Sunday, June 11, 2017

Travel’s Blessings ~ Sunday Serendipity in Geneva

Serendipity - the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

It is a post-card perfect Sunday afternoon in Geneva, Switzerland. Mont Blanc towers in the distance and Lake Geneva has drawn thousands of local and visiting sun-worshippers on this perfect June day.
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Lake Geneva 

We didn’t head to the lake though. We went  to church. Not the ‘walk in and admire the architecture’ kind of ‘go to church’, I am talking the ‘sit down and stay awhile’ kind.
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Geneva, Switzerland
If a traveler were going to go to church, Geneva, known today as the ‘Protestant Rome” would be a good city in which to do it  - there are more than 140 places of worship from which to choose. There’s even an International Museum of the Reformation here which chronicals the Protestant church reformation.
But that’s not why we went to church.  It was the serendipity of travel that took us to church:
Several years ago while at our Hawaiian timeshare, Ko Olina on O’ahu, we attended an owners ‘meet and greet’. It turns out that several sets of owners come back ‘same time each year’ as we do. And as result of that introductory gathering several of us have become friends. We socialize when together in Hawaii and stay in touch in between. 
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Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva
One set of KoOlina friends have told us about their son and his family living in Geneva.  He is the minister at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva, which is located on one of the prettiest plazas in the old town. So the serendipity of that chance meeting in Hawaii years ago led us to church this morning in Geneva. We were attending the service conducted by our friends' son.
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Children's choir and Rev. Andrew Willis

Had we not gone, we would have missed one of the richest travel experiences we’ve ever had. The congregation was a reflection of the the United Nations headquarters here (the second largest of the organizations four headquarters) – the music and the praise a mix of cultural richness.
Reamo lebogaWe give our thanks to God.
We sang the hymn using the words of Botswana, another hymn was from Namibia another was an English folk tune, and another a Medieval French melody.   
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Gathering for communion
The visitors were equally as culturally and ethnically mixed. As we introduced ourselves to the congregation we learned there was a group from Australia seated behind us, a Jazz singer (here for an upcoming festival) from Chicago, a grandmother from Ghana here visiting her grandchildren and several folks who were in town for work at the World Council of Churches.
As we left, I lamented to The Scout that I wish I lived closer – I’d likely be a regular at this worship service. 
But we were not quite done with serendipity it turned out. . .
We strolled through the plaza in front of the church, then around a corner and found ourselves at the Geneva Street Food Festival – a once a year, one-day food and drink fest that we were lucky enough to happen upon. Serendipity, I tell you! 
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Our lunch a Palestinian dish
It was tough to decide between Italian, Asian, French, vegan, meat bbq, gourmet hot dogs, and everything in between but we finally chose Middle Eastern, Palestinian food to be exact. 
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Wish they'd drive to Greece
Had it been a bit later in the day I’d have indulged in one of my favorites, an Aperol Spritz!
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Smoked salmon -- Northwest style?
Or the offerings of the chef in the converted school bus. . .
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Old school buses never die. . .

On that note we are off to make the most of our last evening in Geneva. Our whirlwind trip ends tomorrow when we head home to Greece.  Hope that your travels -- like ours - have been blessed with a bit of serendipity. And as always our thanks for being with us on this adventure!
Linking this week with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration





























31 comments:

  1. What a day! Fabulous.
    Enjoy your trip HOME to Greece.

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    1. I think we will. . .and it is nice to know we have another two weeks there!

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  2. I've really enjoyed your visit to Switzerland, and this was a great send off from Switzerland. If you haven't been yet you must go back and visit the incredible state museum in Zurich. We spent more time in the other cities than we did in Geneva, I think but mostly we were driving the countryside. It's all great. As my then teen-son said, "This whole country is a postcard."

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    1. Your son nailed it! We've already said several times we need to come and spend more time exploring this stunning area of the earth!

