Thursday, 18 August 2011
An Unexpected Visit to the UN
The offer was most welcome. Whilst breakfast in the Tannenhof had been more than adequate, I'd scrimped a bit last night, so was getting peckish. I'd enjoyed the scenic journey back to Geneva from Zermatt. The Breithorn was clear again and clung to the horizon for ages on another lovely sunny day, and the white helmet of Mont Blanc had shone like a beacon above the lower heights on the south side of Lake Geneva as we travelled along the lakeside.
It's a five minute journey from the airport to the United Nations buildings in Geneva. A pass had been organised and we lunched with Laurence, Alistair's French wife who works at the UN, and several of her relatives.
Then, whilst Laurence went back to her office to work (difficult, given the stunning views from the windows), Alistair gave me a tour of the site. The UN was originally the League of Nations or Societé des Nations, and the Art Deco architecture of the original 1930s buildings incorporates the 'LN' and 'SN' lettering in its logos on doorways and elsewhere.
The main 'Floor Zero' corridor leads all the way from the original building to newer ones at the other end of the site. Alistair reckons it must be nearly a kilometre in length. It's a bit like a very long hospital corridor!
But the resemblance to a hospital is limited to that corridor. The buildings are spacious and opulent. Several exhibitions, such as Dana Gluckstein's portraits, are on display.
The assembly rooms are magnificent. The Human Rights and Alliance of Civilisations Room, pictured above, was refurbished at the expense of the Spanish government and sports a magnificent ceiling by Miquel Barcelò.
(I could go on at length, but I won't!)
Thank you Alistair, and Laurence, for your hospitality, it was good to see you, and a great way to conclude the trip before nipping back to Timperley for tea.
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