Wednesday, March 8, 2017


We came to Geneva mainly because we thought it offered was the best train route out of Switzerland for Aix.  As such, we are only here for two nights which gives us one full day to explore.  For the first time, our hotel is not near the train station and is a bit out of the historic old town. We're not really certain how we came to choose this hotel with its hostel-like appearance.  But, it is clean, the staff friendly and the bed comfortable.

Old Town Geneva

We spent our one day exploring the Old Town where the St Pierre Cathedral, History Museum and oldest house in Geneva are located.  What I did not know is that Geneva played a significant role in the Protestant Reformation.  John Calvin preached here in the Cathedral.  Geneva became the unofficial capital of the Protestant movement, providing refuge for Protestant exiles from all over Europe.  I'll refrain here from commenting on the current attitude toward refuges in the USA.  But, I thought about it a lot today. 

The cherry trees are in blossom here.  We found them at the top of the Old Town in front of the Cathedral's archeological dig.  The dig has uncovered earlier church foundations back to the 1st century.  They are all exposed beneath the Cathedral and staging is set to allow a walk through.  The Cathedral is devoid of all statuary and ornamentation, stripped bare by the Reformation. Only the stained glass remains from the Catholic period.  The Cathedral today belongs to the Reformed Protestant Church of Geneva.  

International Monument to the Reformation

Maison Tavel is the oldest private residence in Geneva. Today the city owns the building where it is home to the Museum of Urban History and Daily Life.  The most significant pieces I found here were two bibles from the Reformation period.  One, at least 12 inches thick was bound on 2 sides with leather and straps. It was distorted from being hidden and had the appearance of brown driftwood.  The other was a miniature the size of a small pill box that was hidden in the hair of a woman. 

We ended our Geneva day in the Parc des Bastions where there are giant chess board games played on the ground.  And, where the Reformation wall is built into the old city walls.   
Pictures at flickr.