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  3. What a great day - serendipity yes, but also serendipity you worked for by taking the time to get to know your neighbors in Hawaii! Not everyone takes the time to do that.

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    1. We keep telling ourselves that 'timeshare sales people' really are missing a major selling point and this is the world of friends you can make. . .we all look forward to returning, 'the same time next year'!! Thanks for commenting Cindy!

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  4. Geneva - like all of Switzerland - is such a delight to explore. Thank you for the reminder. Just add serendipity, wine and cheese. Perfect!

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    1. Yes, expensive wine and cheese, but it was definitely a delight! We look forward to returning to Geneva on our way back to the States the end of this month.

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  5. Travel definitely increases the chance of serendipitous occurrences --- like the time we ran into a friend from Philly on a little side street in Cuzco, Peru. What were the chances? Who have we serendipitously not run into because they're walking down a different side street? Or, how about being on Oahu the same week as some people you've been wanting to meet IRL when neither of you lives there? ��

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    1. I hear you. . .and to get to sip Frozen MaiTais with those friends you meet IRL. . .hopefully our paths will again cross!

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  6. Sounds like you don't have to walk far to bump into a church in Geneva! Usually I shy away from organized religion but your friend's church sounds like it welcomes a diverse population and practices spreading joy, which we can all use more of. I would have loved to have heard the singing. As for serendipity - travel seems to open so many doors for the "right place at the right time" experiences. I can't count how many times I've thanked the Gods of Serendipity for days that are rich in surprises!

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    1. Actually you didn't get away with listening to the singing -- the entire congregation participated in the singing. . .and the hand clapping and the toe-tapping in place!

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  7. This is a wonderful series of images. I especially like the first few.
    So glad you joined this week's photo linkup at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/06/pretty-view-in-ladies-loo.html

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    1. Nice to be back on track and able to link up with you.

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  8. What an amazing experience! I had no idea there were places like this in Geneva. :-)

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    1. I've decided that one shouldn't have assumptions about what happens in church these days. . .there's a lot to be learned by attending a service! Thanks for stopping by! xxx

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  9. The best part of travel is serendipity! Love when all those coincidences pull together for an experience like this. Who knew going to church would bring you to a food festival?

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    1. And who knew church could be so much fun!?

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  10. Oh my! Love how that lake looks! Don't you feel so good when you find a street food festival on the city you are visiting? I recently found one in Frankfurt. It had the salmon too. #TPThursday

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    1. It was amazing the multi-cultural feel to all aspects of this city, Ruth. We have commented to several that while in the States they talk about cultural awareness and understanding, here they simply live it -- and seem to enjoy it!!

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  11. What a fantastic experience; meeting your friends, the music and diversity, and the street market. I really enjoyed your article on Geneva. I learned a lot about the city through your words too!

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    1. Thanks Marilyn, glad you both enjoyed and learned something about the city from this post!

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  12. I went to a yoga class earlier this week where I chose a Tarot Card which turned out to be Serendipity! One of life's interesting little connections. :)

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    1. Oh what another bit of serendipity!! Love this comment, Jan!

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  13. I like each of the photos on your blog.Love the street market on this one. Great Shots. Have a wonderful weekend, cheers.

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    1. Yes, the food festival was alive with colors, sounds and smells. Glad you enjoyed the photos!

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  14. How wonderful to have met up with your friends in church and to have enjoyed in such great food and company afterwards. I sense that you really got a taste of this place!

    I know you're home now, and looking forward to your next Greek post!

    Happy weekend, Jackie!
    xx
    Poppy

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    1. Oh Poppy - the next post (just up) might be my favorite one this spring. . .and I bet you know why!! xxx J.

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  15. I have been to Switzerland 3 times, and have been to Lake Geneva. But I've still not made it to the city pdf Geneva. Hopefully next time.

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    1. Oh Doreen, I thought about you several times in Geneva and thought what a wonderland of chocolate it would be for you. We purchased some and the taste-testing we did was absolutely devine! (Oink!)

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