Saturday, June 7, 2014

Switzerland Part 1: Geneva

guest post by Owen

At the end of May, we had a chance to visit good friends in Switzerland for an extra-long weekend.  This will be the first of four posts on our trip, covering the time we spent in Geneva.

We left Leiden early on Thursday morning and, one short plane ride later, were exploring Geneva before noon.  We weren't meeting our friends in Lausanne until about 5 p.m., so we had a whole day to spend.  The plan was to walk into the old city to find the cathedral, but since breakfast had been so long ago, and there was a lovely park on the lakeside, we decided to stop for a trail-mix break:

Not even the Jet d'Eau could dampen our spirits! (Nor did it try.)
Nearly every fountain in the city has a small sign telling you whether the water is safe to drink or not, so we were also able to refill our water bottle frequently:

If the water is "eau non potable" then the little symbol of a wine goblet is crossed out.
Both of the days we were in Geneva, we had lunch at Chez Ma Cousine, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where half a roast chicken, a tray of provencal potatoes, and a bowl of salad goes for about 15 Swiss Francs—which would still have been an excellent deal even if the food hadn't been so delicious!  This restaurant is also very close to where we spent most of our afternoon: St. Pierre Cathedral and the International Museum of the Reformation.

Geneva's St. Pierre Cathedral.  The International Museum of the Reformation is on the left.
The Reformation Museum was delightfully organized: there were rooms packed with historical documents, paintings, and other historical objects; rooms with films discussing the theological, economical, and political movements surrounding the reformation; and even a small, cozy (I'm wanting to say "gezellig") room for listening to reformation-inspired music:

Photo from the museum website.
The cathedral was also beautiful, with cluster columns and gothic arches (if I'm remembering Clara's descriptions correctly):

The interior of St. Pierre Cathedral
On our way back to the train station on that first day, we remarked on some of the differences between Swiss and Dutch cities, as far as we could generalize.  Of course, Swiss cities are less flat and canal-laced as their Dutch counterparts, but we also observed that there is more lane-sharing between pedestrians, bikes, and cars, more stone and less brick in the buildings, and more clocks:

As you can tell from these pictures, the weather wasn't spectacular the days we were in Geneva, although we were always sheltered whenever the heavens opened, but stay tuned for some beautiful days in Lausanne, Gruyères, and elsewhere around Lake Geneva!


  1. Interesting observation about the clocks - they are very proud of them, and it's crazy that they already had those clocks in the 17th/19th century already. No CERN pictures?

    1. I think we actually have no CERN pictures because we went on our last day in Geneva, and because our camera had died by then. But perhaps we'll use some pictures from their website to show off how cool it is.

  2. oh I just saw this - yay! You hit the nice spots in Geneva at least and even if the weather wasn't the best, summer is by far the best season in Geneva for many reasons - the whole country just opens up with the warm weather! And Chez Ma Cousine is actually a small chain - they have 3 different locations in the city - and like you said it's a great bargain as restaurants go besides being delicious!


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