Show Me Something Old

29 01 2014

I am instantly drawn to cobblestones.  I don’t know what it is, but when I see those uneven, sometimes jagged, stones pieced together in a mismatched puzzle, all I think is – that is where I need to go.  Those who know me, know that I am not the most sure-footed, a trip or two is commonplace, and perhaps uneven streets are not the safest place for me to be.  But I don’t care – I love Old Towns!

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My first look at Geneva took us from the airport through downtown Geneva passing lit up stores with ‘soldes, soldes, soldes‘ signs – all of the January sales, restaurants with their specialties written on A-frame signs, and patisseries, chocolatiers, and an assortment of other tempting destinations, but as soon as I saw a narrow alley inlaid with mismatched cobblestones leading to a steep staircase, I told my sister – that’s where I want to go.

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I had an hour and a half to myself while my sister was in French class and I pointed myself in the direction of those cobblestones.  I found this stairway that was hidden in a wall and it was so dark that all you could see was the light at the top shining down on you.  And of course, I said to myself, ‘this looks like a good place to start my adventures’.  So I climbed those steps to find myself on the backside of Cathedral St. Pierre – the crown jewel of Old Town.

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So I started my trek through the small side streets.  The Cathedral was definitely my prime destination, but then I found myself distracted by what was just around the corner, down that side street, under that bridge, through that courtyard, and most importantly, where are those people going and where did they come from? 

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I knew I was running out of time and when I saw this directional sign, I thought, ‘yes – which way to the Cathedral’.  So off I went, but then I thought…. Maison Tavel, and from what I remembered from the Geneva City App – that was a ‘must-see’ attraction.  So my rationale was – I’m right here, so why don’t I take the tour (it’s free!) and I have to go past the Cathedral to get back to meet my sister for lunch anyway…..

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Well, I made a friend at Maison Tavel.  The docent greeted me, and once I said, ‘parlez-vous anglais?’ did his best to provide me with all of the great things to see and explore at Maison Tavel – the oldest private dwelling in Geneva and a unique example of medieval civil architecture.  Plus, he kept finding me throughout my tour to give me more information about all of the other museums and attractions to see in Geneva – he even drew me a map.

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By the time I left I knew I was out of time.  I found myself skirting around the Cathedral but still I couldn’t seem to find the front of the Cathedral, just wandered around in the back yard before finding my hidden staircase in the wall.

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When I met my sister, she looked at me incredulously, ‘what?  You didn’t go to the Cathedral – but that’s the main part of Old Town.  How did you not find it?’ 

I have one more week here in Geneva so my one goal is to find that Cathedral – and actually see it, maybe even go inside…..And also, get some french macaroons.

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