After managing to luck-out on a guided tour of CERN, we spent a morning looking around the city centre of Geneva. Our experience of Switzerland cities so far in Basel and Bern had been quite Germanic, but Geneva is more French. Not really surprising when it is surrounded by France. Not only were the locals speaking Gallic, the road signs were all in French and pastries had replaced pretzels in shops. It is also surrounded on three sides by snow-capped mountains, so even though it was a sunny day and the air temperature wasn’t too bad, it was very breezy, which added a distinct chill!
Geneva is at the southern tip of one of the largest lakes in Europe, to which it gives its name. Lake Geneva is largely fed by the Rhône Glacier, and drains into the Rhône River, which makes its way to the Mediterranean. The lake is very clear and a deep blue which, with the mountain backdrops, gives great views. However, one of the main features in Geneva is the massive fountain that apparently shoots 140m in the air, but it was off, probably because it was very windy!
We were visiting Geneva on a Sunday, so we weren’t expecting much to be open. To our surprise though, there were quite a lot of people about. A large proportion of them appeared to be wearing shorts though, which seemed at-odds with the conditions. It turned out that the Geneva marathon was being run.
From what we did see of Geneva, it’s clear that it is rich. There are lots of high-end shops, particularly watch shops. It wasn’t hard to find watches that cost more than a new car. And those were the ones that actually had prices on. We also came across a fairly respectable looking shop that was blatantly selling marijuana. Small bags of ‘herb’ of various kinds, as well as associated paraphernalia. Apparently cannabis is technically illegal in Switzerland, but the fine for selling and personal use is small and rarely enforced.
We returned to The Van to head back north around the lake…