Geneva

Trip Start Oct 18, 2006
1
23
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Trip End Oct 19, 2007


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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Finally l got to visit Lac Lemans capital Geneve (Geneva in English) over a weekend! I have flown in and out of the airport it felt like a hundred times, but never had actually visited the international Geneva, which has had a key place on the world stage for most of the last century. The European headquaters of the UN are here, plus the international Red Cross and the World heath Organization, among 250 other international groups. Tidy Geneva therefore belongs less to Switzerland than to the world. More than 40% of residents are non Swiss, and this city of bankers, diplomats and transients has a seriously wordly flavour.

I travelled the 40 minute train ride along side Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) to reach this famous international city. Instantly, walking down Genevas main street (Rue de Mont Blanc) you feel like you are walking down a street in London rather than a French speaking Swiss city. It was a saturday afternoon, and it seemed that every woman and her fur coat was holding the hand of some poor man and in the other clutching some poor rat looking dog and pushing them into one designer boutique after another. Whilst l was walking to the main town, l passed a the famous four seasons hotel where a model was outside posing beside a beautiful red car, whilst on lookers like me thought how crazy the fashion world is. There was this stick thin girl, wearing the thinnest dress and it was almost in the minus degrees! I quickly tried to escape the saturday shopping and Louis Vitton mad crowd and started a scenic walk through the old town, beginning at the Ile Rousseau where l then followed the narrow, cobbled Rue de la Cite past tiny crepperies, pizzerias and flowing fountains until l reached a lovely plaza which l decided to spend a couple of hours in. I ordered my cappacino, got out my very Swiss lunch of Brie (cheese), baquette, fresh yogurt and Evian water and sat down and pulled the rug that the cafe provided on the terrace tightly around me and snuggled up in the afternoon sun whilst reading my book.

It was hard to move myself from that beautiful little cafe, where l just sat and read and people watched by the fountain for a few hours. But l had decided to go in search of the Jet d Eau...Genevas most visible landmark....a fountain which shoots up to a 140m plume. Whilst walking out of the old town in search of the fountain, l took a short detour to the lovely part Gothic Cathedrale St Pierre, where John Calvin preached from 1536-1564. I then took Rue de la Fontaine to reach the lakeside where l will still looking for Genevas so called most visible landmark. Yet l couldnt see it anywhere. I walked along side the lake, past numerous yachts for a good thirty minutes still searching the water for this so called huge fountain of water. I finally stopped and asked a hotdog seller where l would find the it, and he said that it wasnt operating today as it was too windy, but usually you would be able to see it from miles away. I felt a little bit silly, having walked up and down the lake in search of this huge water spout which had it been working would have been right in front of me the whole time.

A little tired afer my careful searching, l decided to just sit by the lakeside in the late afternoon sun and try and finish my book. I had an hour just sitting by the beautiful lake, reading and watching the swans swim by before a caught a tram to go meet my New Zealand friend Sarah. She picked me up in her tiny car (lam so jealous of any aupair who has a car to drive! I miss driving sooo much!), and she whisked me up to her house, along a beautiful farm road overlooking Mt Blanc and other French alps (as we had just crossed the border into France) as the beautiful pink sunset faded over the huge grey and white alps.

I had a great night with Sarah, reading English magazines ( l was pleased to read anything in English!), and than eating ice-cream while watching Mr Darcy jump into the lake in BBC Pride and Prejudice (yes we somehow did watch all 6 hours of it...it was a late but great night!). On the Sunday morning we went to Sarahs English speaking church in the Old Town of Geneva which was great to go visit, and we spent the day with Sarahs friend Emma, a flight attendent for Easy Jet. We ended up back at the cafe l had been the previous day..both the girls had never been there before and loved it. And l again snuggled under the blanket in the sun, but this time with some great company! We then went back to Emmas flat, where we ended up watching a very silly teen romance comedy (anything with Freddie Price Jnr l say avoid!) and eating Pesto Pasta. It was a great relaxing weekend with new and old friends, l finally got to visit lovely Geneva.....even though l didnt get to see the water fountain! Since visting Geneva that weekend, l have seen the water fountain from a distance whilst on the train....and it is huge and unmissable!
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