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Breakfast in the hotel is on the eighth floor with a panoramic view of Geneva. In the distance you can see the towers of the Cathedral St Pierre, a green copper tower flanked by two stone ones.

The hotel also has the world’s biggest mechanical clock – it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The pendulum stretches from the eighth floor, where the clock is,

right down to the lobby.

We headed out on this overcast day to Lake Geneva – finally the Jet d’Eau was on! Third time lucky – I was very pleased!

We passed the Jardin des Anglais and the floral clock – it didn’t look too bad considering it was winter.

We wandered up into the old town.

It was very picturesque.

Here you can see two different flags. The flag of the Canton of Geneva features an imperial eagle and the key of St Peter. The Swiss flag, the white cross on a red background, is one of only two square flags of a sovereign state, the other being the Vatican’s. The symbol for the Red Cross is the reverse of the colours of the Swiss flag. This is to honour Switzerland as the Red Cross symbol was first declared as a universal sign of protection at the Geneva Convention of 1864.

We spent some time in the Cathedral St Pierre. It belongs to the Swiss Reformed church.

John Calvin spent time in Geneva and this is the chair he used.

It has a very austere interior.

Medieval wood carving in the choirs.

A small chapel to the right of the main church is much more colourful and flamboyantly Gothic.

It reminded us of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris.

We then spent a fascinating hour under the cathedral. There has recently been an extensive archaeological excavation under the building. Rather than cover it over again the cathedral floor was rebuilt on steel girders and concrete so that visitors can explore the site. It traces the site right back to pre-Christian days.

In about 100 BC this man was buried here. He was a tribal leader and his funeral mound became a site of worship for the tribes-people.

Eventually other buildings covered the site but it was always used as a sacred place.

Early Christian churches were built on the site too. Here is the Bishop’s reception room with wonderful mosaic tiles.

It was incredible to see how the site had developed over the millennia and what lay in the strata beneath this 16th century building.

Afterwards we continued our walk. Here is the town hall and what was the central market place under the cover of the arches.

We also visited Maison Tavel, a grand family home that dates back to the 12th century. It is now a museum dedicated to Geneva’s urban history and domestic life. On the top floor was an enormous model made from copper and zinc of Geneva in 1850 when it was still a walled city. I couldn’t take any photographs but the model was about three or four metres in diameter and featured every building in minute detail. Absolutely amazing.

It was our last night in Geneva so we had dinner and then said our goodbyes. Michelle and Margaret’s train to Nice was leaving at 6:40 the next morning. We had had a terrific time in Switzerland.

My plane was leaving at three o’clock in the afternoon, so I had the Saturday morning in Geneva too. I decided to look around the large flea market that is held on Saturdays at the Plaine de Plainpalais. I didn’t buy anything though but was tempted by some albums of vintage postcards.

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