Monday, 10 December 2007

Geneva Fête de l'Escalade

On Saturday we went to Geneva for L'Escalade, which is pretty much the biggest event in the Geneva calendar. The event celebrates the defeat of troops sent by the Duke of Savoy, who tried to enter the city by climbing the walls using ladders (hence the name).

I had never been to Geneva, unless you count passing through on the train on the way to the Easyjet terminal. Linda had been a couple of times before, but only for job interviews so she too had not seen the city properly. Everywhere you read about Geneva makes it sound like a big disappointment, but we were both pleasantly surprised by its lively atmosphere and shops.

Top on my list of priorities was the jet d'eau, which is a giant jet of water (the world's tallest, apparently), which we could see all the way from Nyon when we lived there. I made an obligatory dash through the spray, despite the weather being somewhat chilly. In fact I only made it a short way in before deciding perhaps it wasn't a great idea to start the day off soaking wet.

Afterwards we wandered in towards the old town where the celebrations were being held. We didn't have to wait long before we found some of the events; the town was full of locals in traditional dress (and some in not-so-traditional dress).

The traditional food (always of primary importance) during l'escalade was ham off the bone (yummy), vin chaud (spicy hot red wine), and, to commemorate the old lady who offed an enemy soldier by pouring a pot of hot soup over his head, there was also pots made of chocolate and plenty of hot soup on offer. We bought a thick chunk of cheese on a slice of bread, which may not have been related to the events but was still appreciated in the cold weather.

We had a really fun day and night in Geneva, and I can see us going back for more visits. On top of everything else, I discovered the joy of taking fire photographs.

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