This blog is the second part of my stopover in Geneva at the end of November. The first part of this post can be found here: https://connorbarrett.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/flight/
Exploring Geneva on Foot
On landing in Geneva I immediately reaped the benefits of Swiss public transport as I made the journey from the airport to the city centre by train, in a matter of minutes. I stayed in the Paquis area of the city, near to the central station. The rest of the day was spent walking around Geneva’s many districts but the most intriguing, especially in terms of the photographic opportunities was the Old Town or Vieille Ville.
The highest point in the city, the Old Town also provides the perfect spot to stop and look over the modern city. I used the Jet D’eau as a navigational tool for the duration of my stay in the city as my hotel was located just over the bridge on the other side of the lake to this sensational landmark. The Jet D’eau can be seen in the distance in this photo taken from a mound of earth at the top of the Old Town. The weather was kind to me on the first day of my stay, and provided beautiful lighting for the photograph I have included below.
I took a rare selfie given the uniqueness of Geneva’s most popular landmark!
The steep incline towards the Old Town was well worth the effort when I reached the top. Wandering around the Old Town, I was fascinated by the architecture. Whilst I didn’t enter into any of the old churches or museums, their exteriors provided excellent photo opportunities.
In the early evening I returned north of the lake and decided to indulge in a beer, or two! On trying to order a pint of beer in my best GCSE French, I was highly amused when the barman brought me two half pints. I don’t know the exact strength of the beer I ordered but it must have been approaching double figures! This was particularly unfortunate given my empty stomach, I decided to embark on a short walk before finding somewhere to eat.
Finding a hidden gem: Au Petit Chalet
After wandering around Geneva for around an hour trying to decide on the best place to eat, I asked the hotel for their recommendation. I love fish and, when reading about the city, I noticed that some restaurants were particularly noted for their fish. The receptionist directed me to one of Geneva’s hidden gems – Au Petit Chalet. The restaurant was quaint and served traditional Swiss and French cuisine. The fish served in the restaurant is sourced in the nearby lake; I ordered white fish in a citrus sauce which was served with an accompaniment rice. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that for the relatively cheap price of 28 CHF, my dish consisted of four fillets of fish, a large bowl of rice and some complimentary bread. It was simply delicious and I would highly recommend Au Petit Chalet to anyone visiting Geneva. To finish the meal I ordered an apricot sorbet, a refreshing treat before heading to the nearest pub for some more traditional Swiss beer.
My Running Tour
I woke early on the second morning to do more exploring. After breakfast I decided to go for a run. Running in Geneva added Switzerland to the list of countries I have run in which currently include: UK, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Belgium and Switzerland. The first thing which struck me that morning was the sharp drop in temperature from the previous evening. Accompanied by a stiff breeze, the low temperature made conditions uncomfortable to say the least! My plan when I set out was to run part of the path around Lac Leman, yet I quickly decided that wasn’t advisable given the weather. Instead I opted for a lap around Parc de la Grange. There was still a distinct chill to the air as I circled the park, however I was sheltered from the harshness of the wind by the park’s trees and walls. Running back over the bridge towards the railway station I was once again exposed to the wind but the thought of a warm shower and coffee drove me on. As a reward for my early morning run, I made another shorter trip to the Old Town, this time in search of a Patisserie for coffee and an indulgent sweet pastry with a custard filling.
The United Nations
I left just enough time for a visit to the United Nations on the other side of Geneva, making full use of my travel ticket in the process. Although there is no public access to the United Nations with the entrance under armed guard, I was able to photograph the many flags of the United Nations on display just beyond the front gates.
Whilst outside the United Nations it was impossible to avoid a rather more unusual landmark; The Broken Chair. The red chair outside the gates of the United Nations has only three legs, yet still towers over its surroundings. According to My Switzerland, the landmark is an appeal to countries to ‘remember the plight of landmine victims’; it is certainly a striking image.
Due to the brevity of my visit my thoughts soon turned to home. How could I possibly take something back from Geneva to remind me of this beautiful city? How else but by shopping for chocolate! In the shopping centre attached to Geneva’s train station lies the perfect chocolatier. The smell of Läderach is intoxicating; from freshly made chocolate slabs in many different flavours to delicate and sophisticated individual truffles, Läderach has it all. I opted for a slab of dark chocolate with candied blackberry, the flavour both unique and indulgent. I also visited the local supermarket for my favourite chocolate of all time: Ragusa.
Before boarding the plane home I managed two last minute Swiss indulgences. I treated myself to an apple tart and non-alcoholic Swiss beer since I had to drive on arrival at Manchester! The perfect end to my stay in Geneva.