.50pm flight back to Luton.

 

 

 


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