A day and a half in Geneva

Last week I had about a day and a half of free time around a business meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. The city offers free bikes (for 4 hours — 2 francs an hour after that) so I borrowed one and rode over the French border to a cable car that took me up Mont Salève, the “Balcony of Geneva”.

Téléphérique du Salève
Téléphérique du Salève

There were trails all over, so I followed the signs that looked the most interesting: Mont Blanc Panorama, Observatory, and then Alps Panorama.

I spent some time in a Tibetan Temple, listening to a monk chant.

I passed what looked like strips of miniature golf turf and realized it was a series of hang glider jump-offs.

Atop Mont Saleve
Atop Mont Saleve

An hour or so later I ended up in the middle of a cow pasture, surrounded by ringing cow bells, with breathtaking views of the Alps in the distance. In the words of Ralphie’s dad on A Christmas Story, it was indescribably beautiful.

View of Mont Blanc from Mont Saleve

On the way back I passed a group of elderly hikers and briefly envied their lifestyle.

If you only have a day in Geneva, here’s what I recommend:

  • Borrow a bike from Geneveroule. They’re free for four hours and cheap beyond that. They have several locations and you can drop them off at any of them when you’re done.
  • Ride the Mont-Salève Cable Car and just wander around up there. I planned on 30 minutes and spent a couple of hours. You can ride your bike down Route de Florissant from Geneva to Veyrier, France, and follow signs to the Téléphérique du Salève. Or you can take the #8 bus to Veyrier-Douane from the Cornavin train station in Geneva. Pray for clear skies. I went on an overcast day, but I could see Mont Blanc and the Alps.
  • Buy a passport for 7 private museums. I had time for the following, in descending order of how interesting I found them:
  • Walk or ride along Lake Geneva. Lots of great people-watching, public art, the Jet d’Eau, the working clock made out of flowers, and plenty of nearby shops if that’s your thing.
  • Explore the Old Town (Vieille Ville) – St. Pierre’s Cathedral, The Wall of the Reformers at Parcs des Bastions, and lots of interesting streets and shops.

If I make it back I hope to visit CERN, hit a couple more museums, and get lost on a bike.

A few more photos:

Well-known Mormons in the Salt Lake City Cemetery

If you like cemeteries and you like Mormons, you’ll love the Salt Lake City Cemetery. The oldest known burial here was in 1847, a child named Mary B. Wallace. Two years later, George Wallace was on the committee that recommended the place to Brigham Young. The cemetery covers 120 acres and there are now (September 2015) over 124,000 people buried here (out of a total 130,000 burial sites).

Presidents of the Church
Eleven Presidents of the Church are buried here: John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant, George A. Smith, David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Howard W. Hunter, and Gordon B. Hinckley. I’m missing a couple of photos, but here are most of them –

Members of the Quorum of the Twelve
Including George Q. Cannon, Hugh B. Brown, James E. Talmage, Neal A. Maxwell, Bruce R. McConkie, J. Golden Kimball, and Anthon H. Lund –

Missionary Martyr Joseph Standing
One of the most curious memorials to me is for Joseph Standing, an early missionary of the Church to the Southern States. He was killed by a mob near the town of Varnell, Georgia in 1879. The memorial reflects some hope of heavenly vengeance.

Early missionary to Georgia
Early missionary to Georgia
"There is no law in Georgia for the Mormons"
“There is no law in Georgia for the Mormons”

Joseph Standing memorial

Tough words for the murderers of missionary Joseph Standing
Tough words for the murderers of missionary Joseph Standing
Missionary martyred by a mob of 12 men in Georgia
Missionary martyred by a mob of 12 men in Georgia

Those who created the memorial wanted to make sure we remembered the names of the mob members. A poem concludes:

Our brother rests beneath his native sod,
His murderers are in the hands of God.
Weep, weep for them, not him whose silent dust
Here waits the resurrection of the dust.

Here are a few more headstones, including those for Truman O. Angell, Porter Rockwell, Karl G. Maeser, Marjorie Pay Hinckley, William Clayton, and W. W. Phelps –