What better time to go to Geneva than for Swiss National Day? To start off our first trip to Switzerland, we missed a train, got re-routed to Aix-les-Bains, and finally ended up at CERN! Caelie and I met up with Alice, a college friend, who you may recognize from my Cambridge post. At CERN, there was a free exhibit, both indoors and outdoors, so we checked it out. Science is awesome!
Then we headed to the United Nations. The number of people trying to take pictures with the famous chair statue was ridiculously hilarious (although I admit I was also one of those awkward tourists with her hand held in the air).
We went back into the city, where we struggled to find reasonably priced food. We ended up picking up sandwiches and some specialty Geneva chocolate, and then walked around the city. We climbed up Cathedrale de St-Pierre and then found the Flower Clock!
One of the highlights was sitting on these wonderful green lawn chairs, perfectly shaped to comfortably relax with your feet up. We were so tired we almost fell asleep.
Check out how pretty their bills are! But even better than their money is their TAP WATER. Oh my God. Seriously, the public water fountains contained the best tasting water I’ve ever had. Mmmm.
Bains de Paquis is one of the best places to eat in the city. It is affordable and serves regional specialties! We had viande sechée & terrine artisanale with Gruyère and another meat dish with rösti. It’s a popular restaurant, known for its fondue in the winter. Luckily for us, they were offering fondue that night for the National Holiday! Best of all – it was free! At around 7 PM, they put out pots of fondue cheese and bread, and we were allowed to go and devour it. A lady who worked there taught me the best way to eat it – break up the bread into small pieces, dip into the fondue, and eat immediately for maximum deliciousness. Yum!
For the holiday, the Fêtes de Genève offered endless activities. There were amusement park rides, music concerts, dancing, and more! We saw a really cool Swiss band, Aliose, perform. They were amazing. (Listen to one of their songs – in French!) We were really moved by their lyrics, although we didn’t understand all of them. There was also a music space where people could just dance! This is something I’ve seen all over Europe – almost everywhere we went, we always came across people dancing in the streets at night – and I finally had the chance to do it!
Although we were a week early for the famous fireworks display, the city also put on a smaller show for the holiday! This was followed by a drums performance. A drum group was placed in the middle of the lake to play music – the distance was so great that saw the performers hit their drums before actually hearing the beats. It was crazy to have such a clashing visual-audio rhythm!
Geneva is such a walkable city and it was incredibly lively for the Swiss National Holiday!