I started my day at the Horloge Fleurie, the famous Flower Clock here in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Flower Clock is regularly replanted with 6,500 plants to cover the 16-square-foot surface. The configuration of the flowers and numbers regularly changes. You can see other Flower Clock configurations here. This season’s clock is planted with primroses and numbers scattered outside the typical circular bounds. Yes, the clock is accurate.
The Swiss planted the working floral clock in 1955 as yet another reminder that all visitors are required to purchase at least one watch prior to leaving Switzerland. Other reminders include the picture on your hotel room door key, all displays in all hotel lobbies, all banners on all light posts around town, names of famous watch brands atop all the tallest Geneva buildings, even clockwork innards springing out from all the animals on the local children’s carousel. Every other store sells luxurious bejeweled watches and all Geneva residents are required to wear at least one Swiss-made watch. If one cannot afford an expensive Swiss watch, there is always the Swatch watch, of which there are plenty.
In Geneva’s Old Town, the Vieille Ville, there are tightly packed galleries, cafes and boutiques that cater to highly specialized tastes. There is an antiques store that only sells scientific instruments. In one sparsely decorated gallery hung a couple dozen 8” to 12” animal sculptures made from raffia, twigs and other natural materials. Antique print and bookshops abound. Occasionally you’ll stumble across a more contemporary gallery, such as the one that sells some sort of robot prints. (I didn’t get it.)
I finally headed down to the main shopping district on the Right Bank, where I stumbled onto Globus, a multi-story department store. Good thing, too, since I needed a new umbrella. My Wal-Mart Totes umbrella busted on the first day of my visit, leaving me a bit soggy. But while I was there, I ambled down to the basement where the gourmet foodstuffs were displayed. Why do the big stores always put food in the basement? Have you noticed that?
Anyway, I found some very nice teas, including a beautiful hibiscus tea that will probably taste like dirt. I also found some tiny little mixed flower teas in beautiful mesh bags. If I didn’t know they were teas I would think I was supposed to plant them.Oh, and I picked up a couple of Swiss chocolate bars just in case there was a food emergency in my hotel room.
Since I had walked approximately 1,115 miles already today, I decided to sit down for a while on a boat cruise of the lake. It was a lovely 50-minute tour during which I understood not one word of the recorded narration. I didn’t care. The sun had finally come from behind the clouds, the air was warm and my feet were tired.
There is more rain ahead and the hotel concierge, Francoise, tells me I must make the most of the day tomorrow before the rains return in earnest on Monday. So I really must go and work on decoding the shower faucets now. After three days I am still using the trial and error method to regulate the water temperature. Apparently you need a Swiss engineering degree to operate Swiss plumbing. To complicate matters further, they seem to operate on the VTS (Variable Temperature System), which requires that the shower water temperature fluctuate +/- 10 degrees while you are standing under the stream.
My clients have all rushed back to the States for soccer games, baseball games and to frazzled mothers of infants. They, apparently, are at a different life-stage than I am. I can linger, but I’m all alone. My guys could not get off from work or school to play. And while I miss my guys, my little dogs and my garden, I’m not really suffering too badly. And there are always the chocolate bars I have for such emergencies.