It was about day 25 of my Eurail-pass trip around Europe when I finally got fed up with all things Medieval. I’m not talking about those cheesy Medieval Knight shows where you eat giant turkey legs in the grandstands while watching actors jousting lazily with other bored actors. No, I’m referring to Europe’s ever-present Romanesque churches, Madonna-with-child paintings, and 14th century city centers. Am I the only one who finds that Medieval stuff to be a big yawn? Seeking new stimulation, I soon turned my attention to the exoticism of Asia and the Far East and have rarely been back to Europe ever since. That is, until I got a Dr. Clue invitation to create a treasure hunt program in Old Town Geneva.

My assumption was that Geneva would be another old, stuffy European town, full of kitschy trinket shops, goofy clock towers and bankers with puffed-up shirts. In reality, the city of Geneva was absolutely charming with its mix of French and German architecture, its Jet d’Eau fountain in the middle of the lake, its tasty fish dish “filets de perche,” and especially, its well-preserved Old Town. To my surprise, I found myself now thoroughly enjoying the narrow cobblestone streets, the tiny shops with old-timey signs hanging out front, the houses with planter boxes jam-packed with colorful flowers. What a difference a few years make! I especially appreciated the leafy Bastions Park, with its numerous statues and its giant chess board. What a delightful town, not to mention a fantastic place for a treasure hunt.

(Assumptions are a tricky thing, aren’t they? So often they’re based on past experience, which is fine of course. We learn from our past exposure to stimuli. The problem is, we humans are constantly changing. Quite literally, we’re not the same people now that we were in the past. I’m certainly not the same guy now, at age 60, that I was at age 21, traveling around Europe and getting bored with Cathedrals. I guess what I’m saying is, draw on your experience but don’t be chained to your assumptions. People change, places change, you change.)