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Jesus in Jerusalem....Gerard in Geneva

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CFx2, CPx1
Berlin?” he queried. “You’re phoning me from Berlin? Long time since I was there.
I think Jesus was still playing fullback for Jerusalem.”
What?
“Blimey Michael,” I said, “for a Christian, are you not sailing a little bit close to a blasphemous wind there cobber?”
Michael then proceeded to school me, quite correctly, on the use of metaphor, after which he inquired as to whether if I was perhaps under the impression that Jesus never had any boyhood friends, that he never played any fun games with neighbourhood kids, that he never got up to any mischief.
OK. So he probably did right? Nothing much in the New Testament about his boyhood though is there? Only once that I can see. That time when he got told off by his mum.
In her opinion, and she appears to tell him so in no uncertain terms, he showed no consideration for his parents in getting left behind one day at the temple. Presumably they had to go back and collect him.
Whatever. Not the kind of conversation you expect to have after phoning home from a German airport is it?
Jesus playing fullback for Jerusalem.
From what recesses in what kind of mind would that come?

This year, I’d determined a change of scenery was needed. For some unknown reason I’d tired of Spain’s dusty ways, and the cobbles of Portugal. I needed something fresh. Forests, green fields, a countryside that was alive, somewhere new, somewhere more mainstream Europe, whatever that means. The only pre-condition was of course that it would include a relatively serious stroll.
I finally decided, after sorting thru the many available countries, that Switzerland, to which I had never been, appeared to fit the bill admirably.

After an 11 hr stopover in Singapore, I flew on through the night to arrive in Berlin in time for a late breakfast. After phoning Michael, I spend a lazy day wandering across the city to another airport, from where I now continue, via this early evening flight, to Geneva.

It’s my first ever view of the boomerang that is lake Geneva. I’m looking down, through wide spaces between bulbous, fluffy clouds. At its head I see the Rhone river emptying its moraine muddiness into the blue waters of the lake. The river has carved out a valley that progressively narrows as it leads my gaze to the foothills, then up to the gloomy heights of the Swiss Alps.
We veer right and run down the centre of the lake. The engines cut back and we float, almost noiselessly, down thru the cloud ceiling and out into the wide clear, high above the water.
We sweep alongside the Mt Blanc massif. Out to our left It looms quietly in its bulky evening solitude. That is one lump of earth.
To our right now, Geneva’s early 20th century ostentation fronts the lake.
Down there somewhere, as we turn and set purposefully for the airport, is the first stage of the Via Gebbenensis, gathering the majority of its pilgrims from Switzerland and Southern Germany, looking to guide them the 350ks to Le Puy en Velay, pointing the way to Santiago.
I’ll have two nights in Geneva, giving a full day for sightseeing, then it’s a stretch of the legs, and away walking the pilgrim goes.
The airport info desk advises of my first mistake. “Inside the baggage hall! That’s where you get the free transport pass to get from the airport to your accommodation. But you can’t go back in there now! And, don’t forget, tourists can also get a free pass to Geneva public transport at their accommodation.”
The airport bus deposits me into the now unpopulated dark of the CBD, outside Gare Cornavin, the central railway station. From here, my investigations have uncovered, everything is close. Hotels and hostels, the main shopping streets and the historic old town.
The lake is not far, as is the spot where the Rhone river, having in the lake waters deposited its moraine cargo, exits to commences its meander down thru France. I’ve read in more than one place that the Rhone is the only major river to empty into the Mediterranean. What about the Nile? I’ll have to check on that. Somebody maybe is putting me crook.

These CBD streets are uneasily quiet, dark and lonely, as I walk the six or eight blocks to the Geneva Hostel. There is another reasonable looking hostel even handier, but the address of the ‘Geneva’ had swung my decision.
Rue de Rothschild 28-30. Sounds like my kind of address.

