Saturday, 19 November 2016

When A Dream Becomes Reality

Alert!!! Picture heavy post - proceed at own risk 😊.

Dreams come true. As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. Do you remember in this post when I talked about how much I wanted to visit Switzerland, which is my favorite country and how I wanted to visit the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva? Well, it happened and coincidentally exactly 1 year after I wrote the post. I was in Switzerland in October last month. I remember being on the flight to Geneva and wanting to pinch myself because I just couldn’t believe a long-time dream was just about to come true. So how did I end up going to Switzerland?

A few months ago I found out that I had a meeting in Winchester, England (well that’s another post right there). I decided to take advantage of being in England to travel to other parts of Europe since its cheaper to travel from England. I contacted my friend Grace who lives in Geneva, the one who invited me to her wedding years ago and I failed to make it and she and her family were happy to host me. I began to make preparation and once I got my Schengen Visa I was ready to go. 

Switzerland remains my favorite country, so yes it lived up to my expectations. I have to say though Geneva on its own was not too different from other big Schengen cities in countries like Sweden and Spain. But the small towns in Switzerland …my goodness, I was mesmerized. Some of the places looked like pictures on a post card, those kind of places you see in magazines and you wonder if they really exist. It was so so beautiful. I would love to go back again and spend more time in the mountains – with the stunning views and the fresh air. Let me not keep you in suspense, here are a few pictures for your enjoyment. This Part 1 will focus on just Geneva, I will have a separate post for the 2 days we went to the mountains. It took us 2 days to go around Geneva, the day I arrived and the day before I left.
On the plane - and so excited that I was less than 2 hours away from being in my favorite country in the world.
Managed to go to the Red Cross Museum. I would recommend it to anyone who goes to Geneva.

The Museum is very interactive something which I enjoyed. This was the room of the silent witnesses. 
Here is one of the witnesses sharing their story. They were in different room and you have to touch their hand and then they will start telling their story. Most of them are heart breaking.
They even had this painting of Nelson Mandela.
Grace and I were fascinated by this in the Museum. We both agreed we liked body type 3 or 4 but according to this most men like body type 5.
Although this picture is dark I like the view of one of the conference rooms in the Palais des Nations (were the UN is housed in Switzerland). Couldn't believe I had finally made it there.
Outside the Palais des Nations sitting on one of the stones on which names of countries are engraved.
Here is a picture of part of the Palais des Nations. I couldn't capture it all with my camera. The ball is the Woodrow Wilson Celestial Sphere. It stands for peace and dialogue. Wilson was America's 28th President.
Me standing among the flags of all UN members on the Palais des Nations.
This is the picture of the Broken Chair on the Palais des Nations. It symbolizes opposition to land mines and cluster bombs, and acts as a reminder to politicians and others visiting Geneva.
Isn't that Flower Clock just gorgeous?
The Magnificent St Peters Cathedral. I have a thing for churches and so I always try to visit old churches. Geneva has quite a number of interesting ones.

This is the Maison House which is the oldest house in Geneva. It was built in the 12th century by the Maison family.
This is were the tribunal of the famous Treaty of Washington met. On the agenda was the settlement process for the Alabama Claims which was a dispute between the UK and US governments during the American Civil War. Geneva is a  town rich in history I tell you.
A random picture.
After all the walking it was time for lunch. 
The Restaurant was inside one of the big parks.
The lunch was scrumptious!
Just had to play a game of chess after lunch. Couldn't resist since there were boards outside the restaurant in the park. A good way to work off the lunch😊
This a much smaller church than Saint Peters above. In this one we got to light candles and say a prayer.
I don't know why but love this picture of Grace holding the stroller of Baby M.
We even made it to the CERN which is the center of science.

Although it was just October, it already felt like Christmas in the shops.
My last night in Geneva, Grace and I went for a Ballet Show. Loved it. It was emotional, there were times I was so immersed in the stories emerging and it was like being in a dream. I so enjoy going to theater shows.

The performers taking a bow after a brilliant performance.
I am so grateful to Grace and her family for taking time to show me around. They drove me around and gave me a real Swiss experience. It was great to meet Grace’s 2 gorgeous children and see her husband again. And not to mention we did a bit of catching up too since we haven’t seen each other in 6 years. Thank God for good friends.

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