July 12, 2013
Bonsoir from GENEVA, SWITZERLAND!!!
Why Switzerland? Well, when Corsica became too expensive of an option we started rushing to find somewhere in Italy that we could easily travel to after our day trip to Nice. However, the plane tickets were once again way too expensive, and the train rides were way too long. We started looking at places closer to Marseille and Nice, and soon found a great deal on tickets to Geneva! Molly and I each paid only 150 Euros roundtrip for our train tickets (way cheaper than anything else we’ve seen), and are each paying about 43 Euros per night for our hotel room which is close to the city center, has a continental breakfast, free wifi, and free city bus passes! Win, win, win! Besides the money factor, we wanted to travel somewhere that was distinctly different from Marseille and the other Mediterranean cities we’ve seen on this trip so far.
Our day started off quite early once again. We woke up at 5:00 and left our hotel in Marseille at 5:45 to take the subway directly to the train station. We arrived at the station around 6:05, got our tickets, and boarded our train to Lyon, France at 6:35. Our train car was empty except for a younger boy named Ben who was going to Lyon to visit his grandmother. Ben’s aunt asked us to make sure he was okay and got off at the right stop. Ben was fine, and he likely speaks better French than either one of us.
We arrived in Lyon at 8:25 and were scared of missing our connecting train to Geneva that was set to leave 10 minutes later. Lucky for us we found our next terminal with no trouble, and actually ended up leaving for Geneva a little later at 8:50.
Our train arrived in Geneva around 10:30. No one ever checked our passports. We stayed around the station until about 11:00 to buy a map and get a snack. We knew our hotel was a short walk away from the train station but still had a difficult time figuring out where exactly we were. We finally got to the hotel around 11:30, but our room wasn’t ready yet. We were pretty tired and we had all of our luggage with us, so we decided to sit in the lobby and take advantage of the free wifi until our room was clean. We ended up officially checking in at 12:25.
Our hotel is adorable! We even have a physical key to get into the room, not a card.
Molly and I weren’t exactly sure what we wanted to see today and what we wanted to leave for tomorrow and Sunday, so we walked down to Lake Geneva and decided we’d just go with the flow and see whatever sites we came across.
The first site we saw was the famous Jet d’Eau fountain. From there we set off to see the Flower Clock, the St. Pierre Cathedral, and the Reformation Wall on the other side of the river from our hotel. We got lost a couple of times, but we always found our way eventually.
The side streets of Geneva almost remind us of the cute winding roads in Florence. The only problem is that once you’re lost down a side street, it’s hard to see any tall landmarks to position yourself and find your way out. We really like Geneva so far though. Getting lost down side streets made our day a lot more interesting.
Although Geneva is a large city, it’s surprisingly quiet. It took Molly and I a few hours to realize that the Swiss don’t constantly honk their horns like the French do. The only downside to the city so far is that everything (food in particular) seems so extremely expensive. Switzerland actually uses a different currency than France; they use the Swiss Franc which is almost equivalent is the US dollar. I’d been warned that Switzerland was expensive, but had thought everyone was merely over-exaggerating. Molly and I actually brought our own bread, peanut butter, and nutella to Switzerland so we could easily pack a lunch for our train rides and for hiking, but I’m glad we have a little stash of food so we won’t have to spend so much money on snacks here.