From the Alps to the Riviera
25-28 November 1999

Thanksgiving by Lac Leman -- Instead of turkey, I was grateful for a plate of grilled octopus tentacles at a cozy Portuguese cafe, within 1km of the Cornavin train station in Geneva.   


I probably wouldn't have ordered it had I understood the menu, but the chef nodded most approvingly upon my choice, since it was his specialty. Intriguingly marinated and grilled to a firm yet tender consistency with charred edges, I enjoyed it very much, all the more so because my host kept pouring port into my glass.

I had another lesson in Latin dining the following evening. 

Pining for a plate of pasta, I knocked on the door of an Italian eatery at 6:00 pm. I was seated and given a carafe of chianti and some bread, but nothing more for at least an hour, during which the entire restaurant staff sat properly around a long table to have their meal. The regular customers did not start arriving until 8:00 pm or so, and many did not order right away, preferring to converse with friends over many glasses of wine.

The lasagna was worth the wait.

Over-indulgence must be checked, however.  By re-crossing the Swiss border at about 1:30 am, this foreigner had apparently broken an implicit curfew.  The guards kept me at the checkpoint for nearly twenty minutes before returning my U.S. passport.

Do not believe in stereotypes.  Throughout this hasty excursion, every French-speaking person I met -- at the fuel station, atop the Alps or in a cafe, be he or she Gallic, Iraqi or Libyan -- was polite and kind.  I would have lost my new digital camera at Chamonix without them.

Gear - Canon Pro70 Digital, Nikon F100 with f2.8 28mm and f2.8 35-70mm zoom, and Hasselblad Cx with Zeiss f2.8 80mm lens.
Base - Geneva, Switzerland
bulletAiguille du Midi, Chamonix-Mont Blanc
bulletAutoroute d'Blanche, Haute-Alpes
bulletLa Casino de Monte Carlo, Monaco
bulletÉglise de Notre Dame, Genève, Suisse
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