In retrospect, I believe there was no more wallet-draining moment to choose for a russian resident to visit Geneva than this February of 2015. Let’s just say that budget trips and Switzerland are two things that don’t mix well. But I fell in love with Geneva anyway.
When I used to be a kid, mom and I used to travel together a lot. So we ended up going to this winter retreat together, through Geneva towards skiing in La Chapelle D’Abondance in France. While in Geneva, I was playing the part of a tourist photographer falling behind to take yet another awesome-to-be picture. I guess, this is why my mom is walking ahead in most of these shots. Actually, I’m happy with how organic and non-staged they look: my own little “follow us around for a day in Geneva” project.
Geneva turned out to be a wonderfully picturesque city by the lake, near the mountans, with beautiful tall buildings meant for banks, high end stores, restaurants and other credible venues. Every building you look at has a brand name on top of it. By evening time, they all lit up beautifully creating this memorable image of a proud and business-like city. Ironically, the only partially non-functional sign board I could see was that of the Zenith watches with russian origin. I think the irony of this fact struck me enough to mention this circumstantial joke to at least three people.
When we landed in Geneva Airport I was disappointed and disapproving of all the ruckus going on, skiis all over the floors, hoards of people at the baggage claim, making it hard to manuever with suitcases. After being used to landing at Schiphol Airport and going through customs within 5 minutes of exiting the plane, it’s hard to face so much confusion in a place you thought should always be proper. We settled at a small very low budget F1 hotel 30 minutes by bus outside of Geneva, on french territory in Ferney Voltaire, which was at a considerabely lower price than any hotel in Geneva itself.
The very next day we departed bright and early into the city where we did some sightseeing. I ended up seeing Geneva as a highly photogenic city and a wonderful place to spend money, when you have loads of it, of course. But even for a money-less student, Geneva was so beautiful: the crystal clear water of the lake, the swans gliding effortlessly, the streets empty and the church bells ringing at 10 in the morning. I saw the fountain for the first time peeking behind the buildings as we stood on the view point in the old city center.
I went on this trip thinking I’d find out some wonderful local hangout spots to recommend, but my recommendation list is pretty scarce this time. All I can tell you, french grocery shops are to die for – I’ve never seen such wide ranges of products anywhere. From cheese, to meat, fish, and so much more. The only swiss grocery shop I’ve been to is the delicatessen on the zero floor of Globus, just walking around which makes you want to say, “Shut up and take my money”.
The one day in Geneva on our way to the skii resort, we ended up having lunch in the city center’s Chez Ma Cousine which was recommended on TripAdvisor along with the chicken plate menu that came with a side salad and fries for the price of 15 swiss francs. It was filling, it was nice, it was food – I couldn’t say much else.
On our way back home we spent another day in Geneva and walked around the mentioned above Globus. When I got hungry and tired of making circles around the building in search for affordable food, I went all out in the cafes within Globus. One of the 5 options aside from burgers or seafood stands, a wine bar, an ice cream and dessert stand turned out to be asian food, including wok, japanese sushi sets with such huge prices (nothing like I’ve ever seen before in my life, at least not for sushi), and simple rice with 12 shrimps and a bottle of Sprite which ridded me of the remaining 22 francs I posessed.
It was hella good though. The sauce and the rice made me recall this amazing taste I must have felt once before in my life, because, boy, it was amazing. How good can a simple plate of rice get? Funny enough, I do not regret any money spent. It was good food.
I loved visiting Geneva very much and I’ll be glad to go back and do all the things I didn’t get to do today. To turn window-shopping into real shopping, indulge in exploring all the ins and outs of the city, enjoying the warm weather and shooting outfits in beautiful and stunning surroundings. I hope you get the same urge to visit when you see all the pictures I’ve taken.