I had a very specific purpose to visit Geneva (more on that later) but had always heard good things about Switzerland.
We visited Geneva in November and the weather was very temperate – about 20 degrees celsius.
Geneva is a quiet and scenic place which sits on Lake Geneva (despite its name the Lake actually runs way beyond Geneva itself).
I’d always held a view that Geneva was mainly known for being the base of many large international organisations (the United Nations being the most notable) as well as the home to many Banking and Financial institutions, and as such carried the tag of being a ‘high end’ and expensive place.
I was right on the latter, and found certain things to be very expensive (£4 can of coke anyone?).
Geneva is relatively small, so staying central means you can walk/get a tram to most places relatively easily.
Interestingly on the tram you pay for a ticket before boarding, but it’s never checked. I suspect there are a few who take advantage of that, but in Switzerland doubt there are many. I can’t see a similar approach being adopted in London anytime soon.
My main purpose of visiting was actually to attend a Christie’s Watch auction (long story). That in itself was an interesting yet surreal experience. The auction itself was held at a Four Seasons that overlooked the Lake (think excess of £700 per night stay) on a street lined with pretty much every brand of supercar.
Attending auctions like this is actually a thing anybody can do – even if you aren’t selling or fortunate enough to be buying. That day over $10m worth of watches were sold…I almost felt foolish putting my £70 Fossil watch through the metal detector on entry.
Things to Do/See/Eat
- Lake Geneva – The lake is the epicentre of Geneva, and the water is unbelievably clean and clear due to the filtration down from the surrounding Alps. On a nice day it’s a nice vibe to sit with a coffee over the lake. Watch out for Jet d’Eau (translates to ‘Water Jet’ and well – its what the name suggests)
- Palace of Nations – I didn’t do a tour of this place, but I hear you can if you are so inclined but even without that it’s a an interesting place to walk around
- Jardin Botanique – scenic gardens to explore with views over the Alps. Just down from the Palace of Nations (UN) Building
- Broken Chair Sculpture – a weird thing to look at really but once you know the meaning behind it, it carries more significance. The chair has one leg missing to represent the victims of landmines
- St Pierre Cathedral – The streets surrounding the Cathedral are more interesting and give you a flavour of local culture. Plenty of small cafes, bistros to explore. The Cathedral is dominating from the outside, but I didn’t explore the interior as it was closed for renovations
- Food – Having only stayed 1 night, I can’t comment on food too much. With strong French influences you have to try local pastries. The delicacy in most restaurants is Fondue – just don’t count the calories
DATE OF TRAVEL: 08-09 November 2015