Who would have known. A two pin plug in Switzerland is of a similar but different size/design than most, or maybe all of the rest of Europe.
The next morning, hostel reception directs me to a nearby shop to get a sim card. The shop man also offers me the USB plug for the local wall sockets.
37 Swiss francs! Not paying that. I’ll go find a two-dollar/China shop where you’ve gotta be able to get them cheaper. I’m off to the scruffier part of town where I figure I’m more likely to find such a shop.

Untidy....Littered....Narrow streets here. Tightly enclosed on both sides by 4 or 5 story buildings. Scruffy looking males ducking and diving. An overly slight lady in a gold lame skirt and revealing blouse. She stands with a foot up on a low fire hydrant, the smoke spiraling up from the cigarette that dangles from her lips.
Sad, worn, life tired. She gives a weak smile as I approach and offers her services in French.
I smile, decline, and offer a “bonjour” as I veer past.
I’m looking up now at surrounding buildings.
The upstairs windows are mostly open. At each one a woman sits at a small table on which is situated a small lamp. They glance down at my approach.
My gaze now turns down to, please, find more suitable viewing in passing shop windows, maybe find my china shop. The girls here are younger. Towards the rear of each shop they mingle in bored groups of five or six. They glance disinterestedly as I walk past.
I’m very disappointed, and surprised, to find this in Geneva.
Disappointed because this lifestyle, whenever I come across it, always appears so forlorn, so forever without joy, to be such a waste of what should be a noble life.
But can that other ‘normal’ life only be considered noble if viewed in comparison to this one? Can normal also be noble?
I’ll have to unpick that logic thread a little further.
But surprised? Why am I surprised?
Why should Geneva be any different than other major European city?
I don’t know why.

Whatever. For my sake I’m just glad Martin Luther’s not still around in his ‘reformed’ Europe. If he spotted me here it would incorrectly confirm his worst suspicions as to one of the reasons blokes go on pilgrimage.
The pace of the pilgrim quickens and he instinctively takes the next corner, back up towards the better part of town. On the way he finds his China shop and his 4 franc plug.

He’s so excited is the receptionist at the Geneva Hostel.
“The best way to get to the start of your pilgrimage tomorrow? Take the ferry! It leaves from lakeside, just a couple of blocks from here. After stopping here and there it will deposit you right where you need to start walking!”
I’m unconvinced. He opens the ‘CGN Ferries’ website for me to view.
I’m quickly convinced by their magnificent fleet of pre World War 1, paddle-steamers.
Their website is worth a quick browse. A timetable says my ferry will be the paddle steamer ‘Simplon’. 78 metres long, carries up to 850 passengers. It departs at 10am tomorrow morning.

This hostel receptionist must now sort me for today.
“How long do you reckon it will take me to walk out to the suburb of Cern?”
To me it looked like it would be a good stretch of the legs, like about an hour and a half. Just what I needed after days of cramped sitting on aircraft and not doing very much else.
“You don’t walk to Cern, you take the bus.” He points to my departure point on the map. “It leaves regularly from here. Just a few blocks away.”
I just can’t be bothered getting into a discussion over ways to get there. Just take the bus Gerard. You’ve only got one day for sightseeing.

Its midday now and here I am in Cern asking the distance question again.
"How long does it take,” I ask as I point at the map, “to get from here to here?”
"Depends," she replies and continues without even a hint of exasperation. "It's is 27 kilometres".
“Right. So that means...umm...”
“The idea,” she continues, “is that two groups start at the same time, from the same place, but they take opposing but complimentary routes. They travel the same distance, take the same time, and meet at the endpoint.”
Two groups? Why would you need two groups? And where exactly is the endpoint?
Its all very confusing.

