Arrival in Switzerland
Trip Start Jul 15, 2015
19Trip End Aug 05, 2015
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So I flew to Detroit without ongoing boarding passes. I headed to the Delta Lounge where I had a three hour layover and where I hoped to pick up my boarding passes. They still couldn’t issue them; I would have to wait until I arrived at the gate. If it weren’t for the last minute, many things would not get done….
I was thankful that the boarding passes to Paris and Geneva were in fact delivered at the gate. I was seated next to a French woman who didn’t say a word to me during the whole flight other than responding to my greeting when she sat down. I only knew she was French from her accent when she spoke with the flight crew.
On arrival in Paris, I went through the usual formalities: locating the next departure gate and making my way there, while passing immigration and security along the way. When arriving from another country, one must go through security again even without leaving the flight side of the airport. I had time in the Air France lounge for two bottles of mineral water and a cappuccino, before it was time to board the plane for the hop to Geneva at the south-western tip of Switzerland.
I reserved a French car rather than a Swiss one because I will be dropping it in Bordeaux and that means leaving it in the same country in which I picked it up. International drop-offs raise the rental cost significantly. In my research for this trip, I found that to pick up the car on the Swiss side of the airport would have doubled the price. The only drawback would be not being sure of having the Swiss vignette sticker on the windshield. The vignette is how the Swiss charge tolls to use their highways. One pays 40 Francs, about 45 dollars, the sticker is placed prominently on the windshield and then one may use the highway for the whole year. This is a reasonable system for Swiss residents. For tourists it can be quite expensive. Even if one only uses the highways one time, it still costs 40 Francs.
When I arrived at the car I was happy to find the vignette on the windshield. Some other renter had paid for it. And I found rather than French plates, this car has Spanish license plates. This little VW had already come a long way, and I would be taking it back toward its home country, though not all the way. I also noticed Avis had kindly personalized the license plates with my initials, so I would not get it confused with any other black Golfs.
I drove through Ferney and on to nearby Saint Genis Pouilly where I had found an inexpensive room for the night. This French suburb of Geneva, along with the Swiss suburb Meyrin is one of the entry points for the giant underground CERN particle accelerator, the largest in the world. It has a circumference of 17 miles! I remembered reading British Astronomer Royal Martin Rees’s book Our Final Hour where he postulates that smashing subatomic particles together has a small chance of starting a chain reaction that would destroy the entire known universe. If that happened while I was in Saint Genis Pouilly at least I would be among the first to know….
I had a visit scheduled for the evening, but the man I was to visit had to cancel on short notice. So I was able to rest, get some work done on our soon-to-go-online French website, and will go to bed early.