Monday, October 1, 2007


day 1-
2300: board a bus at the plaza de armas in sevilla. destination: madrid.
2400: the bus smells of BO and a strange man behind us keeps sucking air through his teeth,
making the world´s most disgusting noise. also, he has gotten up to smoke in the bathroom four times already. it´s only been an hour. his lungs must literally be black.
0455: awake to the bus finally arriving in madrid. estacion de sur. my god, it´s cold here.
0515: we sit and wait for the metro to open. people in this country must not be able to read. there are "fumar prohibido/no smoking" signs everywhere. everyone is smoking. it still smells like BO.
0600: the metro opens. we wander in, clueless as to our next step.
0615: we still can´t figure out what to do. we have purchased tickets from the machine. they don´t work. a bag lady gets through and holds the gate open for us.
0700: we arrive at barajas airport, madrid. walk for what literally must have been hours to get to our gate. this airport is unnecessarily large.
0830: board plane. destination: switzerland.
1045: step off plane in geneva, switzerland. it´s raining. it´s very cold. realize that i should have gotten that coat yesterday.
1115: try to figure out the train. we don´t speak french. are trying to put 50 swiss francs in the machine when a lovely little british man says, "come with me, i´ll help you." he uses his card to buy us tickets and we pay him back. he gets us to our platform and we make it to the city center. my love of the elderly is reaffirmed.
1245: arrive at saint pierre´s cathedral. the place where john calvin preached some of his most important sermons.
1330: after hundreds of steps, arrive at the top of the north tower. the view is worth it. lac lémac, nestled in the midst of mountains and a quaint city, looks haunting in the cold swiss rain. the mountains are covered by clouds so close it seems as though you could reach out and touch them.
1700: after some more exploring of the city, we check into our hostel. we´re all sick.
2045: wake up from our naps, shaking with cold, to find that the window has been left open. shower. bed.
day 2-
0245: awake in a cold sweat. my face is radiating heat, but the rest of my body is shaking with cold. i have a fever.
0400: awake wanting to rip my nine layers of clothing off for fear of combustion. i literally might catch on fire. my fever is breaking.
0830: awake, feeling somewhat better, but not 100%. go to breakfast and meet an old man from holland, who is fascinated by the fact that we´re american.
0930: the sun is shining! what a gorgeous day. more mountains are visible. we sit by lac lémac and take in the incredible surroundings.
1100: due to my instincts and savvy map reading skills, i get us to plan de planplains flea market. we browse for hours. we still don´t speak french, but it seems that most of the natives speak english, or spanish at the very least.
1330: still not feeling so hot. we decide to head to the country.
1400: catch a bus to mont saléve. we are determined to see some alps.
1500: ride the cable car to the top. a sliver of apls looms in the background.
1501: we decide to hike. my face is beginning to radiate again. onset of fever number 2. and i´m hiking a mountain.
1545: a clearing in the trees. the view literally takes my breath away.
1600: we decide to keep going for a better view.
1615: thank god we did. we walked right into a painting from a fairy tale book. i break into a little sound of music, as i feel it is only appropriate. we sit, enjoy the stunning view, and eat swiss chocolate. the air is fresh and crisp and there is no BO, no moped exhaust, no dog poop. only pure air. i feel like i might hurl, but it´s worth it.
1800: after exploring the town of saléve, also story book worthy, we head back to geneva.
1900: search desperately for cheap food. every café window we pass has a sign that says "french, french, french, blah, blah, blah...all for only 19 swiss fracs!" as though that´s a good deal. and these are the cheap places.
1945: finally find paninis for 8 CHF. not the best price, but at this point i literally don´t care. my fever is raging. i think my head might explode.
2100: walk back to the lake to see the jet de´eau lit up at night. it´s a fountain that shoots straight into the air at 124 mph. it´s pretty impressive.
2300: bed.
day 3-
0315: time to get up. our taxi comes at 0400.
0400: try to speak spanish to the taxi driver, praying that he´s actually taking us to the airport. i´m too tired to care either way.
0430: arrive at the airport to find out that our flight doesn´t actually leave at 0615, but at 0730 instead. we´re there at least an hour earlier than we need to be.
0730: repeat day one in reverse order, only this time without the metro issues.
2045: arrive to my house to find my señora cooking tortillas de españa. god bless this woman.
2400: bed, finally. and i´m no longer sick.

that´s right. i saw the alps.


Meagan said...

"19 swiss fracs" IS a bargain! Fracs have a street value comparable of next to nothing. It's like buying sandwiches with lint. Did you bring me back an alp? The current view out my window is terrible.

mama said...

Hi Jo,
Sounds like you had a good time in Geneva even though you were ill. Do hope and pray that you are doing better.
Would have loved to be with you as you broke into that clearing. I am sure it was beautiful. Would have enjoyed eating the swiss choc. even more. You know mama loves choc. Did you see anyone running around in ladderhousen or dancing around a may pole? Maybe next time. So thankful our God provided help when you needed it even if it was through the elderly. See we are a benefit to society at large!!
Pretty neat you got to stand where John Calvin expounded on the doctrines of grace!
Hope you got a lot of pics. as I don't think I will ever see the alps in person. Am sure that the photos can't do them justice though. Am sure that Julie Andrews had nothing on you when it came to singing "Sound of Music" you go you lil swiss miss.
Well have to run. Love you much and will be praying that you get your strength back after being sick. Better not tell maria you were sick she may bring out the mysterious clear drink or something even stronger to give you.Ha.
Mama loves.

cleyton. brasileiro. morando nos eua. pescador de ilusoes. said...

sounds pretty awesome. i'm back from india. you were cold, i was sweating like a whore in church for the last 2 weeks. i'm not sure what a whore would be doing in church for 2 weeks though. bless her soul. whoever she is. this is weird. i guess spanish omelets grow on ppl. i thought they tasted like... eggs and potatoes, which i think are the only ingredients. anyways... i'm always amazed by your european adventures.

Megs said...

sounds like a great adventure in Switzerland! minus the sickness part. I wouldn't mind a little Alps adventure right now.

Stay safe and have fun! <3

Janet said...

i'm doing all the confirmation work for CR right now... and beginning to get excited. with Homecoming behind me... the only thing i have to look forward to is seeing your beautiful face and going to costa rica

Angela said...

holy cow jo jo! switzerland! wow jealous am I. im so gald to hear that you are no longer sick and can therefor continue with your daily healthlyness. works cant express how much i want you and meg back! good grief! i visited Geneva (college that is) two weekends ago and it was not the same without you two. nothing too exciting going on here, work, work and more work, i currently have a cold (have had it since i began teaching) and im not sure if its truth or just my sickness but i keep hearing strange children laughter outside my window and its almost 10pm. yeahhhhhh i think i need to get to bed. i love you soo much and im praying for you daily! i love you!

bonnie said...

You are making the most of your visit. I doubt a year ago you would've imagined seeing so many things. What memories you are making. Megan is experiencing alot, too. In fact, she is even making an impact on the weather. Typhoon Karos is bearing down on Taiwan. Next stop, Xiamen,unless God swerves it more northward. Praying for that! Stay healthy and keep those reports coming.