Here in Cern is the largest machine on earth.
It’s my only must see in Geneva.
The Large Hadron Collider. Its circular 27k length tunnel extends to pass beneath Swiss/French border. Then, although I’ve never read any literature that explicitly states so, logic emphatically suggests it eventually returns.
This machine is helping us understand the fundamental structure of matter, the particles that make up atoms, by re-creating the extreme conditions that occurred in the first few moments of the universe. We are talking Big Bang time here.
A kind local lady has decided to expand my knowledge of what goes on underground. I sort of know. Without getting too complicated she expands my understanding as follows.
“Two parcels of Hydrogen photons are fired, then accelerated, in opposite directions around the circular collider. They reach speeds up to 99.6666% of the speed of light.”
How cool is that!
I never knew that!
Even better, they are then induced to collide!
“The resulting debris cloud is then meticulously searched for traces of previously unknown particles, or for particles that scientists already presume to exist. You have no doubt heard of the discovery of the Higgs boson.”
Yeah I knew that. Peter Higgs was the first person to suggest that this particle might/should/must exist, in the 1960’s. It was indeed found in the debris cloud, and, in March 2013 was officially confirmed to exist. It’s not the only one found but is perhaps the most important so far. Good job Pete!
This futuristic display centre informs as to this and all the other experiments that have and are being carried out at the LHC. It’s easy for me to pass an interesting couple of hours.

3pm now and I’m back down town and have explored a little of the CBD.
Now I’m off to wander along the lake edge.
Out there, one of the icons of the city, the famous fountain, the ‘Jet d'Eau’, is pumping 500 litres of water every second to a height of 140 metres, which, my tourist leaflet informs me, means there are 7 tons of water airborne at any one time.
Here’s the dock from which my ferry leaves. Adjacent is the ticket office. However I’m not buying my ticket until just before the boat leaves, just in case the weather is bad.

Further around the lake edge a purpose-built narrow promenade come harbour breakwater extends out into the lake. There’s a lighthouse out at the very end.
From the raised walkway, steps lead down to little beaches and picnic areas where sunbathers and swimmers are enjoying the day. I wander out enjoying the vista around the lake on this pleasant afternoon.

It’s during my nonchalant return that I find my presence has attracted attention. I’m standing at the top of some steps, having paused to look down at a single-file parade of white swans along the foreshore.
A youngish lady rises from the sand and moves up the steps towards me, pausing halfway up to look directly at me, with decidedly serious intent.
I am firstly surprised to note that she is topless. Secondly surprised when she wriggles her shoulders, whereupon her mammary glands proceed to bounce about rather enthusiastically upon her chest.
Blimey. I mean what’s a bloke to do or say when he’s confronted by such an unexpected, acrobatic performance?
I’m at rather at a loss for words.
After shaking my head in bewilderment, or is that embarrassment, all I have to offer is, “Slip! Slop! Slap!
It’s the Aussie public health message suggesting ways of avoiding the detrimental effects of over exposure to the harsh rays of the sun.
It is the commonplace, abbreviated version of, “Slip on a shirt, Slop on the sunscreen, Slap on a hat.
My suggestion does appear to be appreciated, taken to heart even. Her interest in me immediately dissipates and she returns to her spot on the sand where she positions herself face down upon a towel, thereby denying access of the suns rays to that particular portion of her anatomy that has so recently displayed such unexpected mobility.
Is it not a pilgrim bloke’s duty to be helpful when the need arises?
One does try.
Get thee behind me Satan Martin!

The following morning, as I approach the dock, I am greeted by the startup of a marine diesel. It thumps away regularly. A large puff of diesel exhaust appears above the Simplon, then settles to envelope the large Swiss flag hanging limply over the stern.
Buy the ticket. Up the gangplank. Inside, the floor over the top of the engine has been removed and I can look down over a protective rail at it’s impressive thundering motion, see how the power is converted to the horizontal and transferred out to the paddle wheels. An engineer continually moves about its huge moving parts liberally dispensing the contents of his oilcan.

After departing the dock, initially in a stately fashion, the ‘Simplon’ now fair charges up the lake. I take up a prime position at the prow. She must be doing 12 knots, maybe more.
It’s such a fine sunny day and the views are absolutely outstanding.
It’s hard to find the words to describe this vista. Spacious, in the large encompassing expanse of the lake’s calm blue waters. Grand, imposing even, in the bulk and majesty of the seemingly all-surrounding mountains, luxuriously pleasant in their autumnal covering of verdant forest.
What a good idea it was to come here.

