From the tropics to the Alpine winter

Trip Start Jan 13, 2013
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18
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Trip End Feb 04, 2013


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Where I stayed
With a friend

Flag of Switzerland  , Bern,
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You may have thought this trip was over or almost, but it is not yet....

Last night the shuttle left the hotel at 6:15 pm, very early for a 10:40 pm flight, but it was the only shuttle time heading to the airport, so I took it. Check-in and formalities passed quickly; then I waited in the departure lounge until boarding time. The flight left on time and arrived on time in Paris, I was able to sleep about 3-4 hours. Leaving the plane in Paris the temperature difference was quite noticeable, from 90 degrees to 30 degrees (F) in a few hours.

I only had 50 minutes to make my connecting flight to Geneva, and for an international connection that's not really enough, but I rushed and was able to use the accelerated lanes for the passport check (that's one way in which advanced frequent flyer levels are helpful), so I made it with a few minutes to spare.

As we approached Switzerland we flew over the snow-capped Jura mountains, then turned south and made our approach to Geneva between the Jura and the Alps, right over Lake Neuchatel and then Lake Geneva. The Alps were majestic in their pristine blanket of snow. My suitcases arrived even though the connection time had been brief, I cleared customs with no problem, then picked up the rental car I has reserved, a new very-small model Volkswagen called an "Up." Driving out of the familiar airport, I made my way north on the highway as I have done probably hundreds of times before, retracing the path of our flight approach. I drove along the shores of Lake Geneva to my right, then crossed north west over to Lake Neuchatel.

I stopped at a Migro supermarket along the way and bought a chicken sandwich for lunch. I finally arrived shortly after lunch time at the house of an old friend, M. J.S. Giauque on the Diesse Plateau at an altitude of over 3000 feet. His wife, Mireille, died a little over a month ago, and I had been able to come to officiate for the funeral here in the region. I was glad to have the chance to make a follow-up visit to see how things were going and for us to spend an afternoon and an evening together.

We moved my luggage into the large old Swiss farmhouse, with snowy fields all around and white mountains in the distance. He offered me a cup of herb tea and we chatted and caught up on the news for an hour or so and then I went to have a short nap since I’d hadn’t slept enough on the flight from Abidjan. I was not surprised to see he was bearing up well in this trial, keeping his eyes on the promises we have in the Bible especially those about the resurrection. After my nap we talked some more until dinner time He is learning how to cook more than minimal meals now and prepared a very nice dinner of beef, carrots and mashed potatoes. We had a glass of Swiss Dole red wide to accompany it. Fruit salad with a touch of schnapps finished the meal off very nicely. 

After dinner I helped answer some questions he had about his laptop and using the Internet. Both are relatively new to him, but he’s learning quickly and I think enjoying it along with the inevitable frustrations of cutting one’s teeth on the cyber-world. The Internet is helping him stay in closer touch with other Church members, and he even posted a comment on this travel blog (which he reads using Google translate)  few days ago!
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Comments

Margaret Villaescusa on

So sorry to hear about Mr. Giauque's wife. We met them at the Feast in Orbey in 2011. I am so glad you were able to pay Mr. Giauque a visit.

Mary Hendren on

Hello Joel,

Your visit with M. Giauque sounds restful and reassuring. It is good to know he is bearing up under this sad trial. What a comforting picture--a nice meal and fellowhship, warm farmhouse, beautiful snowy landscape. We're thankful that M. Giauque will be able to keep in touch with others as he gains skill using the computer. We keep you in our prayers.

Regards,
Mary

Clyde Kilough on

What a trip this has been! Thanks as always for keeping us informed, entertained, inspired and moved by your posts. And thanks for your sacrifice, and Marjolaine's, in being gone so long and so often to serve God's people. Travel safely, and give our love and greetings to everyone you see.

Marguerite Evans on

Hi Joel,
So glad you were able to see Monsieur Giauque again. I"m sure he was uplifted by your visit, and thankful that you could also help him with computer issues. Hope he can soon communicate with others on FB or email since he is so isolated and now alone. Thanks for the updates you give us. Bonne continuation!

Tess Washington on

Hi Mr. Meeker, so good to read about your flight to Switzerland! Totally different climate and sceneries! Good to know about Mr. Giauque...its good that he is learning to use the computer which is a great tool for fellowshipping in the Church especially when one is so far away...get some sleep and rest...

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