Ah, Genève, again. We walked to and fro from rive gauche to rive droit (left bank to right bank), starting each day at a delightful pâtisserie where they accepted my French (!!!) and I accepted their amazing pastries. Aside from our United Nations (UN) tour and wandering through a church, we strolled shopping districts and dined. Genève is full of pricey boutiques, well known chain stores (I saw three different H&Ms), Manor (major department store), and all types of cafe, bar, and crêperies. I wandered through a specialty market and almost gaped at the “cher” (expensive) fois grae available to order.
Cinque, and then some…
This is the famous “Jet d’Eau” that we never saw. It wasn’t functioning while we were there. I never tracked down the story and Margs reports that she has never known it to stop “jet-ing” – oh well, as they say in French, C’est la vie!
Before we arrived in Genève, we got the chance to ride the best airline EVER! Darwin.
Once we arrived, we easily found a city map and signs for free transportation to the city center. We could have gone anywhere on the line, I think, and the ticket lasted for 80 minutes. We considered stopping to eat, but we powered through. Sample menu of an airport restaurant…and me on the train (free ticket, courtesy of Geneva!).
Among our first sights are sculpture (public art is abundant)! Yee-hooo!
We arrived on foot at our hotel. We splurged on our hotel a bit due to Margs’ recommendations and observations about what your money will realistically get you in a city as expensive as Genève.
Toblerone on the pillows.
A clever energy efficiency key. Your room key has to be inserted in the wall pocket in order to run the electricity in the room. Of course, the loophole of two room keys is available, however I love knowing I’ve gotten all the lights in one fell swoop and I want such a device in my home!
Then we opted to use a hotel family discount at our hotel’s sister restaurant Emotion Olives. It was Thanksgiving weekend and I ignore my quasi-vegetarian tendencies on vacation (okay, honesty check, I really need to revisit my intentions towards vegetarianism overall…), so we ordered the duck for two and it is one of the best meals I have eaten. Ever.
The skin was coated with a thick syrup and slow roasted so it was crispy while the tender meat within was nearly juicy. The olive poached potato balls were accompanied with a pipette of oil for additional flavoring, a rather modernized touch. Overall, the meal was beautiful, simple, delicious.
Finally we met up with Margs after her work day. She got beer for the occasion.
Apparently, the selection in Genève is not much better than in Sicily. This was pretty good, and Margs reported that it is one of the few decent beers she has uncovered in Genève.
Later in the trip, when Dave and I had some solo time, we wandered into a shop to look at the beer selection. This is what we ended up choosing.
Walking on the street, we came across these fellows, who found a fun way to enjoy the beer. Maybe the more fun you have with it, the less you notice it is nowhere as good as the microbrews in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest?
We ate at crêperies, too. They were everywhere! Luckily, we had Margs to direct us to the yummiest of the selection.
Oh, that’s right, I forgot to take pictures at the crêperies because we were busy enjoying ourselves. Instead, the picture above is “raclette” a Swiss specialty. Yes, the Swiss like themselves some cheese. Being from Wisconsin, you’d think I would be ready for the cheese extravaganza, however, Swiss cheese is a tad sour for my tongue. Moreover, after living outside of Wisconsin, I was not in practice for such a cheese overload. Dave had fondue while I ordered the raclette, so there was no relief in sight. Luckily, I have been adapting well to the ubiquitous European patisseries.
We also toured the United Nations!
This mind-awing ceiling, which is the controversial ceiling there. It is more impressive in person and designed so that you can’t get the same perspective from any one standpoint. Reflecting humanity’s inevitable shortcomings in understanding each other.
This is another ceiling painting meant to give you pause. The artist chose two-toned presentation to represent the unnatural duality we impose upon our viewpoint of war, just as there is a palette of color in the world. The effect is less beautiful than the stalactite ceiling, but the message was powerful. The room is one where disarmament talks have been taking place. We can keep praying for peace, but we also have to search for it in our own hearts and souls.
The chair with the missing leg is in honor of victims of landmines. One of the most senseless side effects of war. Can you tell I am not big on using random physical violence to address social issues?
Back to food. We saw this unique restaurant right alongside a McDonald’s.
I turned on my heel and took this shot. I think Mike Wong has something strong going here. The famous athletic company swoosh rip-off might present a trademark problem if he builds up any amount of steam. (I don’t even want to say their name because I don’t want to draw their attention to his fine establishment.)
While we were making our way around the city, we saw a lot of compelling public sculpture.
Ohhhh….wait. That last photo was Margs! She was taking a break while I explored the Occupy Genève scene in the park.
We also checked out St. Peter’s Cathedral in old town.
On the less commercial side of things, a flower clock! Margs told us that the flowers are constantly changed to reflect the change of time and of season.
More artwork as a backdrop to everyday living.
Ancient doorways that have alternately allowed and kept out generations of Swiss.
Holiday decorations abounded, from the traditional to the Blair-Witch-ish (we even overheard other passersby saying the same).
This walk starts by the Hotel President Wilson.
A lovely swan surprise.
Ah, Genève. It was so nice to meet you. Let’s do it again, soon! (Maybe next time I’ll actually need the sunglasses.)