Geneve- day 1… Arriving in Suisse

As I write this I am having breakfast at my hotel in Geneva. I guess it finally dawned on me that I was in Switzerland when I was at the Zurich airport and they were making announcements in French and German and I couldn’t understand shit. Damn I shoulda brushed up on my French. It’s been my childhood dream to make it Switzerland… I always conjured images of gorgeous milieu of snow-capped mountains and dreamy little towns. Finally I made it here, not out of my own planning but for work. The plus side: free trip, stay and food. The huge con: not enough time to explore!

The flight from Zurich to Geneva was kind of ridiculous: first of all it was 30 mins long so the boarding process took as long as the flight itself. When we were flying over Geneva, I looked down and saw snow capped mountains and lakes…. it was breathtaking! After checking in and a quick nap at the hotel I started my first Swiss excursion. My hotel was in the Petit Lancy area, which was a 5-minute walk to work and awfully close to a lot of the major banks and corporations in the area. Buildings with names like Credit Suisse, UBS, Ernst & Young stood tall and proud all around the hotel.

I wanted to check out the downtown area by the lake and found out that there was a tram right outside the hotel that would take me there. The weather was sadly not the best… it was kind of overcast and drizzly however I was shocked at the pleasant temperatures. I assumed chilly temperatures considering the proximity to some of the best ski slopes in the world, but I didn’t even need a coat!

Flower Clock in Jardin Anglais

After disembarking the tram, I walked along Promenade du Lac and passed Jardin Anglais which houses a giant flower clock that is a tribute to the ubiquitous watch industry in Suisse. The view from the lake shore was beautiful… with the mountains looming in the distance. I crossed Pont du Mont Blanc (Mont Blanc bridge) and arrived at Quai du Mont Blanc. I walked the stretch taking pictures and marveling at the views, although the overcast sky made things quite foggy.

Pont du Mont Blanc under an overcast sky

I was starting to get pretty ravenous at this point so I walked around for a while trying to figure out what I was craving. A Thai restaurant caught my eye, as did Chinese and Indian. I was struck by the amalgam of different cuisines sprinkled everywhere. Greek? Yup. French? Of course. I even chanced upon a Khwai restaurant (native to Botswana). I finally settled on a quaint Italian and Suisse restaurant called Au Petit Chalet. Requesting an outdoors table, I dined on porcini risotto and red wine while alternating between reading my book and people watching. People of every color and race walked by. I also played photographer  with my new Nikon D3100.

By this time, it was starting to cool down and my little parka wasn’t enough so I stopped by the never-too-far Starbucks and grabbed a hot chocolate before heading toward my hotel. Unfortunately, I caught the wrong tram going back and was stranded on a desolate street for about 20 minutes before a cab saved me. I have always heard rave reviews about safety in Geneva, but as a solo woman with an expensive camera strung on my shoulder, I have to say those were a few minutes of a racing heart before that cab came along.

Satisfied with my first day of exploration, I caught some zzz’s. Next up: first day at the Nielsen Geneva office and exploration in Old Town!

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