The diesel throttles back as we finally mosey in to our point of disembarkation.
OK. Time to get sorted.
Tighten the shoe laces, swing on the pack, extend the poles.
Hat, sunglasses. The gangplank rattles out.
Down we go.
Here I am at last. Safely arrived in Lausanne.
Tucked into the inside corner of the lake’s boomerang shape, Lausanne is a pleasant city, Switzerland’s 4th largest. It is splashed across the face of a high, steep-ish hillside, affording panoramic views out over the lake and surrounding countryside.

The Via Francigena, after leaving Canterbury in southern England, proceeds first down to Dover in 2 stages.
Over the channel it continues across France in 47 stages, the 47th ending across the border in the Swiss town of St Croix.
In Switzerland now there are three stages to where I join it, here in Lausanne.
Another 7 stages lead to the top of the Swiss Alps. Here ends the Swiss section of the VF at Col du Grand St Bernard. This is generally considered to be the half way point between Canterbury and Rome. The VF path to Rome, from here proceeding down the Alps and out onto the Italian peninsular, is approximately 1000 km in length and is divided into 45 stages.

I step onto the dock. It’s barely 100 metres to where I join the VF.
It's a turn right and away we go. Just a walk of about 8 km around the lakeside today. I’m only looking to stretch the legs. A few hours later, at a little country railway station, I have climbed on a smart little train that brings me back to Lausanne.

There is a metro type cable-car in Lausanne that runs up the face of the hill, through the city centre. I decide instead to walk to the Cathedral which is up there somewhere. I need to get a credential and first stamp. Except there are no credentials. I get a stamp on a piece of paper to glue into a credential, if I am ever able to get one that is.
I walk back down to the youth hostel I had pre-booked, down by the lake edge. It’s close to a train station from where, early tomorrow morning, I’ll return by train, back out to that little country town where I stopped walking this afternoon,.
So, tomorrow them. Time to get serious.

Regards
Gerard

The Promenade/Breakwater.

1598671813310.png


Rick Steves’ rather newsy video description of Martin Luther’s pilgrimage to Rome.
https://classroom.ricksteves.com/videos/martin-luther-s-experience-as-a-pilgrim-in-rome

A brief but informative look at Reformation objections to Pilgrimage.
https://www.york.ac.uk/projects/pilgrimage/content/reform.html

Facts and figures about the Large Hadron Collider
https://home.cern/resources/faqs/facts-and-figures-about-lhc
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Gerard, I'm off to bed now so cannot read this new "chapter" until tomorrow morning. Your stories never fail to make me chuckle!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Bonjour and greutzi, Gerard.
Switzerland? Lindt...trains and gondolas...glorious mountains, all seeming to have (expensive!) cafes on the top...
Enjoy!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Gerard, it was your opening paragraph that gave me a good chuckle, along with your descriptive experience as you came head on with the "acrobatic" female.
I really liked your choice of the words "overly slight lady" to describe the obvious. My sister would use the word "fluffy" to describe the same; both are kind ways to say the obvious.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the "short" recap of your journey. Your detailed account made me feel as though I was tagging along...thanks!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I don't know what Greutzi means!
Swiss German for the same thing as bonjour. It's what you might say to someone you meet in the mountains who is obviously from east of the Röstigraben.

Be warned: this summer a Swiss friend has been torturing teasing me with photos of various kinds of cake and cream with coffee, all served atop a mountain somewhere. Switzerland is a dangerous place. That's not even mentioning such things as raclette and the eponymous rösti.

And yeah...how'd you escape from Australia? A whole country of people would like to know.
 
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kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2012
CP 2015
St Olavs Norway 2016
88T Japan 2017
PWC/VF 2019
Israel 2020 X
Wales CP 21?
KK?
VdlP?

