Yesterday Jonny and I took a walk around a beautifully sunny (if cold and windy) central Geneva. Most of the architecture of central Geneva is quite bland, neither offensive nor inspiring, but the lake is the real star of this place. The color and contrasts of the lake, the sky, and the mountains are what make this place beautiful. I also started coming down with a cold, alas, so we decided to stay in for dinner. Jonathan cooked us a delicious chicken and a friend of his came over with soup and salad. It was a calm but lovely evening with good conversation. I have a fairly developed sore throat today, which is no fun, especially since I am traveling to Hamburg.
Yesterday was a beautiful Swiss day. Jonathan and I first took a walk along the creek behind his house, and I was amazed at how beautiful it was. It also posed a query I am often obsessed with in these kinds of places: Who pays for all this? The path and creek and forest stretch for miles and is meticulously maintained. Are these part of some municipal, canton or federal budgets that one’s high taxes pay for? This isn’t that hugely a populated area, and yet it must be very expensive to maintain. In any event, it was beautiful.
After our morning walk, we took a 2.5 hour drive to Basel. Jonathan had heard great things about the Gaugin show at the Fondation Beyeler, so we first went to that. The show was good, but a bit too crowded which made it difficult to appreciate the work. I did learn a few new interesting things about Gaugin, an artist I have never much cared for in the past. While I can’t say I suddenly love his work, I do have a greater appreciation for it after the show.
Following the show we drove into the center of the old town and had a really lovely walk around. Even though it was Easter and most everything was closed, the feel of the historic city, the river views, the winding streets and the crisp, sunny day made this my favorite part of the trip.
So, after a pretty hectic work-filled week in Marrakech, I flew to Geneva to spend Easter weekend with my friend Jonathan (who was in NYC a few weeks ago you may remember) as his husband Michael is out of town visiting friends of his own. Yesterday we had a lovely dinner and hung out in Geneva, while today we crossed the border into nearby France to visit a very cute little town called Annecy, full of history and wine and cheese and lots of rain. Still, it was a super charming place to walk around, and we had a lovely time. Then this evening we were invited to a delicious home cooked meal by Jonathan’s friend Richard, and now we are back home where I am endeavoring to not feel like the fat pig I am for all I have eaten today. In case you want the rundown between lunch and dinner, there was escargot and tartiflette and jambon cru (salt cured ham) and vin blanc and vin rouge and gnocchi and steak and mousse au chocolat and some kind of lemon tart, and of course several coffees.
Today we went on a little trip around the local wine country. We had an excellent lunch followed by some very nice wine tasting in beautiful surroundings. Apparently Swiss wines are known locally to be quite good but are not well known abroad because they are almost completely consumed domestically. So I bought a couple of bottles to take back with me to the US. At one of the wineries in particular we had a very good salesperson. She spent a lot of time talking about how to really bring out the flavor in the wine, how to roll it around the mouth, what foods each one would go with best. She clearly loves what she does and is very good at it. I especially liked that she dispensed with the flowery flavor words (chocolate, raspberry, etc) in favor of the experience of how to make the flavor penetrate, and then to allow one’s own judgment about likes or dislikes.
From Geneva weekend