Zipping through 9 hours in Geneva Switzerland

We began the day early (7:55am departure) and left for the airport via a FREE morning shuttle from our hotel. Although breakfast was not included, they did have coffee, tea and a few baked treats for us to grab at 5am. Since Jason had forgotten his coat on the Lufthansa flight the day before, we were fortunate enough to find that Munich security had the coat in lost and found. The pick up was quick and painless and didn’t require us buying a new coat for the trip.

Make sure to grab yourself some wonderful MILKA before boarding any flight!

We left on a high note and shortly after we were off to our next destination — Geneva, Switzerland (arrival 9:05am).

After a short one hour flight, we found ourselves in Geneva. Despite our bags being transferred to the next destination (Catania), we still went to the baggage claim to get our free public transport ticket (good for 80 minutes). It’s a ticket booth, so you cannot miss it.

As you embark on this journey, whether it is a stopover or for the long haul, don’t forget to put your linguistic skills to good use and immerse yourself in this multilingual land – German, Italian, French, English, you name it, they know it!

One thing the Swiss have down pat is efficient public transportation. Tram, bus, boat, everything runs on schedule with ruthless efficiency.

 

The entry system is run on a trust system like many of the train systems across Europe, but here, it is applied to the entire public transportation system. Simply go to any transportation machine at the bus stop and pick the appropriate rate (the cheapest option is good for an hour), then just hop on the bus. Alternatively, you can hop on the bus and pay the driver as well.

We took Bus #5 to Place de neuve. A good starting point to explore some of Geneva’s offerings.

One thing about Geneva is that is a very walkable city. 

Most of the attractions we wanted to go see were within minutes of each other, so most of the sites could be seen within a few hours.

       

Unfortunately, one thing we did not get was beautiful weather, overcast skies and rain filled our day and blocked our views of the lush landscapes.

However, despite the dreary weather, we could still tell that Geneva is a beautiful city by its cleanliness and architecture.

                

Our first stop as we walked down the cobblestone streets was St. Peter’s Cathedral. This large protestant cathedral was beautiful but simple on the inside, and a marvel of beauty on the outside. While we only went into the church itself, you can pay a fee and explore more of its offerings if you have time.

    

After we finished, we walked along the harbour of Lake Geneva, to see “Jet d’eau“, one of the iconic marks of Geneva. The towering jet can be seen from far off in the city, and if you don’t mind getting wet, you can walk right up to the spout itself.

          

We then continued to stroll down the harbour front to “L’horloge fleurie“, one of the only flower clocks in the world.

We took some of the other sites such as the Basilica of our Lady of Geneva, and Palace of Nations (the former headquarters of the UN).

   

After we took in some sites, we did some shopping in the shopping districts of Geneva.

  

Note 1: asides from Switzerland using francs and not euros, most shops accept euros on a 1:1 ratio – meaning that you lose a lot in the conversion.

Note 2: Secondly, Geneva (and Switzerland in general) is not cheap, this is especially true of course in the more touristy areas (as is most tourist areas). For instance, our double cheeseburger and small cold coffee came up to 10 francs (equivalent to $14 CAD or $9€).

Unfortunately, we did not bring many francs and wanted to limit our spending. We heard a lot of the restaurant that sits atop of the Manor store complex called Manora, that Jason understood was fairly cheap due to the pay by the kilo program. Unfortunately, either I was wrong or misunderstood, but it was certainly more pay by the piece and the prices were a bit high (e.g., 8 euros for a small plate of salad).

We decided to go to another restaurant that we were recommended called Chez ma cousine, where the pricing was slightly better. However, after seeing the huge portions, I wanted to split a plate, but the restaurant refused, insisting we get separate plates. In the end, we got a foot long sub, a cookie and a diet coke at Subway for 20 francs. Again, Geneva is NOT cheap.

Ending our short tour around 3:30pm, we took the marvelous public transportation (Bus #5) to the airport where we relaxed until it was time to board for our next destination → Catania, Italy.

Airport Security MAN-handling: Jason was searched TWICE by security! First, in Munich, because he forgot to take his belt off. Second, in Geneva, because he either had cream or soap residue on his hands that alerted the detectors. Be extremely careful when going through their security.

Of course, once you get through, don’t forget to thank Swiss Air for their amazing chocolates…

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