Thursday, July 2, 2009

Geneva, Genf, or Geneve?

Geneva panorama from the cathedral - click to enlarge
We spent last weekend in Geneva, or was it Genf, or Geneve? Hmm, I can never get it right. I think I will just take the English road and call it Geneva from here on out. But, really, who cares, right? Whatever you call it, it's a lovely place for a weekend getaway.

We arrived on Saturday via train with what will no doubt soon be a much mentioned topic here on the blog - the Supersaver ticket. Truly, again, it was like getting two tickets for the price of one. Awesome. And upon arriving, we were met by our guides for the day... recognize these two?! :) That's right - Rob and Tina from Finding Simplicity (whom we met at the Blogger meet up!) were kind enough to show us around their city on one of their rare weekends in town, and we were happy to follow them wherever they wanted to take us... (psst. they are fabulous guides...)

We started in the old town after a hearty lunch at Manora - great view from the top there - Tina was right! Then after a walk down Geneva's equivalent to Bahnhofstrasse that goes by four different names (one being Rue de Marche) we hit up the beautiful cathedral.

Make sure you duck around to one of the side wings to check out these stained glass windows. Afterwards, we paid CHF 4 each to walk up the tower and see the 360 degree views of Geneva from the top.
Isn't that a fabulous view? The Geneva Jet d'Eau (translated it means 'jet of water'... clever those French Swiss) was especially visible from the panorama views atop the cathedral. Luckily we had great weather to enjoy the view and the day. The cathedral is also an archeological site that you can visit 7 days a week, which we did on Sunday on our own, and it was just as fab as Rob and Tina said it would be... you can see the layers of various churches built atop one another and watch interesting videos about the origins of the city. There is also a full audio guide included in the tour price. I, too, would highly recommend checking it out.

After the cathedral, we stopped by the sight of the signing of the Geneva Convention, this is the door leading outside below. The place where it was signed was historically significant, but I prefer the asthetics of the door...

We then also visited Maison Tavel, a four story old house that has been converted into a museum dedicated to Geneva's urban history and domestic life. Make sure you check out the real, used guillotine and the photo in the kitchen of the 70 year old woman with a full beard. No joke.
We then were in serious need of a heat break (read: ice cream), so we headed to the waters of Lake Geneva, walking down the crowded main streets and passing the lovely waterside park amidst the city's hustle and bustle (watch your purses around these parts, ladies... says Tina).

After an ice cream, we got up close and personal with the jet of water. Did you know that that water is being shot out at over 200km per hour? No wonder they do not let anyone get too close to it. But on a hot day the off-spray from the jet is pretty welcome. And it does make for an awesome feature.

No wonder Zürich has the 'Little Genf' or little Geneva jet on the Zurich See! Everyone wants a jet of water!
Tina and Rob... our awesome tour guides! So glad they were in town!

After the treat we were off to Carouge, the Greenwich Village of Switzerland, or so wikipedia says, a planned city that is a grid of quaintness. We passed this park, Park de Bastions, on the way to Carouge and on Sunday we could not help but return to have a bit of fun with the super sized chess set (near Place de Neuve) after our archeological adventures at the cathedral.

Saturday night we went in search of snails and ended up with an Indian feast - long story - and ran into a spontaneous village festival in France - another long story - but those long stories make for great adventures, don't they? :)

Finally, on Sunday, before heading back with the supersaver ticket to Zürich (just 2 hours and 45 minutes by train direct, by the way), I had the BEST FALAFEL sandwich I have ever eaten on Rue Chaponniere - there are heaps of great international restaurants on this street so check it out. One of the many benefits of Geneva being the home of the UN!

And I saved some room for this very delish Mediterranean dessert - anyone know what this dessert is? It was made of vermicelli noodles and honey. Devine.

While I know you are thinking... what about CERN (drove by it!), the Red Cross Museum (out of the city a bit but perhaps next time), and the Broken Chair Monument (pity I could not force Jace to do weird photos with this...)?!!... I have to admit, even without visiting those hot spots, we enjoyed Geneva - to the point in which Jace wanted to apply to the UN... crazy boy.

It really is a great weekend get-away from Zürich and if you are lucky to have the company of some great hometown bloggers - it makes it even better! Thanks again to Rob and Tina for a great weekend.

Please check out their blog, Finding Simplicity, for more adventures with Rob and Tina! :)

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Kathy said...

I am such a sucker for giant chess sets. I loved finding one in the park in Genf/Geneve/Geneva.

Expat Traveler said...

I stayed in Geneva for 3 wks one time and I really got to explore the city. MY only wish is that I took more great photos back in 2002..

Your photos are great! What a great report.. There is always so much to see. I really love going on the short trips to France too. Evian and Yvoire are really beautiful and only a boat ride away!

Tina said...

Yeah! I am so glad you had a fun time! It was nice for us to see you again and be tourists in our own city.

I am glad you played Chess! I love that park. The reformation wall statue was probably covered though with stands since there is an outdoor play going on there this month for the Calvinus 500th year celebration. Rob and I missed you guys by a few hours since we played chess later that evening in the same place. Although we got crazy UNSOLICITED help from a bystander.

For your blog reader - the festival was the Voltaire Fesitival in Ferney-Voltaire. Crazy french villagers!

Audrey Camp said...

Jonathan and I are coming back to Switzerland, but this time we'll be spending a couple of days in Geneva! This post has inspired me completely. Thanks, Jessica!

Sheryl said...

Oh my goodness! I'm so glad to have found your blog!
My husband and I will be traveling to Geneva this summer (July) for a conference he is attending... and we're trying to decide what we'll do!
Your pictures are beautiful :)


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