Geneva, Switzerland (Mostly Day One except the last two pictures)
Oh Geneva: the home and headquarters of so many international organizations, some of which I would be more than happy to work for. Switzerland is one of those places I was ridiculously excited about visiting... and so I did. Oct 4th-6th was our first free weekend (free being no mandatory field studies for classes) and the vast lot of us decided to venture about and go on exciting independent travels. My friends went all over, from Barcelona (my roommate) to Amsterdam (Eunice, who was featured before in the Bergues post) to Rome (Jessica, featured in the Brighton post).
The pictured are posted mostly in chronological order. I got off the plane pretty early in the morning, 10am? and had all day and the next day to indulge in all things Swiss (EXCEPT THE JET D'EAU BECAUSE IT'S UNDER MAINTENANCE IN OCTOBER............)
|Woot! Solar powered train! 7 CHF ($8)!|
I walked around a lot, browsing Old Town mostly and hanging around the Lake front. Eventually I hopped on a Solar Powered Train that showed me a good amount of the lake and points of interests around it. Taking the solar powered train made me feel like I was supporting sustainable initiatives there, to try to make up for the ridiculous carbon footprint I'm going to have by the end of the year.
|Oh look at how typical lake-like Lake Geneva is, without the Jet D'eau...|
|Old Town Geneva!|
|Free City Taxi Boat - that I should have gone on and didn't... Oh well!|
|Ile Rousseau behind me, on the left. And construction on the right...|
|International Red Cross Museum!|
So I hopped on a train, one in the afternoon...
But actually though, I woke up, had breakfast, went to the Red Cross Museum (pictured above) and then decided that while I'm in Switzerland, I might as well travel on a train through mountains or something. It was a bit of a ridiculous impulsive decision, and thus surpassed the amount of money I was planning on spending this trip, but it was so lovely.
Vevey is home to the Alimentarium, aka Food Museum. Therefore, there is a fork in the water...
There are also white plastic chairs drilled into the rocks... I sat on one for a good while, just taking in the breathtaking view of the lake and the mountains. However, my legs were getting decently splattered when the tide crashed a bit higher than average. I imagine that they're super popular spots during the summer!
The Alimentarium actually was pretty interesting; there was a good 3D video about digestion and different foods being broken up by the various parts of the body and the molecular processes of digestion as well. There was an art section with still life fruit and other foods. There were rooms about processing and packaging and history of all of that.
All in all, I had an incredible time in Switzerland. I'm glad I got to go to Geneva and try my hand at speaking French every once in a while (like the Museum cashier people, locals to ask for directions). It was a good test run in how much I'll enjoy solo-travelling, and I'm even more excited about December now.
OVERALL - Things I learned in Switzerland:
- Try to keep to a budget anyway, even if you're bound to stray from it. Figure out how much you're willing to spend on food (factoring in how expensive food is) and how much major attractions are going to cost you!
- Look into the opening times of attractions - even if it doesn't seem necessary to do so. For example, I got to Switzerland on Friday and assumed that the UN Palais de Nations would be open on Saturday (because it was in a park, right?)... but it's only open Monday to Friday!
- Find out free attractions, and make sure you have a good map! I got to go into the "Musée international de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant rouge" or the International Red Cross Museum for free on Saturday, because it's "pay what you wish" on the first Saturday of each month.
- Transportation can get super pricey! Most (if not all) hostels in Geneva will provide you a "Free Transport Card" that will get you free public transportation, so check into your hostel early and get around faster with public transportation.
- Hostels are expensive. It was super clean (Geneva Youth Hostel) but I felt like I spent a ton of money on staying a night.)
- It is almost impossible to not look like a tourist if you are constantly taking pictures of things... take pictures anyway and just be cautious!
- Dress nicely! Make sure to have comfortable shoes (especially because lots of Europe is cobbled streets and it's ridiculous). It's nice to have some nice pictures of yourself in lovely travel shots (or a gazillion in my case), and it's best to be wearing outfits you look great in.