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
Berlin?” he queried. “You’re phoning me from Berlin? Long time since I was there. I think Jesus was still playing fullback for Jerusalem.” ..... What?
“Blimey Michael,” I said. “For a Christian, are you not sailing a little bit close to a blasphemous wind there cobber?”
Michael then proceeded to school me, quite correctly, on the use of metaphor, after which he inquired as to whether if I was perhaps under the impression that Jesus never had any boyhood friends, that he never played any fun games with neighbourhood kids, that he never got up to any mischief.
OK. So he probably did right? Nothing much in the New Testament about his boyhood though is there? Apart from his getting told off by his mum after, in her opinion, he showed no consideration for his parents in getting left behind one day at the temple.
Whatever. Not the conversation you expect to be having when phoning home from a German airport is it?
Jesus playing fullback for Jerusalem.
From what recesses in what kind of mind would that come?

This year, I’d determined a change of scenery was needed. For some unknown reason I’d tired of Spain’s dusty ways, and the cobbles of Portugal. I needed something fresh. Forests, green fields, a countryside that was alive, somewhere new, somewhere more mainstream Europe, whatever that means. The only pre-condition was of course that it would include a relatively serious stroll.
I finally decided, after sorting thru the many available countries, that Switzerland, to which I had never been, appeared to fit the bill admirably.

After an 11 hr stopover in Singapore, I flew on through the night to arrive in Berlin in time for a late breakfast. After phoning Michael, I spend a lazy day wandering across the city to another airport, from where I now continue, via this early evening flight, to Geneva.

It’s my first ever view of the boomerang that is lake Geneva. I’m looking down, through wide spaces between bulbous, fluffy clouds. At its head I see the Rhone river emptying its moraine muddiness into the blue waters of the lake. The river has carved out a valley that progressively narrows as it leads my gaze to the foothills, then up to the gloomy heights of the Swiss Alps.
We veer right and run down the centre of the lake. The engines cut back and we float, almost noiselessly, down thru the cloud ceiling and out into the wide clear, high above the water.
We sweep alongside the Mt Blanc massif. Out to our left It looms quietly in its bulky evening solitude. That is one lump of earth.
To our right now, Geneva’s early 20th century ostentation fronts the lake.
Down there somewhere, as we turn and set purposefully for the airport, is the first stage of the Via Gebbenensis, gathering the majority of its pilgrims from Switzerland and Southern Germany, looking to guide them the 350ks to Le Puy en Velay, pointing the way to Santiago.
I’ll have two nights in Geneva, giving a full day for sightseeing, then it’s a stretch of the legs, and away walking the pilgrim goes.
The airport info desk advises of my first mistake. “Inside the baggage hall! That’s where you get the free transport pass to get from the airport to your accommodation. But you can’t go back in there now! And, don’t forget, tourists can also get a free pass to Geneva public transport at their accommodation.”
The airport bus deposits me into the now unpopulated dark of the CBD, outside Gare Cornavin, the central railway station. From here, my investigations have uncovered, everything is close. Hotels and hostels, the main shopping streets and the historic old town.
The lake is not far, as is the spot where the Rhone river, having in the lake waters deposited its moraine cargo, exits to commences its meander down thru France. I’ve read in more than one place that the Rhone is the only major river to empty into the Mediterranean. What about the Nile? I’ll have to check on that. Somebody maybe is putting me crook.

These CBD streets are uneasily quiet, dark and lonely, as I walk the six or eight blocks to the Geneva Hostel. There is another reasonable looking hostel even handier, but the address of the ‘Geneva’ had swung my decision.
Rue de Rothschild 28-30. Sounds like my kind of address.

Who would have known. A two pin plug in Switzerland is of a similar but different size/design than most, or maybe all of the rest of Europe.
The next morning, hostel reception directs me to a nearby shop to get a sim card. The shop man also offers me the USB plug for the local wall sockets.
37 Swiss francs! Not paying that. I’ll go find a two-dollar/China shop where you’ve gotta be able to get them cheaper. I’m off to the scruffier part of town where I figure I’m more likely to find such a shop.

