Petty's family lives there.
On Christmas Day itself, after an extremely heavy breakfast consisting of fua gras, smoked salmon, toasts, parma ham and various types of French/Swiss cheeses, we were stuffed till we could hardly breathe. Lying on my mom-in-law's sofa, we looked as if we were about to doze off for the day. Seeing us in such a state of sluggishness, Petty suggested, "why don't we go to Geneva old town for a spin?"
I wasn't exactly thrilled about the idea as I'd been to Geneva many times. On two occasions I was there on business trip. But then I must admit I didn't spend much time there during each of my visits. And so I couldn't form an unbiased opinion about Geneva. My only impression was that Geneva was a messy place with lots of foreigners hanging around the city centre. Not a particularly good impression, right?
But Geneva old town is an entirely different world!
When we arrived at Geneva old town, I was struck dumb by what I'd seen as we were driving pass this church.
The Russian Orthodox Church
Topped with golden domes in the shape of huge onions, this beautiful 19th century Russian Orthodox Church left me speechless. "Stop the car! Stop the car!" At one click, I got myself the first photo of our trip to the old town.
My travel brochure told me that back in 1859, the tolerant Geneva Authority authorised the building of a church for the growing Russian Orthodox population in the city. The Grand Duchess Anna Fyodorovna who was the aunt of Queen Victoria and the sister-in-law of Tsar Alexander I, was at the time residing in Geneva. She funded the construction of the church. It was completed in 1866.
Not far away from the church, I found the majestic-looking The Museum of Art and History.
The Museum of Art and History
Designed by architect Marc Camoletti, the construction of The Museum of Art and History spanned over 7 years from 1903 to 1910. It was built as an encyclopedic museum housing Swiss and European arts and artifacts dating back to pre-historical times. It has by far the largest collection of Egyptian antiques in Switzerland.
As I was wandering around, I saw this bronze sculpture on the green field right in front of the museum.
I was wondering: Can it be Henry Moore? It CAN'T be Henry Moore right? I CAN'T be so fortunate that I just stumble upon Henry Moore as casually as this on a field in Geneva right? RIGHT? RIGHT? When I moved closer to the bronze figure, I noticed a small plaque with these words engraved on it: Reglining Figure Arch Leg H. Moore 1973.
OMG, IT IS INDEED THE WORK BY THE GREATEST ENGLISH SCULPTOR HENRY MOORE!!!
It's a shame the Geneva Authority has misspelled 'Reclining' as 'Reglining'.
At this point I was getting ecstatic and I called out for Petty and the kids to join me in my discovery. But they were nowhere to be found. By the time I caught up with them, they were standing in front of this mosaic fresco by Alexandre Cingria depicting Julius Caesar’s arrival in the city in 58 BC.
I suppose 58 BC was a time of utmost violence and turbulence. Do you notice, a coloured man, stripped naked, tied by the hands with a rope, watching the victorious parade by Caesar?
As we approached Place de la Taconnerie, we were confronted by a bronze sculpture of Prophet Jeremie by Auguste de Niederhäusern-Rodo.
Jeremie by Rodo
In front of the sculpture stands St. Peter's Cathedral. It is best known for the adopted home/church of John Calvin, one of the leaders of the protestant reformation.
In 1536, The Catholic Cathedral of St. Peter became a protestant church. John Calvin preached here from 1536 to 1564. During such time the cathedral became the guiding centre of Protestantism.
St. Peter's Cathedral
Construction on St. Peter's Cathedral began in 1160 and lasted 150 years. However, recent excavations on the site have revealed a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire.
Another corner of the Cathedral
One can't afford to visit Geneva without checking out its fashion scene. I am crazy about shoes. I found it difficult to drag myself away from this shop window.
Along Place de la Taconnerie, I came across this cute little cafe with warm dim light piercing through its window curtains. Given the weather condition, which was so damned cold, it was indeed a very seductive invitation for us to go in for a cup of hot chocolate!
I also found this antique shop selling artifacts from Byzantine and post Byzantine era. The shop window is so tiny it's befitting a scene from Gulliver's Travel.
And not forgetting this delicate-looking bronze sculpture in front of a main door.
Such intricate artwork. I quickly whipped out my camera for a picture.
Just as I was about to click on it, all of a sudden, I heard someone barking right next to my left ear, "IT'S SO BLOODY COLD! LET'S GET OUT OF HERE!!"
It was Petty. I could hardly understand why he was wearing leather jacket when the weather was so cold. What a killjoy. I haven't covered Geneva old town properly. But I can always come back.