Friday afternoon a few of my teammates took me into Geneva to walk around, learn some of the history, and shop for new sneakers (I have lots of blisters from the old sneakers I’ve been wearing). Unfortunately a good pair of basketball shoes here are 200 chf, so I think I’ll be ordering online or having my family send me another pair from home. Geneva is a really interesting place. Right on the waterfront are a TON of very ritzy hotels; Geneva is a big international business area as well as a big tourist area, so there were more diverse people and a few more English-speakers than in my little town of Nyon.
As opposed to my trip alone to Lausanne, we successfully found a Starbucks and I enjoyed a caramel frappucino, one of my teammates treated me to Ladurée macaroons (YUM!), we took a hopper boat across Lake Geneva (where we saw a ‘water chicken,’ a bird I’ve never seen before), and the famous Jet d'Eau (a fountain that shoots water 140 meters in the air) on Lake Geneva.
My favorite part of the trip was when one of my teammates was telling me about some of the history of Geneva. I really appreciate it when my teammates try to speak English with me, and for our trip into Geneva they brought an English-French dictionary to help with some of the translation. As we were walking up an alleyway in the city, my teammate explained to me that on the night of Dec. 12, 1602 a man came to try to take over the city and climb it’s wall…it was the darkest night of the year. A woman poured soup from her cauldron on a man’s head and stopped the attack. Geneva’s slogan is “After the darkness, light” (Geneva will now forever be acquainted with "I Am Legend" in my mind). Now, while my teammate was struggling to explain this story to me, she also threw in that the woman’s pot was made of chocolate and had vegetables in it, when I questioned, “how come the chocolate pot doesn’t melt over the fire,” and asked “why vegetables?!?” she stuck with her description. I couldn't help but picture a bunch of people standing around a fire anxiously holding carrots, celery, and tomatoes in their hands while looking puzzled as their pot made of chocolate disappeared into the flames...
The joke ended up being on me. After going home and looking up the story to make sure I understood the history of Geneva correctly I realized that my teammates did an EXCELLENT job of translating this story for me. The celebration is called “l’Escalade,” and it commemorates the failed attempt of the Duke of Savoy trying to seize Geneva. During the celebration, confectioner’s sell “Marmite d’Escalade,” a small pot made of chocolate and filled with marzipan in honor of the housewife who took out a Savoyard soldier by dumping boiling soup on him. Kudos to my teammate for giving me such an accurate description! Also, now I know what I want to do on Dec. 12th this year…have some vegetables with chocolate :P.
I went back to Geneva on Saturday, finally got a café au lait (thanks KO), found out where a movie theater was, and went to see “The Town.” The movies are very expensive here (18 chf) as is most everything, although the popcorn was probably similarly priced to “The States” (which is now how I will refer to America). We have off Monday because it is a fasting holiday, but come Tuesday it’s opening game week and time to prepare for Saturday!