Thursday, February 10, 2011

Un samedi à Genève

Much like Belgium, Switzerland may often be left off the typical Eurotrip itinerary. But with an invitation and an old friend to meet up with, how could I not go to Geneva?

Inextricably linked with the United Nations, Geneva is probably of more interest to international relations students. However, there is more to Geneva than simply the UN. It is a beautiful city to spend the day exploring.

I arrived in Geneva late morning and met up with an old friend and classmate from UBC, Celine, who is from Geneva and works for an international organization. The sunny and spring-like weather made it the perfect day to wander the city on foot.

Crossing the pont du Mont Blanc, I couldn't believe how blue and crystal clear Lake Geneva was--unfortunately the iconic Jet d'eau was turned off. After getting a look of Geneva's famed flower clock and taking a quick walk around the jardin Anglais, we headed to the old town to climb la Cathédrale Saint Pierre's tower, where we were rewarded with an amazing view of the city and lake. We then took a walk in the parc des Bastions, where you can play giant games of chess or checkers and see the Reformation Wall.

After grabbing a quick bite of lunch, we went to the United Nations headquarters where, being an international relations student, I got the obligatory-photo-in-front-of-the-UN taken.

That evening I met up with Pamela. She, like many others, works in Geneva, but lives just across the border in France. Having not really travelled in Europe by car, crossing the border was rather novel: one moment we were in Switzerland, the next we were in France. Unlike the Canada-US border, there was no line-up and no agent to talk to; there was a customs building, but it appeared to be closed that evening.

Later that night, Pamela and I crossed back into Switzerland to have dinner at a fondue restaurant. The restaurant was decorated with murals of cows grazing in mountain scenes. We had fondue "moitié-moitié," which is half gruyère and half vacherin cheese, and was served with bread and potatoes--it was so delicious! This little taste of Savoie (the French and Swiss both lay claim to fondue being their dish), was the perfect end to a lovely day.

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