The trip from Montpellier to Geneva by train was a little more chaotic than planned, with our initial train direct from Avignon to Geneva being cancelled (new word learnt: supprimé), meaning we had to take a train from Avignon to Lyon and then change there to Geneva. But we arrived just over an hour later than planned which really isn’t that bad. That did, however, mean we got to our hotel (just a small ibis this time) around 7.30pm. So we went for some food and went to bed pretty early to save up energy for our one and only full day in Geneva.
And gallivant we did! Tim made a plan and I followed, and we managed to see quite a lot of the city. We took the tram to the city centre pretty much and first walked towards the Parc des Bastions.
Afterwards, it was time to head towards the highlight of Geneva – Lake Geneva! We walked up the west side of the lake towards the botanical gardens. It was a good walk up the lake before we reached the gardens and we stopped a couple of times on the way and looked out across the lake – chuffing huge it is! And incredibly clean too, just like the lake in Zürich last year. The Swiss really know how to keep lakes clean (and cities too, for that matter). After a mooch around the gardens, we headed back to a boat stop where we took a boat across the lake to the other side to walk back down the east side.
On the south-east side of the lake, you can walk along the Jetée des Eaux Vives up to the huge fountain. And yes, you can get a little bit wet when the wind changes (luckily it wasn’t that bad). It was also quite busy with tourists (ugh, tourists! …), but not overwhelmingly full at least. After some ice cream (because holiday) and a small walk around the old town, we went back to the hotel to chill for a bit whilst we decided where we wanted to go later for food.
We decided to go to Chez Ma Cousine, recommended by an old uni friend (thanks again, Lucianna!). It’s good value for money, which is saying something for Geneva, and focuses on chicken dishes. Yum! After filling our faces with chicken and beer, we walked back to the lake and came across a small place called Le Village Suisse which is apparently only open in the summer and closes first weekend of September (this year at least). We treated ourselves to mojitos and managed to get a seat closest to the lake, meaning we could also people watch (who doesn’t love people watching?!). It was a very calm place to sit and chill on the last night of our holiday, that’s for sure.
On our final day, before catching the (pretty much punctual) train back home via Bern, we took a detour to the train station via the the United Nations Office to take a quick look. Then, before we knew it, we were sitting in the train to Bern to change to Frankfurt and our holiday was over!
All in all, I was really impressed with Geneva. Admittedly, I was a little bit more impressed by Zürich. I can’t exactly say why, perhaps the architecture (and perhaps partly because I can have a better go at Swiss German than French, with Zürich mainly speaking Swiss German and Geneva being very French). But, nevertheless, Geneva was a really beautiful city, and with the prices being what they are, two nights was enough for the first visit.