Untidy, littered. Narrow streets here. Tightly enclosed on both sides by 4 or 5 story buildings. Scruffy looking males ducking and diving. An overly slight lady in a gold lame skirt and revealing blouse. She stands with a foot up on a low fire hydrant, the smoke spiraling up from the cigarette that dangles from her lips.
Sad, worn, life tired. She gives a weak smile as I approach and offers her services in French.
I smile, decline, and offer a “bonjour” as I veer past.
I’m looking up now at surrounding buildings.
The upstairs windows are mostly open. At each one a woman sits at a small table on which is situated a small lamp. They glance down at my approach.
My gaze now turns down to, please, find more suitable viewing in passing shop windows, maybe find my china shop. The girls here are younger. Towards the rear of each shop they mingle in bored groups of five or six. They glance disinterestedly as I walk past.
I’m very disappointed, and surprised, to find this in Geneva.
Disappointed because this lifestyle, whenever I come across it, always appears so forlorn, so forever without joy, to be such a waste of what should be a noble life.
But can that other ‘normal’ life only be considered noble if viewed in comparison to this one? Can normality also be noble?
I’ll have to unpick that logic thread a little further.
But surprised? Why am I surprised?
Why should Geneva be any different than other major European city?
I don’t know why.

Whatever. For my sake I’m just glad Martin Luther’s not still around in his ‘reformed’ Europe. If he spotted me here it would incorrectly confirm his worst suspicions as to one of the reasons blokes go on pilgrimage.
The pace of the pilgrim quickens and he instinctively takes the next corner, back up towards the better part of town.
On the way I find my China shop and my 4 franc plug.

He’s so excited is the receptionist at the Geneva Hostel.
“The best way to get to the start of your pilgrimage tomorrow? Take the ferry! It leaves from lakeside, just a couple of blocks from here. After stopping here and there it will deposit you right where you need to start walking!”
I’m unconvinced. He opens the ‘CGN Ferries’ website for me to view.
I’m quickly convinced by their magnificent fleet of pre World War 1, paddle-steamers.
The website’s worth a browse. A timetable says my ferry will be the paddle steamer ‘Simplon’. 78 metres long, carries up to 850 passengers. It departs at 10am tomorrow morning.

This hostel receptionist must now sort me for today.
“How long do you reckon it will take me to walk out to the suburb of Cern?”
To me it looked like it would be a good stretch of the legs, like about an hour and a half. Just what I needed after days of cramped sitting on aircraft and not doing very much else.
“You don’t walk to Cern, you take the bus.” He points to my departure point on the map. “It leaves regularly from here. Just a few blocks away.”
I just can’t be bothered getting into a discussion over ways to get there. Just take the bus Gerard. You’ve only got one day for sightseeing.

Its midday now and here I am in Cern asking the distance question again.
"How long does it take,” I ask as I point at the map, “to get from here to here?”
"Depends," she replies and continues without even a hint of exasperation. "It's is 27 kilometres".
“Right. So that means...umm...”
“The idea,” she continues, “is that two groups start at the same time, from the same place, but they take opposing but complimentary routes. They travel the same distance, take the same time, and meet at the endpoint.”
Two groups? Why would you need two groups? And where exactly is the endpoint?
Its all very confusing.

Here in Cern is the largest machine on earth.
It’s my only must see in Geneva.
The Large Hadron Collider. Its circular 27k length tunnel extends to pass beneath Swiss/French border. Then, although I’ve never read any literature that explicitly states so, logic emphatically suggests it eventually returns.
This machine is helping us understand the fundamental structure of matter, the particles that make up atoms, by re-creating the extreme conditions that occurred in the first few moments of the universe. We are talking Big Bang time here.
A kind local lady has decided to expand my knowledge of what goes on underground. I sort of know. Without getting too complicated she expands my understanding as follows.
“Two parcels of Hydrogen photons are fired, then accelerated, in opposite directions around the circular collider. They reach speeds up to 99.6666% of the speed of light.”
How cool is that!
I never knew that!
Even better, they are then induced to collide!
“The resulting debris cloud is then meticulously searched for traces of previously unknown particles, or for particles that scientists already presume to exist. You have no doubt heard of the discovery of the Higgs boson.”
Peter Higgs was the first person to suggest that this particle might/should/must exist, in the 1960’s. It was indeed found in the debris cloud, and, in March 2013 was officially confirmed to exist. It’s not the only one found but is perhaps the most important so far.
This futuristic display centre informs as to this and all the other experiments that have and are being carried out at the LHC. It’s easy for me to pass an interesting couple of hours.

