Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 1920

We were up early to see the sun rise over the Alps, and we were well repaid for the effort. We sat on the balcony and wrote letters and cards, then strolled by the lake before breakfast which was at 9, and then wrote again before leaving for Geneva.

Oh, for words to describe the entrancing and bewitching beauty of Switzerland. Miss H. remarked “It seems entirely too commonplace to think of eating in such a place as this.” It gives me pain to realize that I can never share any of this Edenic beauty with friends and comrades at home. I can feel it, but never express it, by word or pen.

There is a soft mist that covers everything, giving things an almost ethereal look, the snow capped mountains that seem to reach to heaven, the shadows, the green mountain sides, the picturesque chalets and chateaux that dot the mountain sides here and there and the blue waters of the lake at the base makes us realize that Switzerland is well named “The Playground of the World.” Truly we do not need to go to Spain to “build air-castles.”

Perhaps the lesson for us to learn from all this ethereal softness, is for us to become human moss and help brighten the lives of others.

The people of the mountains carry everything in huge baskets that are large at top and small at bottom, fastened on their backs, even women and children, and they climb the steep mountain paths. To-day I saw a woman loading and spreading fertilizer with a pitch fork, the wagon drawn by a cow. The husband walked and led the cow while the woman did the work.

There are vineyards through here, stone walls built in and the vines are in terraces. We just heard that Switzerland voted for the League of Nations two to one. We climbed the mountain yesterday to an elevation of over 7000 ft. and then descended and I was not affected by the altitude. Evidently my heart is all right. There are wonderful creepers over the walls and houses all laden with bloom.

We reached Geneva at 2-15. Here is where the Red Cross began its work and there is hope of locating the seat of the League of Nations. We are too early to attend the International Women’s Suffrage Congress on June 5th.

Miss H. and I studied Guide books and maps, then started to explore. Crossed the big bridge over the Rhone, and saw the big monument erected to commemorate the union of Geneva with the other Cantonments and flowers were lain at the feet of the figure. The gardens were attractive.

We remembered the fame of Swiss watches and visited the Phillips Jewelry store, the largest wholesale and manufacturer in the world. We were told that stem winding watches were invented by Mr. Phillips and that the watch industry was started originally by Voltaire. We were courteously shown some wonderful watches and jewels of all kinds. One or two more stops, then we started to find the old homes of Rosseau, Geo. Eliot and Calvin. We were well repaid for climbing the narrow, narrow streets in the search. We stopped at the little American church on our return. After dinner we had a fine boat ride of two hours on Lake Geneva - so restful and calm.

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