Confoederatio Helvetica

Trip Start Sep 15, 2011
Trip End Oct 21, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Switzerland  , Zürich,
Thursday, October 6, 2011

This morning I woke up over central France. The flight left last night on time at 21:40. It was very full, hardly any empty seats. I learned a little more patience due to the traveler next to me, who again didn't have a western space-expectation envelope. He was often on my side of the armrest, elbows spread, legs spread, and it didn’t bother him at all a bit to be pressed against me. There was no malice in it, just a cultural variant, so there wasn’t much to do except ponder cultural differences and the wonderfully enlightening aspects of international travel….

I had already eaten dinner, so I didn’t need to stay up for it. I was able to get three or four hours of sleep, which is pretty good for a six-hour flight. We landed in the pre-dawn darkness of Paris. Switzerland, where I was going, is now in the "Schengen area" – European countries that cooperate on immigration formalities. That means you can clear immigration in France and not have to clear them again on arrival in Switzerland. So I had to stand in line to have my passport stamped by the French authorities, and then pick up my suitcase and formally leave the transit zone and enter France. I took a shuttle bus from Terminal 2 C which seems to be the “African terminal” to 2 G which is quite far from the rest of the terminal and services small business-jet type planes. This plane was full too, but it was only a short flight to Zurich. My trip takes me to Zurich so I can pick up my father who will keep the Feast with us in France and who has agreed to speak in Switzerland for Atonement. Zurich was the most convenient meeting point.

My suitcase arrived as hoped. I bought a train ticket to the stop where the hotel was located and rode to Oerlikon. It was in the low 50s F (about 10-11 C) when I left the train. The hotel was within walking distance, so once I got oriented I pulled my suitcase and computer bag for about two blocks and entered the lobby. It was 10:30 by this time, and no rooms were ready. They wouldn’t be until early afternoon.

I checked my bags at the desk, took my cameras and walked back to the train station, but rather than take the train, I took the tram, which moves more slowly and always above ground, so I could have a look at Zurich which isn’t a city I know particularly well. I’ve been through it several times over the years but always on business or on the way to somewhere else, so I never had time to look around much. I took the tram all the way to the lake. The sun was coming out from behind the clouds and the day began to turn very beautiful. Swiss lakes are always beautiful as is the countryside surrounding them.

I took some photos of the lake, then walked over to a hotel where my parents went on their honeymoon, after they were married just north of London. It's still a beautiful and romantic hotel, set right on the lake. I took a long walk through the old parts of the city, where some of the streets and buildings are 600 years old or more. Julius Caesar came through Switzerland during his wars with the Gauls. It’s likely some of these streets were already traced then, in the first century BC.

The old streets and restored buildings are charming. At noon I saw many people were sitting in the sun eating a sandwich or other picnic food. They were enjoying an autumn day, when it is still warm enough to eat outside. I decided to do the same; I picked a little Italian restaurant on one of the pedestrian streets in the old city and sat down to order a pizza, it was warm enough to eat outside, even in the shade. I probably won’t have that chance again on this trip.

After lunch I made my way back to the hotel and was able to check in. I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon catching up on office work.
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Karen Deaton on

Wonderful! Just so wonderful! Your blogs are enjoyed - and it takes us there! Right there! You have an excellent way of sharing what you see, feel, hear, smell, etc. We appreciate what you do and enjoy you bringing your experiences to us as well! Have a good and meaningful upcoming Atonement, Feast and Last Great Day! You remain in our prayers.

Lonnie G. on

Great blog and thank you for the pictures and taking the time to keep us up to date on the trip. You have a wonderful Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles. Greet your dad for me. I have been able to visit with your parents Columbea, MO from time to time.

Fiona Meeker on

Hey Dad, I'm so glad you made it safely out of Africa and can enjoy being back in Switzerland. Wish I was there with you to enjoy a raclette :) Love you!

Robert Worsham on

Quite a contrast between Switzerland and Africa, isn't it? :-) Thank you so much for your travel blog posts. Your descriptions of your journeys make us feel as if we're traveling right along with you and I find myself yearning for your next post to see what happens next. :-) Again, thank you Mr. Meeker, take care and have an inspiring Atonement and joyous Feast.

jpvernaud on

Nous vous souhaitons une bonne journée et un très bon voyage jusqu'à Genève, nous nous réjouissons de vous voir demain à notre domicile pour l'Assemblée des Expiations.
Salutations fraternelles.
Famille Vernaud

S Faith on

Greetings again Joel,
Thank you for bringing us along on this excursion through Africa and thank you for all you do there with the brethren. One day we will get to meet them and enjoy each other. By now your father has probably arrived and you're enjoying each other's company. Please tell him hello for us. We will miss him here at home and at the Feast this year. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you for a great inspiring and joyful Feast. Looking forward to seeing you again one of these days. Shelby and Bill

Karen Collins on

Thank you so much for sharing your travels with us. I means a lot to be able to connect with our brethren around the world in this way. Thank you for the beautiful pictures. My prayers are with you.

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