Geneva – last leg of Switzerland

This fountain below is quite a famous icon of Geneva.

It er, stopped suddenly.  I asked the other tourists if they broke it?  🙂 There wasn’t any passing vessels in the lake, I guess there could be some water pressure issues maybe.

I am not sure how many Christians and Jews there are in French speaking Switzerland, I did notice this interesting poster on the tram for Hannukah though (this was first week of January 2012 I was there)

There is a large and interestingly styled synagogue here also.   Not sure how old it is, but the road is named after the synagogue also.

Geneva is a great place to go shopping, but I didn’t find a great deal of interesting things, although I was only there for a day. There are modern shops for everything single clothing brand you can think of.   They are all full too.  No one closing down, or having any panic sale, unlike the death of so many retailers in the UK and US that is happening.

The famous red cross museum was shut which was recommended by a friend, apparently they need 2 years until its operational again.   I would of been interested to see the UN headquarters, but I didn’t get time for this after all.

By the time I was leaving I was very skint, and used my last of my francs to get a train to the airport.   My flight back to Israel was at a usual silly time of the night, and meant I slept for a bit on the floor there.   By the time I had to leave, the staff there told us we had to do a swab of our shoes and clothes and put the samples into a briefcase shaped computer controlled explosives detector machine.   Back to Israel for me to continue doing my volunteer IT work…

Switzerland – the old city of Basel

A little bit later I will finish writing about the lively church in Nazareth I got to visit.

Meanwhile I took sometime out after flying to see family at Christmas, I wanted to do something different for New Year, the 1st of January is a non-event in Israel, and I am bored with the drinking culture in UK, as Basel is reachable by Easyjet from Luton, UK and I can get back to Tel Aviv via Geneva, I thought it would be a good opportunity to see my good friend Matthew who is a Swiss Christian who was studying Hebrew and going to the same church in Jerusalem, last year.

Railways in Switzerland are probably the best anywhere, this one is a palace in itself with attractive paintings on the walls, escalators and nice shops, and generally an accurate representation of Switzerland’s precise and efficient approach to everything.

There are lots of museums in this country, this one is meant to be the smallest in the world, I am not sure if its just a window of stuff or if you can go in.   I didn’t get time to visit any of the other ones which was a shame.

Basel is a truly beautiful place.  This was my first visit to Switzerland, so I was really looking forward to it, its quite different from Germany even before I got near any mountains, its like they have a German attitude to efficiency and engineering and use the French and Italian influence for design flair. 🙂

I like the mix of oldy worldy shops and modern retail places too.   Watches are a big thing of course, as top brands in fashion too.  Funny thing is, I didn’t see any places boarded up, so the recession hasn’t affected Basel, or the Swiss are good at quickly dressing up defunkt businesses with different signage, unlike UK and the US!

This shoe place is a worth a mention for its amusing name 😀

It is kind of horribly expensive, I went to Starbucks and paid CHF7 for the cheapest coffee, (1 Swiss Franc is almost the same as a US Dollar at $0.96)

I got to see my friend speak at a very old (400+ year) church and also another congregation who meet in a plain looking office type building too.

In town I came across a large and big Synagogue, which its own 24 hour security guard.   Normally you can go in there to visit, but it was shut over Christmas (!) as the security office wasn’t manned during the holidays.

My friend drove us to the outskirts of the city to see overhead from a hill.  There is an odd layer of fog over the city which is not that visible from the photo, Basel I think is just above sea level unlike the mountanous parts of Switzerland I visited later.

This was a tall old folly or castle which was about equvilant of a 4 story building, Matthew kind of gets a bit crazy standing up here!  I think contrary to Swiss being supposedly boring running banks and financial institutions, they treated the rugged parts of their country as a playground for skiing, snowboarding and lots of other outdoor sports they like the live dangerously!   and yes, they eat a lot of cheese and chocolate. 🙂

Although this might not seem in regular theme of my blog visiting bible places, this country gave me some interesting perspectives on my spiritual life, which I will explain soon…