Rhone River Travel Journal—Day 11

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View of Geneva from St. Pierre Cathedral Bell Tower

We designated today as the museum and shopping day. Little did we know it would be a day filled with ignorant archaelogists and chocolate Nazis.

The area around Saint Pierre Cathedral is fantastic if you love history. There is an archaeological museum under the cathedral that has the remains (walls, columns and rooms largely intact) of the two previous churches, along with artifacts from the Roman and pre-Roman peoples who lived there.

There is also a Reformation museum adjacent to the cathedral that traces the Reformation from its beginnings to the present day. And, of course, there is the cathedral itself, which provides an audio visual presentation, good written information, and access to one of its towers that provides breathtaking views of Geneva.

We started at the archaelogical museum located under the cathedral which, from an archaeological perspective was incredible. Unfortunately, I found out that 20th century archaeologists know very little about 4th century Christians. The Wife, Ann and I found ourselves giggling, guffawing and rolling our eyes in unison as we listened to the English audio guides describe the practices of beliefs of early Christians. Continue reading…

Rhone River Travel Journal—Day 10

St. Pierre, Geneva

Me at St. Pierre Cathedral, Geneva

Our driver picked us up today at our hotel in Beaune, France at 9:00 a.m., and we began our two-hour drive across the border into Switzerland. The last 30 minutes of the drive was stunning.

We entered a long tunnel cut through a mountain, exiting on the other side on a highway suspended high above a valley surrounded by mountains, then into another tunnel and out onto another elevated highway, repeating the cycle until finally we were emptied into a plain looking down on the city of Geneva.

What’s surprising is how small Geneva is relative to its reputation. The population is just under 200,000, and from a distance it looks like a small town on the lake, but its prominence today and during the Reformation far exceeds its physical size.

There was a difference between Martin Luther’s approach to reformation and that of Calvin and the other Swiss Reformers. Luther disregarded only those Catholic practices and beliefs that contradicted the Bible, while Calvin disregarded any Catholic practices not specifically supported by the Bible. That is why Lutheran churches are much more like Catholic churches than say, Presbyterian churches.

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Rhone River Travel Journal—Day 9

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Youri teaching us in the vineyard

“I am the true vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.

Today was supposed to be a day for wine tasting. It turned out to be so much more.

The Wife in her brilliance and good judgment booked us with Youri Lebault of Bourgogne Gold Tour, who besides providing us with tastings of some of the best wines of the Burgundy wine region, also provided us with an education.

We thought we were getting a driver for this tour, and instead we got a teacher, an author, and a man passionate about wine in general and Burgundy wine in particular.

Our education began as soon as we got into the car. Youri began by asking if we knew the four classifications of wine in Burgundy. The Wife surprised him with the correct answer.

Our education continued at our first tasting, where Youri pulled out his maps and taught us for 30 minutes before we were permitted to drink.

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Rhone River Travel Journal—Day 8

Ruins of 1st church in Lyons

Ruins of 1st church in Lyon

In a fallen world, things do not always go as planned.

Such is the case of the Viking cruise ship, Buri.

We were supposed to sail last night north toward our final destination of Chalon-sur-Saone.

However, because of the amount of rain and the rise of the river, we were not going to fit under an upstream bridge. I guess 500 years ago the builders of that bridge did not have the foresight to imagine a cruise ship the size of ours powering up the river.

Regardless, we can go no further north and stayed another day anchored in Lyon. Everyone’s plans changed as a result. The girls headed to a medieval walled city in Perouges, France. I went back to Lyon. As I told The Wife, “You’ve seen one walled medieval city in France, you’ve seen them all”—similar to my philosophy on chocolate.

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Rhone River Travel Journal—Day 7

Amphitheater at Lyon, France

Amphitheater at Lyon, France and stake that commemorates martyrdom of Blandina

I grow tired of  being herded like cattle on and off of tour buses and told I have 15 minutes of “free time” before I have to return to the bus.

And, I can only listen to so much about seventeenth century French architecture when I’m only a few blocks from the place where second century Christians refused to renounce their fidelity to King Jesus at the price of their lives.

So, two hours into this morning’s tour, we separated ourselves from the herd. Our first goal was to find a restaurant with wifi because, unbeknownst to you, I have grappled with the wifi on this ship for a week. It is sporadic at best, refuses to upload pics and calls up memories of Compuserve and cans with string.

The Wife, who, I may not have mentioned, is fluent in French, located a restaurant in Old Town Lyon that had adequate wifi (pronounced here, “wee fee”) but not a big enough canopy to cover the tables on the street. When it started raining, I was forced to eat and drank my Beaujolais with one hand, while holding an umbrella with the other. Fortunately, the food more than compensated for the inconvenience. Everything tastes better here.

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