60 Years Ago Today

Saturday, 12 July 1952:

The bed was almost as good as Zermatt’s bed and I didn’t want to get up for a second day in a row. Besides nobody had knocked on our door. I quickly ran down to the WC and got lost on the way back. This hotel had more hallways than I could imagine. Everybody else had their bags down in the lobby except “I.”

Finally, I was ready. I madly dashed out the door and ran down the hall. Five minutes later I think I took the wrong path. I didn’t even come to the elevators, but instead found cement stairs. So hoping to save time by not retracing my steps I charged down the stairs and ended up in the laundry. A little maid showed me the way out.

Upstairs again I finally found the street but what street! I took off in the direction of what I supposed was the lake. Then one block later I was on the street in front of the hotel. The gang was coming down the sidewalk on the other side of the street. A nice man said, “Didn’t you stay here last night?” and told me “I’ll be back in a minute to help you with that bag.” But I couldn’t wait. Herr Rogers and Alicia were standing by the bus waiting. Dot helped me carry my suitcase the last mile. Alicia had gone back to try and find me.

We drove by a large lake boat to Geneva. Alicia was out foraging for food. So I ended up with two oranges and a roll for breakfast. However after getting on the boat, we found out they were serving breakfast. So before long, I found myself downstairs eating more breakfast. I had hot milk, ham and eggs baked in a casserole, and bread. It was delicious to say the least.
Back on deck, I raved so much about it that some of the other kids decided they were hungry. When they returned and we compared notes, we discovered they had eaten in the first class dining room. It cost 1 franc more for the same meal.

The scenery was superb all around the lake as we stopped at each lakeside town. We were impressed with the beautiful fountain in Lausanne on our way to Geneva. Lac Leman was also known as Lake Geneva. Andre was waiting for us when we landed at the Promenade du Lac. There was a beautiful park and monument.

Then we arrived at the Hotel Residence which had a nice dining room and lobby. My room 139 was on the 5th floor. It had a balcony and a bathroom at the end of the hall that I made immediate use of. Then I felt like a new woman! I helped Dick by fitting his pants on him so I could fix them. Afterwards I did my washing and organizing.

Next I was off to do some shopping for food. Geneva had nice clean shops. Soon after we had a banquet for 3.50 francs each. Alicia took a can of tuna down to the kitchen to get it opened, and it turned out to be quite the operation.

We were off to see the town of Geneva at 5:30 p.m. We found out the shops were closed. As we tried to find Promenade du Lac, we lost our way and ended up at Promenade du Bastian. In our journey we saw a grade school with a statue of Donald Duck and the headquarters of the American Red Cross. We found an open door and music at De l’ Athenee. Then we snuck a peek in a room filled with paintings by very young artists.

Afterwards, we caught sight of little minnows swimming in a pond in front of the Monument de la Reformation. We discovered statues and bas-reliefs showing the steps in the Reformation process and those who brought it about. It featured documents such as the Bill of Rights, the Mayflower Compact and the Lord’s Prayer. There were large statues of Calvin, Foral, Breze and Knox, who were four great leaders of the Reformation as well as Cromwell and Roger Williams. I took pictures of people from India in front of this monument.

Soon after I spotted a statue of Antoine Carter in front of the University of Geneva. At the University we passed through the library and Musee d’Histoire Naturelle. Inside the library of the University we discovered a notice for U.S. GI’s to pick up their checks. There was a fence around the University campus or at least part of it.

I took pictures of the pond in front of Dufour’s statues which is across from the Musee Rath at Place Neuve. As we continued the tour at the Grand Opera Conservatory of Music, Alicia lost her talk for church tomorrow. I spied a Plaque Republic of Geneva on a wall built in 1600 a.d. Everything was closed up. This was really different. Then we moved on to Pont de l’Ile with its old tower from 1700’s a.d. I attempted a conversation with a waiter to find out about it. He told me Philibert Berthelier, a Swiss patriot, was decapitated here. There were historical pictures in charcoal on burlap that decorated the walls of the bar. We wandered down the river bank.

Hunger pangs were rising again, but I had to think of the budget. Then I spotted fish swarming below the bridge on Rousseau Island. At the other side of this bridge we finally located the Promenade de Lac where the concert was scheduled to be held later that night. Before the concert, we had to find food else we would never enjoy said concert.

We priced several restaurants, but they seemed a little high. After talking to a waiter at an expensive restaurant, we got some directions for a good economical restaurant. We set out to search and found the street, but I’ll be damned if that restaurant was there. After awhile we gave up and tried to find our way back to one café that seemed to be within the higher limits of our budget.

We ran across an old tower that we had passed previously. We nabbed onto it as a landmark. Funny thing how they build the new building right over the old building. After wandering around a couple of blocks we sighted Herr Watkins in a café right next to the one we were trying to find. He had just finished a light lunch, because he had indulged with too many souvenirs. Herr said he was still hungry, but would cinch up his belt instead of eating. He had eaten in the café next door for lunch and recommended it.

We tried to sit down in the fore part of the café, but when we mentioned dinner they ushered us into the dining room with table cloths. By leaving off one course we had a delicious dinner and twice as much as we could eat for 5 francs plus tip. We had to leave a big plate of french fries, large piece of roast beef, and a roll.

With a little encouragement from Alicia and a reminder that after all she had gotten the tuna opened via the bellboy, kitchen, and scullery. I asked the waiter for a napkin to wrap up the piece of meat and roll sandwich since we had decided to take it back to Herr Watkins. A lady and man nearby had a fit. Dessert by the way was the most delicious I had experienced—sherbert, fresh strawberries and cream. Emptier stomachs to enjoy it on would have been the only thing that could have improved the dessert.

We rushed over to the concert slightly late. In fact, when we sighted two seats and sat down, the fellow sitting next told us there was only one number left by Rimsky Korsakov. We discovered afterwards that audience members on the sit down seats were supposed to pay. The fellow next to us made a remark to this effect, but it was hardly worth it for one number. We were not accosted for money, so we didn’t pay.

The gentleman asked us where we were from? When Alicia said BYU in Provo, Utah, he asked if we were Mormons. We were quite amazed that he had even heard about the Mormons. He explained that he was a theology student and had studied about us. He had met male members of our church, but not any Mormon women.

We ran into part of our group after the concert and went window shopping. Then we found our way home via the tracks. Just when we thought surely we were lost and we had gone too far, there ahead of us sat our pretty blue bus. We were lost no more. I said good night to the fish aquarium by the kitchen and started to fix Dick’s pants after crawling into bed. Lights went out and I coughed myself to sleep.

Side note about Switzerland, streetside “dealies” were thankfully much more modest than in Italy and France.

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