3pm now and I’m back down town and have explored a little of the CBD.
Now I’m off to wander along the lake edge.
Out there, one of the icons of the city, the famous fountain, the ‘Jet d'Eau’, is pumping 500 litres of water every second to a height of 140 metres, which, my tourist leaflet informs me, means there are 7 tons of water airborne at any one time.
Here’s the dock from which my ferry leaves. Adjacent is the ticket office. However I’m not buying my ticket until just before the boat leaves, just in case the weather is bad.

Further around the lake edge a purpose-built narrow promenade come harbour breakwater extends out into the lake. There’s a lighthouse out at the very end.
From the raised walkway, steps lead down to little beaches and picnic areas where sunbathers and swimmers are enjoying the day. I wander out enjoying the vista around the lake on this pleasant afternoon.

It’s during my nonchalant return that I find my presence has attracted attention. I’m standing at the top of some steps, having paused to look down at a single-file parade of white swans along the foreshore.
A youngish lady rises from the sand and moves up the steps towards me, pausing halfway up to look directly at me, with decidedly serious intent.
I am firstly surprised to note that she is topless. Secondly surprised when she wriggles her shoulders, whereupon her mammary glands proceed to bounce about rather enthusiastically upon her chest.
Blimey. I mean what’s a bloke to do or say when he’s confronted by such an unexpected, acrobatic performance?
I’m at rather at a loss for words.
After shaking my head in bewilderment, or is that embarrassment, all I have to offer is, “Slip! Slop! Slap!
It’s the Aussie public health message suggesting ways of avoiding the detrimental effects of over exposure to the harsh rays of the sun.
It is the commonplace, abbreviated version of, “Slip on a shirt, Slop on the sunscreen, Slap on a hat.
My suggestion does appear to be appreciated, taken to heart even. Her interest in me immediately dissipates and she returns to her spot on the sand where she positions herself face down upon a towel, thereby denying access of the suns rays to that particular portion of her anatomy that so recently displayed such unexpected mobility.
Is it not a pilgrim bloke’s duty to be helpful when the need arises?
One does try.
Get thee behind me Satan Martin!

The following morning, as I approach the dock, I am greeted by the startup of a marine diesel. It thumps away regularly. A large puff of diesel exhaust appears above the Simplon, then settles to envelope the large Swiss flag hanging limply over the stern.
Buy the ticket. Up the gangplank. Inside, the floor over the top of the engine has been removed and I can look down over a protective rail at it’s impressive thundering motion, see how the power is converted to the horizontal and transferred out to the paddle wheels. An engineer continually moves about its huge moving parts liberally dispensing the contents of his oilcan.

After departing the dock, initially in a stately fashion, the ‘Simplon’ now fair charges up the lake. I take up a prime position at the prow. She must be doing 12 knots, maybe more.
It’s such a fine sunny day and the views are absolutely outstanding.
It’s hard to find the words to describe this vista. Spacious, in the large encompassing expanse of the lake’s calm blue waters. Grand, imposing even, in the bulk and majesty of the seemingly all-surrounding mountains, luxuriously pleasant in their autumnal covering of verdant forest.
What a good idea it was to come here.

The diesel throttles back as we finally mosey in to our point of disembarkation.
OK. Time to get sorted.
Tighten the shoe laces, swing on the pack, extend the poles.
Hat, sunglasses. The gangplank rattles out.
Down we go and step out onto the dock.
Here I am. At last safely arrived in Lausanne.
Lausanne, tucked into the inside corner of the lake’s boomerang shape, is a pleasant city, Switzerland’s 4th largest. It is splashed across the face of a steepish hillside, affording panoramic views out over the lake and surrounding countryside.

