City of Nations

Trip Start Dec 29, 2009
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Trip End Mar 02, 2010


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Flag of Switzerland  , Geneva,
Monday, January 25, 2010

After a rather uninspiring (stupid winter) train ride along the banks of Lake Geneva, we arrived in the peace capital of the world. The aim was basically to see the UN headquarters, and any free museums that might be of interest. We weren't sure how to get anywhere, so we walked up the main street towards the information centre. Along the way we stopped at a bazillion or so souvenir shops. Finally we made it to the info centre and acquired a map, as well as directions to the UN and Red Cross (conveniently located next to each other).

The information centre also pointed out a fountain in the river just near by which is another touristy type thing to see, so we headed there first. It wasn’t quite as impressive as it sounded, literally just a spurt of water shooting into the air. Admittedly it was quite high, but there was no ornate stonework or anything, it was just shooting out of a pipe. We took some foggy photos of the river, fountain and some other statues and things nearby before heading back.

To get to the UN we had to catch a bus, so we had to buy a ticket. Once we worked out the machine and what ticket we needed we had to pay for it. All we had was a note and the machine only accepted coins. We found a small supermarket and bought some water and purchased our tickets with the change. We then found the bus stop and fortunately the bus was waiting. The ride was relatively short and we soon arrived at the Red Cross. It wasn’t overly well signed, but we soon found the entrance and took a couple of photos of the flags and statues before heading in. Rachel had read in the lonely planet book 'admission free', turns out it actually said 'admission fee'. As we didn't have long before the train to France, we decided not to go in.

Instead we walked across the road and had a look at the UN building. It was all fenced off so we couldn’t get close, and again we didn’t want to pay or spend the time on a guided tour. We tried to find the Australian flag amongst all the poles, but couldn’t be sure if it was ours or not as we couldn’t get close enough. After a short wander, we caught the bus back to the station ready to move on.

Now the train to Paris is a TGV, a fast train, so requires a compulsory reservation fee. Annoying but having come from Italy we were used to these stupid fees. What nobody mentioned was that they also have limited seats available for eurail holders. So the train that we had intended to catch was actually unavailable to us. Fortunately there was another route available to us and our eurail pass, it was just a little later and required a change in Lyon.
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