Sunday, July 1, 2012

When In Geneva....

Hey y'all!

Thanks for coming back to see part two of my recent trip to Europe. I hope you found a few interesting places to add to your itinerary when you go to Rome. Because you will, right? Good. Tonight I wanted to share my experiences in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Why Geneva you ask? Well, when my friend and split up our trip so we flew into Rome and out of Paris. We knew we wanted to visit these two cities and we booked way early to get the best price. The more we talked about what to do, we thought it might be fun to add a third stop in between. So, we pulled my globe (I mean Google maps) and searched out cities in between. I suggested Switzerland. It's a whole other country, they have mountains, hot springs...and chocolate. Turns out my friend's cousin lives in Geneva. That sealed the deal. It was a last minute decision, but it turned out to be a really good one. There's alot to love about Geneva. Here a few of the highlights:


1. Train


I read a post on tripadvisor.com about taking a night train from Italy to France (sorry, I can't find the original link). The author had this way of describing the journey. I had visions of sipping a cocktail in the bar compartment while listening to French classical music, all the while enjoying the climb up into the Alps. So, it wasn't quite that luxurious, and....by the time we got into the mountains it was dark, but all in all it was a lovely way to travel. See my picture above? There was alot of this to see. I took ALOT of blurry pictures ; ).
You can find info on Italy's train system here.

2. CERN
 

Get your nerd on. If you don't know what CERN does (the only reason I did is because I read about them in Angels & Demons) they are a very progressive research center that is studying the origins of the universe. That's all ; ). Tiffany's cousin actually works here and gave us a tour! I understand about 60% of what he told me, but I found the whole thing fascinating! They have a learning center (called The Globe) that's open to the public and you can see the lobby area in the actual research center. Check out this mural, it gives you a visual of the LHC, the main man in the CERN house. This thing is buried under the ground.
 
The facilities are open to the public, and it was an easy train ride from downtown. AAANNDDD....

It has an emergency red button. That you can push. You know I did. 
You can find out more about CERN and public tours here.

3. Bains Des Paquis
 

I am still mildly obsessed with these trees. They were gorgeous, but as of yet I have been unable to find anything about them on the internet. Why are they covered? Who made them? Either way-so cool!

Bains Des Paquis is a small pier out into Lake Geneva. It has a beach where the public can swim and a fantastic restaurant. Do yourself a favor and don't even bother reading the menu, get the plat du jour. Word is it's always fantastic. Our lunch was duck, potatoes, veggies....yum. The view is spectacular. We would have sat there longer if the rain hadn't moved in.
 
4. Chocolate
The Swiss are known for their chocolate, and we spent a small fortune on some fantastic truffles. Worth every penny.
These are chocolates! 

5. Clarion Suites Excellior
Our hotel turned out to be a mixed blessing. It was actually on the French side of Geneva, about a 20 minute bus ride from downtown. It was country-with a capital 'K'. At first, it was a little frustrating, no where to eat, nowhere to walk to, etc. However, we soon realized that this little hotel was a great choice: it was about $100 cheaper than any hotel we found in Geneva proper. This is NOT a cheap city. It was a nice, big room. HUGE by European standards, average for an American hotel. It had a big soaking tub. I may or may not have taken two baths in two days. Because I could, and I needed a good soak after all the walking we did in Rome. It has a laundry room where you can wash your dirty clothes, so you can pack a little lighter. The bus to take you into downtown is super easy to catch and easy to ride. And then there's the view......

I mean, really. Who needs to be in a busy, noisy downtown when you can be here? Oh, well, there was the $70 cab ride because we were literally the opposite side of town...boo. Just be warned. 

You can find them here.

6. English Garden

Geneva is a great city to wander around in. The architecture is lovely and there are a few fantastic gardens. We spent an hour or so in the English Garden. Oh man, the flowers there are unreal. I think they feed them chocolate ; ).  

I practiced a bunch with the macro setting on my camera and I came out with a bunch of fantastic pictures. We went to the garden specifically to see this world famous Garden Clock, but, really, I would file that under 'not worth the effort'. It was really kind of lame and we had way more fun explore all the sculptures and landscaping.

The rain kept us from getting to everything we wanted to (we were only in town for one day), so here's a list of places I want to go-next time..



Thanks again for stopping by! I really enjoyed my two days in Geneva. It was a lovely surprise considering I knew zero about the city in advance. I would highly recommend it for a day trip if you are in the area.


One last thing to love about Geneva....

(sign on bus) Apparently, people in W/C's have more fun there ; )

I'll be back soon to share a few more suggestions. This time from our few days in Paris!

A bientot! 
Michelle
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