Back in July I did a mini-trip to Geneva, spending just one night there. I travelled solo, since my boyfriend was in Florida [I was in my second week of a new job and didn’t think it would make a good impression if I just took off for a longer holiday]. Whilst Zurich is still my favourite Swiss city, I’m glad I saw this charming, bustling place – I left feeling relaxed and refreshed by my time there.
Geneva has a completely different feel to the German speaking part of the country, indeed it felt considerably more like France than the Switzerland I’ve come to know, which makes complete sense, given its proximity to the French border. Things seemed a little bit more leisurely in Geneva, a little slower and somehow more geared towards tourists; though I actually think there’s more for tourists to do in Zurich instead.
Where I stayed
I usually stay in an Ibis hotel when travelling around Switzerland as they are usually one of the cheapest options [without having to stay in a dorm room full of snorers] and this time was no exception. I stayed in the Ibis Geneve Centre Nations Hotel, which was a little bit away from the heart of the city centre, but still within easy reach of the main train station. I would definitely recommend it for those who are looking for somewhere comfortable to stay without breaking the bank too much.
What I did
I mostly just pottered around if I’m totally honest – but sometimes that’s just what I need to appreciate somewhere new. I always think that walking around is the best way to get a feel for the place and I certainly saw a lot of interesting sights on foot:
I must confess, I acted like a complete tourist myself for the duration of the trip, stopping to cool down at Starbucks and actually eating dinner at Macdonalds! Shocking I know, especially as Geneva has one of the most expensive Macdonalds in the world, according to The Big Mac Index. Normally, I take more care to sample the local cuisine and to find eclectic cafes, but in Geneva, I went where my feet took me, and it turns out the air conditioning to be found in both major corporations was a massive draw.
I did eat lunch outside at a street side cafe on the Sunday, but to my disdain, a horrible bird actually flew down and grabbed a chip off my plate, which spoiled the experience a bit [though the food was delicious!] I also went shopping, and bought some summery clothes [my wardrobe was seriously lacking in anything for warm weather before I got here – Switzerland is actually surprisingly warm in the summer].
I also went on one of those strange land-trains, which took me around some of the lake of Geneva, which was very pretty – the whole focus of the city is around the lake, which I really like – I am always happy by the water.
Determined to try and actually see some cultural sites, I did attempt the free English walking tour, but I have to say…I wasn’t overly impressed by the guide, though I could she was trying her best, she didn’t hold my interest at all! She spent far too long trying to introduce the fifty or so strangers in the group before even going anywhere, so I abandoned it before it could really get started and slipped away. Normally I really enjoy free walking tours, but this one seemed to take a while to get going, which was a bit disappointing,
So in the end, I missed out on the attractions that Geneva is most famous for, such as the UN centre or the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, and I didn’t fully immerse myself in the culture…but I did enjoy myself a great deal and sometimes, I think we forget that is what travel should actually be about.