As you may recall, my first stop in Geneva was very short. For our trip to Chamonix, we’d gotten bus tickets to Geneva, then separate tickets for a transfer bus to Chamonix.
On the last day of our trip, however, we got up bright and early in Chamonix and took one of the first buses back to Geneva to spend the rest of the day there. Since our bus left at around 8PM [or so we THOUGHT], we’d have a good amount of time to see a much of Geneva as we could.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting much. Geneva in my mind was pretty much an uber-clean mass of generic concrete buildings, and the one meal we’d had there hadn’t done much to change my mind.
Still, it was a [technically] new city in a new country, so we made an executive decision to explore. Both of us were basically out of money at this point, and the fact that we’d neglected to get Swiss francs beforehand was kind of a hinderance. Luckily, there’s a ton of things to do for free if you’re satisfied with simply walking around and drinking in the sights.
As you’ve probably been able to sleuth out from all of these photos, Geneva is a city based around water. It lies on the edge of Lake Geneva and is also run through by the Rhône River. We spent a good part of the day just walking along the water’s edge, snapping pics, admiring the swans, and looking scarily out of place in our day-old clothes amongst all of the fancy, fashionable, worldly natives.
By the way, Tip: Dress nicely in this city, because otherwise, people will probably assume you’re homeless.
During our wanderings, we eventually found ourselves in this cemetery. Although we stumbled upon it completely by chance [and went in because we thought it was a park], Cimitière de Plainpalais/des Rois is the resting place of John Calvin, amongst others. It’s full of greenery and interesting gravestones from across the ages, as well as this question mark bench, making it a good place to stop and take a beat.
After basking in the sun in the cemetery for a while [and, to the chagrin of many passersby , touching up our makeup just a little bit] we got off our asses and headed down the water again in search of some lunch. Have I mentioned the swans in Geneva? There are so many swans.
Lunch was at Yukiguni. [Boulevard James-Fazy 4], with a price tag that almost gave me a heart attack but was eventually worth it. The hot, fresh soup and noodles were a perfect pick-me-up, as was the simple dango dessert. Maybe it wasn’t worth the bill, but hey, we’d been warned: Geneva is pricey.
After lunch, there was more aimless meandering. More often than not lately, I find myself in strange cities with no idea where to go or what to do, and although it’s a habit I should probably break, it felt nice and relaxing after the strain [not really] of our potentially life-threatening activities in Chamonix. [I’m talking about the stairs.]
Plus, when you travel with an agenda, how often do you have to take photos like these, or frolic with local dogs swimming in the water?
This fountain that you’ve been seeing is Jet d’eau, by the way! It’s one of Geneva’s most famous landmarks and shoots water 500 feet into the sky at pretty much all hours of the day. It’s also 125 years old, so if that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is!
You’re never going to convince me that nobody has ever tried to swim in the water here before. It’s so clear you can see all the way to the lake/river floor, and so impossibly blue!
Geneva wasn’t someplace I ever expected myself to end up in, but I’m glad I did. It’s charming, refined, and also quite possibly one of the cleanest places I’ve ever visited, so if you ever have a spare moment, I’d definitely recommend stopping by! I know I still have to check out Old Town and explore some other parts of the city, so hopefully I’ll be back someday.
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