Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Saturday was a long, hard day of travel. I rode on one bus, three trains, and two trams before I arrived at my destination in Basel. That means I carried my luggage seven times. I had a small bruise where one of my bags bumped against my arm. I was travelling for about 12 hours, though that includes a long stay in Geneva. I spent about 4-5 hours there because this is probably the only time I will see this beautiful lakeside city. Swiss train stations have lockers for luggage, but my luggage was too big. The guy at the luggage office complained to me bitterly about taking my luggage, but since I don't understand much French it wasn't much of a problem.
After having a typical Genevois meal of Filets de perche, perch filets, I strolled through the old city. I saw the home where John Calvin once lived and the Cathedrale St-Pierre where he preached. It was called the Protestant church of Europe.
During Reformation times, Geneva was a great city of tolerance and Protestant Reformation. As I looked at the various monuments, such as this one of Calvin, John Knox, and two other important Protestants figures, I found myself wondering why Anabaptists were not included in this tolerance. The monument goes through a whole series of proclamations of toleration for various religious views and we can be thankful that this toleration has spread so widely, though still not widely enough as many people are still persecuted for their beliefs.
As I returned to the train station, I caught a glimpse of Geneva's famous Jet d'Eau, or water spray. It is a nice touch. The region is full of beauty and I could not believe how far and wide Lake Geneva goes. We saw it from the train for a long time, and it was just the first of a couple of lakes.
A relative of my temporary German teacher Irene welcomed me for the night. But I will say more about that when I describe my first Sunday at church.