Sunday, 2 September 2012

Home again home again.....

Yes we are home again, back in Muscat. We arrived a few days ago, getting in a couple of hours late because the pilot stalled the engine at a red light in Abu Dhabi.  And well by the time they got it restarted and checked out again landing time had slipped from 9 to 11. Making what would have been a reasonable off the plane and home to bed a rather late off to home, chill a bit and then off to bed.

It is kinda nice being home and somehow the mosque calls ringing out over the neighbourhood are a pleasant reminder that we are in fact home.

So what happened on the rest of our trip, welllllllllllllllllllllllll

Dijon, was so picturesque and we had a great time wandering up and down the banner infested street looking at all the fabulous buildings and so on.  unfortunately the museum at one end of the Ducal palace was closed for renovations. Sigh!  It must have had some good stuff in there as my experience is that if a museum is under renovation or closed when I come to town that's cos it's got the best stuff in it!  Grump.

So off we wandered down the street and bumped straight (well almost straight) into a pair of cathedrals. One of them has been disused for a couple of centuries or so and so, following some pretty severe desecration in the French Revolution.  None the less in we wandered to find a functioning art space set up around the slowly being renovated interior.  Huge industrial strength wooden beams have been set up to stop the arches falling in.  Sadly off in one corner lies the rather large remnants of a baptismal font.
Cathedral repairs under-way

From there we wandered across the street to the functioning, gargoyle clad cathedral.  Lots of late 17th century stuff in here........  Wandered around took some pictures and then Katrina got all excited, it seems that under the Cathedral is an 11th century crypt, which we could go see. How often does an Australian get to look in a crypt? let alone one this old with a genuine saints coffin included!  So down the stairs we duly clomped and around the rather atmospheric crypt we peered. All very interesting and given what is left of the original colours it must have been spectacular in its heyday.
Katrina of the Catacombs

And then all to soon the TGV train to Switzerland beckoned and we were away again, leaving the city of mustard behind.

Ahh Switzerland the home of bankers, international diplomacy, fabulous scenery and the second best chocolate in the world!

We trained it into Geneva, via Lausanne and with the help of a taxi found our way to Kiriel's landing where we gladly stopped and dragging out the tablet watched QI until Kiriel made her way home from work. This was to be home for the next week, Kiriel's pull out couch bed!
Mont Blanc takes a peek, just to be sure Geneva survived us.

There is really too much to tell about Switzerland and surrounds, well the French claim part of the shore of Lake Geneva and in these French areas the red and white Swiss flag is flown at least as proudly as the tricolour. Where did we go well Annecy is pretty spectacular, set in the Alps and as is almost every other town in the region, on a lake shore. Montreaux (on a lake shore) boasts the utterly spectacular Chateau Chillon which we spent half a day at after the GPS had us drive Kiriel's little Toyota all the way around lake Geneva.
Just one of the fireplaces, rather modestly decorated..

And then we were off to Basel for the real reason of the trip the wedding of Christoph (and Monika), who had lived in Canberra some time ago when studying at the ANU and had rented house space from..... Kiriel.  Interesting wedding, a civil ceremony in a hall above a sled and coach museum followed by a reception at a 12th century castle which overlooked the whole valley that Basel nestles into.  Mmm Mmmm Mmmmmm.
Berg Reichenstein, 12c Castle and 21st C reception venue par excellence.

As a side note apparently marriages in Switzerland are not legal unless they have had a civil ceremony, whether a church wedding is involved or not is apparently immaterial. And as another interesting side point all churches are referred to as cults! So Cafe Cult is a perfectly nice coffee shop in the grounds of a church.

But I digress, after the wedding we hotfooted it back to Geneva via a rather spectacular stronghold and medieval city, a Roman Ampitheatre and accompanying city bits and one of the most spectacular sunsets we had ever seen.  Quiet days beckoned, kind of.
Avenches amphitheater - which as you can see from the temporary seating is still used.

Monday was a relax and down time day and Tuesday we explored Geneva by bicycle. Katrina swears she is never going cycling with me ever again!  A ride around the city parts of the lake took us down to the confluence of the Rhone river (Lake Geneva outlet) and the L'Arve river which comes out of France. The Rhone is crystal clear and the L'Arve a kind of milky white. Not seen anything like that before, have a look on Google maps and you will see the difference. Unfortunately the cycle path got rather undulating on that leg and by the time we decided this is no place for bicycles, it was damned if you do and damned if you don't so we continued.  Just when Katrina thought there could be no more up, there was! I may not have helped things by reminding her that "well we were in the Alps after all!"  Even a cold beer and coffee waiting at the pub atop the climb was not enough.
The Rhone and the L'Arve meet

And that night we farewelled Kiriel as the airport beckoned at a totally unreasonable hour of the morning.....

No comments:

Post a Comment