It's not often that one has to act the role of tour guide, but that's what happened to me when my friend and his wife from the United States came to visit me when I was living in France. It was a pleasant encounter as I had lost contact with him for over 40 years. I didn't even recognize him when I went to pick them up at the railway station in Bourg en Bresse (the French city where I lived at that time). They were coming in from Paris. and when the train stopped at the station only a few passengers got off. However, I noticed an Asian looking couple, and both of them were smiling at me. So I thought to myself that it must be them. I walked over to them and yes, it was him and his lovely Filipino wife! After the usual greetings and pleasantaries, I took them to my apartment which was a short distance away from the train station.

I had a two bedroom apartment on the ground floor at 6 Passage Louise Michel, a residential area within walking distance of the city center. In order for them to be comfortable I gave them my own bedroom while I moved temporarily to the other spare bedroom which also served as my den and/or office, as the computer was in that room.

As they were not too tired from the train journey (it takes only 2 hours by TGV rapid train from Paris to Bourg en Bresse) I suggested a short walking tour of my small city. We just went to the downtown area to see the Notre Dame church (almost every city and town in France has a church named Notre Dame, not to be confused with the famous one in Paris), City Hall, the small park and a couple of other places in town. As they had left Paris early in the morning and didn't have breakfast on the train we decided to have an early lunch. I took them to a restaurant on Rue Victor Basch which is an old cobblestone street in the city center. It had just opened and we were the first customers. I can't remember what we all ordered, but I had my usual "plat du jour" which is plate of the day. I think they enjoyed their first real French meal on native soil!

As we were planning to travel to Lourdes (separate blog on it already posted here) the next morning we just stayed at home for the rest of the day, and caught up with all the news about family, events, etc.

On the fourth day our their visit I took them to Geneva in Switzerland. Geneva is only about 110 kilometers or around 70 miles from where I lived, and it can be reached in about an hour and half's drive. Along the way the scenery is quite pretty and one can see mountains and hills while passing through towns and villages. In Geneva city itself the walk along the beautiful lake is a scenic experience by itself with the big fountain in the middle of the lake sprouting its water high up in the air.

Unfortunately, after having lunch in a restaurant downtown, my friend's wife tripped and fell on the street outside and she had a hard time walking after the accident although it was a minor one. It turned out that she suffered a sprained ankle so we decided to cut short our visit and headed back to Bourg en Bresse. On the return trip Angelita (my friend's wife) said her foot was not hurt that bad so I stopped at a town called Nantua in France. Nantua is another picturesque town in France with a lake surrounded by high cliffs, just outside the city limits. I had been there several times before so knew the area well.

In spite of Angelita's accident in Geneva, I think both of them enjoyed their visit to France, and the side trip to Switzerland, and the next day left for Paris by train to continue their mini tour of France.