Hello folks! We are on Day 3 of Switzerland and have now hit up our second city. It’s only a short ride from Bern to Geneva so we were in no hurry in the morning. Still we were at the station with plenty of time to catch the 10 o’clock train. An hour and 45 minutes later we were in Geneva and walking to our hostel. Unfortunately we got there just after noon and the reception staff takes a lunch break from 12 till 1. After a few minutes sitting on the street someone left the building and we snuck in. The common area was a comfy enough place to wait out the next hour. We’d had some trouble finding somewhere to stay in Geneva and had ended up having to book a double room…it cost a bit more, but in the end it’s nice to have our own space sometimes!
With the whole afternoon ahead of us we set out to see some of Geneva’s attractions. Geneva is the second largest city in Switzerland and one of the world’s major centers of international diplomacy. The League of Nations was based in Geneva, followed by the United Nations after the Second World War. While the UN headquarters are now in New York, the organization still retains a large presence in Geneva. Geneva is a French speaking city and constantly ranked near the top of the ‘Most Expensive Cities to Live In’ list. We would describe the city as very nice, clean & wealthy looking. It seems like a place that would be wonderful to live in (other than the exorbitant prices!)…safe, comfortable and like it might have a good local pulse below it’s surface. But as a quick-visit traveller it lacks some of the character & initial pull that makes you want to explore further. In other words, it’s a lovely place but if you’re only hitting one place in Siwtzerland make it Bern. Bern feels like Switzerland, Geneva seems like a nice big city.
The first main and extremely obvious sight we happened upon was the Jet d’Eau. In the simplest of terms, it’s a huge column of water shooting into the air. But let’s do a more detailed description…This fountain of water is pumped 140m into the air! The spectacle was once an occasional pressure release for hydropower generation on the Rhône River, but people liked it so much that in 1981 the city created the permanent fountain. We were glad we saw it when we first started our walk because when we were walking home it was turned off. We don’t know what the rules or hours of operation or whatever are for the fountain, but it’s a cool sight to make sure you catch.
Immediately beside the main bridge over the lake is another of Geneva’s world famous & really random attractions. This one is a large clock…made of flowers. The Geneva flower clock is a symbol if the internationally known Swiss watch industry. This clock from 1955 is considered a technological and floral art masterpiece. It reminded us of Alice in Wonderland so we came to the conclusion that we liked it.
The St. Pierre Cathedral is the highest point on old town. The Cathedral, originally Catholic, now symbolizes the high points of the Protestant Reformation. We walked up to slanty streets until we could have a good look at it. The styles were a little mismatched and the front looked more like a civic building than a church with all of those columns. The nicest part had to be the big spire in the center…we could only imagine how nice it would have been when it was still shiny copper, as opposed to the current green.
The view from the church area was quite nice, but in a different way than our “up high” views normally are. This look-out was only at roof level, as opposed to above it.
We were unsure what to do for supper. Restaurant prices were still ridiculously high and we hadn’t located a ready-made place like we frequented in Bern. Then, as we passed the train station on our way back to the hostel, Justine spotted a sign. A fast food pasta place that had a Pasta of the Day for a great price for cheap folks like us! We ended up with a large bowl of penne carbonara that was extremely satisfying. Fun fact: Before we went to the restaurant we hit the Migros (which is our favorite grocery store) and bought breakfast foods and mini fondues & bread. These purchases included milk that we pulled out and poured ourselves glasses of in the middle of the pasta restaurant…you can see it in the corner of the photo below…
After supper we relaxed, ate a fondue (we really need to get out of Switzerland soon as fondue every night is going to make us weight a zillion pounds), and watched old episodes of Glee.
Love, Luck & Lake Leman,