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Chapter 14


Perhaps the best way in which to present the physical setting of the University of the New World is to describe it as you would in a letter to a friend who intends to drive from Geneva to visit you.

Dear friend:

When you come, your car will be waiting for you at the airport. Hop in and head for the expressway marked "Lausanne." You'll be skirting along the edge of Lake Leman (Lake Geneva) much of the way. Enjoy the foggy romantic look of the scenery, for you'll eventually hit Valais, where the sunshine begins. Stop for a few minutes at the Castle of Chillon, for its grim beauty was the subject of Lord Byron's famous poem on "The Prisoner of Chillon." It has something to do with the University's spirit.

"Eternal Spirit of the Chainless Mind!

Brightest in dungeons, Liberty!...

And when thy sons to fetters are consigned

To fetters, and the damp vault's dayless gloom,

Their country conquers with their martyrdom,

And freedom's Fame finds wings on every wind.."

You will pass Lausanne and Montreaux, with their great hotels and chalets. Take a right where the lake ends, but do not continue up from Martigny to the St. Bernard Pass into Italy and France. Rather keep always along the Upper Rhone River. It's cold, fast, and dark now, under the bright sun.

Then you'll reach Sion. Sion was occupied in Roman times because its twin small hills commanded passage through the Phone valley. One hill is now occupied by a ruined castle, the other by a fine church and museum--and our campus.

Turning away from the river, the road, and the railway, you find yourself in the newer Sion and, just several minutes farther, in medieval Sion where the hills begin to rise. Two hundred yards higher you come upon the Place du Monde, center of the University of the New World.

Here, several buildings show signs of an academic presence--a large theatre; several sturdy old structures that are impressive because of their clustering together on the place, and though you'll not spot them immediately, several studios in ancient buildings for the arts and sciences; an old batiment that houses various offices of the University, and through the rock tunnel, a new set of apartments for student and faculty residences. The tall massive building with the steppeddown roof design is the Majorie museum of art. Throughout the area are households

whose owners contract with the University to lodge students and faculty. Here and there are the cafe's, restaurants, and other emporia that will accept the University's currency for purchases.

You may not wish to stop here for long. This is a pleasant hang-out and place to come for continuous movies, for concerts and for social gatherings on most weekends. It is also the area of Members who are not presently concentrating upon languages or rapport psychology.

To get to the Rapport Center, drive up the mountain road for ten minutes to Haute-Nendaz (pronounced Nada). There you will discover two large new buildings in the shape of chalets, where apartments and studios are contained, and a small building in a park by the edge of the mountain, which is a general meeting-place and recreation house. The views thereabouts are superb; there are several restaurants that deal out good food and drink for our currency. The neighboring chalets that you see house skiers, walkers, and simple resters, unconnected with the University.

For the language division, where I am you have to drive up to where the true alpine meadows are and the slopes begin their steep ascent. At Super-Nendaz, at the end of ten minutes of road, you come upon a new large complex alongside a rushing stream, and surrounded by pine trees. The bullish-looking cows nearby are harmless. Step inside and take the ascenseur to my apartment whence you can step out upon my balcony, look up at the pines and snowy peaks and breathe unadulterated air!

In this solitary structure are our restaurant, snack bar, swimming pool, stores, and language studios. Outside it, walking and ski trails head for the stations of the East, South into Italy, Southwest into France. A high lake is created not far away by a dam; you may fish there but it's always too cold for swimming.

Generally the weather of Sion is the best in Europe apart from the Mediterranean littoral. It is dry, rarely cold, rarely hot, usually sunny, not at all the cloudy, damp climate of Geneva or Milan or Zurich. It is recommended for asthma. So stop coughing.

The food is likely to be excellent on all three levels. The cuisine is a rather simple country cousin of the French family. The milk is plentiful and good. The meats are abundant. The wines are among the best in the world, they tell me. There are fresh vegetables and fruits throughout the year.

Looking forward to seeing you--and watch those curves driving up the mountain .

Love, Wanda


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