June 18 and 19
It was wonderful to wake up in a house with family around. I had not seen my uncle or cousin Clare in four years, since they were in America last. Joanna now lives with them and helps care for them, and I was happy to have a chance to get to know her. She is Swiss-German but speaks perfect English and was a big help when we went shopping, as I forgot that Switzerland is not on the euro currency, but instead the swiss franc.
It was a rainy day, so we spent most of it at home, and I was treated to a French meal of Vol-au-vent, which means “gone with the wind,” named because it is made with light puff pastry. It had mushrooms in a cream sauce and a little meat, and was delicious. I also has some real Gruyère cheese and some Camembert cheese as well, although I preferred the Gruyère.
What a treat to be able to have my laundry done at their house with a real washer and dryer! Sometimes it is the little things that mean so much. After almost three months of doing laundry mostly by hand, I really appreciated this.
My uncle will be 89 next week and retired as an engineer, but stays busy as an inventor. He recently obtained a provisional patent for 3D television that does not require glasses, and expects the final patent to be granted anytime. I think that is so cool.
Sunday I went to church with Clare and Joanna, and enjoyed my first experience at a Pentecostal service. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and the service was in English.
Geneva is not really an example of the Swiss culture, since it is such a cosmopolitan city. With the United Nations and World Health Organization here, as well as quite a few other international organizations, a large number of people living here are from other countries.
After church we went to French restaurant and met my other cousin Christopher there along with my uncle. It was great to see Chris. He did not remember me, since the last time we saw each other he was a child. He lives nearby in a house with others who are developmentally challenged.
At the restaurant I had dessert, this to-die-for apple pie ala mode type of dessert, which was like nothing I have ever had in the US.
We went back to the house and took some family photos and then Clare, Johanna and I went sightseeing. I wanted to see the UN, and then we drove to Lake Geneva, also called Lake Léman, and walked all around.
We stopped to see one of Geneva’s famous landmarks, the Flower Clock, located at the English Garden. The second hand is almost eight feet long, making it the largest in the world.
Of course, the other landmark, which can be seen from almost anywhere on the Geneva side of the lake, is the Jet d’Eau, the famous fountain, which can reach heights of 459 feet.
One hundred thirty-two gallons of water per second are pumped out of this fountain, and the only times it closes is when there are strong winds, the temperature dips below two degrees Centigrade, and for three weeks in November for maintenance.
On the other side of the lake, there was a beautiful rose garden , where we walked before coming back home.
It was wonderful to be able to spend this time with my family in Geneva as well as see some of the sights.