The Via Francigena, after leaving Canterbury in southern England, proceeds first down to Dover in 2 stages.
Over the channel it continues across France in 47 stages, the 47th ending across the border in the Swiss town of St Croix.
In Switzerland now there are three stages to where I will join it, here in Lausanne.
Another 7 stages lead to the top of the Swiss Alps. Here ends the Swiss section of the VF at Col du Grand St Bernard. This is generally considered to be the half way point between Canterbury and Rome. The VF path to Rome, from here proceeding down the Alps and out onto the Italian peninsular, is approximately 1000 km in length and is divided into 45 stages.

I step onto the dock It’s barely 100 metres to where I join the VF.
I turn right and its away we go. Just a walk of about 8 km around the lakeside today. I’m only looking to stretch the legs. A few hours later, at a little country railway station, I have climbed on a smart little train that takes me back to Lausanne.

There is a metro type cable-car in Lausanne that runs up the face of the hill, through the city centre. I decide instead to walk to the Cathedral which is up there somewhere. I need to get a credential and first stamp. Except there are no credentials. I get a stamp on a piece of paper to glue into a credential, if I am ever able to get one that is.
I walk back down to the youth hostel I had pre-booked, down by the lake edge. It’s close to a train station from where, early tomorrow morning, I’ll return by train, back out to that little country town where I stopped walking this afternoon,.
So, tomorrow them. Time to get serious.

Regards
Gerard

The Promenade/Breakwater.

View attachment 81912


Rick Steves’ rather newsy video description of Martin Luther’s pilgrimage to Rome.
https://classroom.ricksteves.com/videos/martin-luther-s-experience-as-a-pilgrim-in-rome

A brief look at Martin Luther’s objections to Pilgrimage.
https://www.york.ac.uk/projects/pilgrimage/content/reform.html

Facts and figures about the Large Hadron Collider
https://home.cern/resources/faqs/facts-and-figures-about-lhc
Super story. But this is not happening in the year of COVID19. So when did it happen. Can wait to read what happened next 😊
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Ahh...that makes sense. Now re-reading the OP, Gerard makes no mention (refreshingly..) of any of the you-know-what terminology which forms a large part of our 2020 vernacular! 😄
👣 🌏
That's a very good point you make.
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CFx2, CPx1
Camino Chrissy has it correct!
After autumn in Switzerland I got stuck in England til late in 2019. Then after family Xmas at home in Brisbane I was called unexpectedly to NZ on a family sickness visit. Got stuck there for months then caught up in their lockdown before getting back to Brisbane again where I could start to gather my thoughts and notes.
Back on the forum I noted the quietened mindset of members and the efforts of some to keep things ticking.

My contribution was the story of the last day of my hike to the top of the Swiss Alps.
Todays story marks the start of the hike of which that day was a part.

Regards to all and thank you for your comments.
Gerard
 
Last edited:

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
One of these visits we’ll capture you and hold you for ransom - you’ll be released only upon the telling of another yarn. Kiwi-pilgrims, watch this space.
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CFx2, CPx1
One of these visits we’ll capture you and hold you for ransom - you’ll be released only upon the telling of another yarn. Kiwi-pilgrims, watch this space.
Hi Rachael !!!
I've been waiting for you to pop up cobber!
When I was down in Wanganui I did think to take you up on your dinner invite if I made it up to Auckland.
So you wouldn't need to capture me and hold me for ransom.
Anyway you'd never find anybody willing to pay good money for me cobber.
You'd be more likely to find a crowd who pay to keep me locked up.
I have a brother and sister-in-law living out at Waimauku on a farmlet who I like to see, but I saw them down country at a family wedding so didn't need to go up visit.
Anyway hope all is well with you and all of yours,
Kind regards
Gerard
 
Last edited:

igailfh

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Português, Camino de Tejo (Fatima)
Fantastic to read this, Gerard. I'm waiting for that book, I hope you write it one day. Buen Camino!
 

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