[error]You need to spend longer than a weekend in Geneva…[/error]
There are many places in the world that I have wanted to visit, but Geneva wasn’t one of them. Yet this is the 2nd time I have been now and the views are picture (postcard) perfect.
Switzerland to me was just going to be full of mountains and cows with bells on, full of rich tax evaders and chocolate. I was wrong…
Gadget Geek Boy was actually over for the Salon International de l’Auto or to you, me and all of the other Englisher’s, the Geneva Motorshow. This is one of thee best places to see the latest releases of vehicles from the major manufacturers, which unfortunately knocks the socks off what was the British Motor Show.
This was a flying visit (fly in on the Saturday and back home on the Sunday) but it didn’t stop me visiting some of the famous sites of Geneva. Flights as ever were provided by British Airways, with Business Class seats coming in at less than £200 including tax, a bargain if you ask me.
The hotel, NH Geneva Airport was booked on Expedia and cost £157 without City Tax and/or Breakfast, yet provided a nice location that was easy enough to hit the city.
Everyone who visits Geneva has to go down to the shoreline of Lake Geneva and visit the Jet d’Eau, one of the largest water fountains in the world pumping gallons of water to a height of at least 450ft. A small jetty can be walked down to get closer, but a change in the wind direction can soak you completely!
Take a (free) trip across the lake on one of the boat taxis and have a coffee on the other jetty with a view of Mont Blanc in the distance, the views here are truly amazing.
My other favourite place was in one of the City Centre streets, a small square with a few bars and cafes. But at night so many cobblestones are lit up in blue with a greeting written in many different languages. I found the good old english “Cheers”
There are lots of places to eat in Geneva, none of which are cheap. In the daytime I found a small bakery that sold me a Ham and Swiss Cheese baguette for a mere £11.70 add a medium latte from Starbucks and it took it closer to the £20 mark.
At night I visited a place called Cafe du Centre, next to the Lord Nelson pub on a beautiful square. There I had a small steak with an amazing mushroom sauce and fried potatoes, that with a small beer cost me £40, just for myself, but my god was it tasty.
I did have half a litre of beer at the Lord Nelson Pub next door, this place offers a large range of Worldwide beers, as well as a few local treats including Schnapps.
[alert]Move Around By…[/alert]
When checking in my hotel, I asked the receptionist how to get around in Geneva. He gave me a travel ticket for free, this covered me for transport around the city. This included Trams, Trolleybuses, Buses, Trains and Boats. The system was so easy to use and I managed to get into the city (Bel Air) by Tram.
I also used the ticket to get myself from one bank of the lake to the other, it was a lovely ride aross a beautiful view filled lake.
[error]Events that are on…[/error]
There are many Events in Geneva that happen throughout the year, I attended the Geneva 83rd International Motorshow at PalExpo. This was connected more or less directly with the airport and was easy to get to.
Other events in Geneva include the Sailing Regatta that happens in June and is one of the most important sailing events with over 500 boats attending. The Christmas Festival is also worth attending and has a similar theme to the German Markets that are on the increase in England.
[success]Places to Shop…[/success]
You need money in this city, but there is a wide range of shops selling mainly jewellery and watches at many thousands of pounds. Bear in mind this is where some of the major watches are produced by the likes of Rolex and Omega.
There are many electrical outlets selling the latest techs and gadgets, but to be honest, despite the tax benefits here, it can work out cheaper pre-planning your purchases beforehand and taking advantage of buying from Dixon’s Tax Free at the airports.
I did find a really nice electrical shop at Geneva Airport that sold a wide range of quirky gadgets, I picked up a solar powered grasshopper for Gadget Geek Junior and some cable holders called CableDrop, these stop your cables from slipping down the back of your desk! They are great!
[info]Places to Stay…[/info]
Doesn’t matter where you stay in Switzerland, you won’t find it cheap. Although there are Accor Hotels and Formula 1 hotels around (manily on the French side), getting somewhere close to the city can be difficult.
If you want to push the boat out there are some beautiful hotels on the front, right next to the lake. These are the hotels with the Rolls Royce Phantoms outside.
I stayed at the NH Geneva Hotel, advertised as next to the airport. It was but on the opposite side to the terminal entrance/exit. It did offer a free shuttle service, supposedly every 20 minutes, but more like 40 minutes. I payed £150 through Expedia with no breakfast and city taxes, it was close to a Premier Inn in England and a lot of money to pay for one night.
Many of the major airlines fly in to Geneva, including British Airways, Jet2, Easyjet and Ryanair. The flight time is approx. 2 hours and flights can be as cheap as £35 each way depending on the time of year. We flew with British Airways and paid no more than £200 for Business Class flights with access to the lounges.
It is very possible to drive here and a future trip of mine will include this city as a destination before heading into the Alp’s and possibily Italy.
There are also trains with connections with Eurostar via Paris and SNCF, it is worth looking at all options.
Whilst in this beautiful city, I was approached by a very well dressed guy who asked me for the time. He carried on the conversation asking me where I had come from and what I was up to in the city.
He seemed very genuine, its only when I went to take a breath and look down that I realised his hand was in my pocket. I hit his hand down and told him to get out of my pocket.
He asked for my wallet and I told him no, and told him where to go.
I was very lucky and I’m not the type of person to carry cash around with me, especially not on such a short trip. It also happened in a very busy area of Geneva down by the lake and not the type of place you would think, somebody whould risk.
As with all places make sure you keep your possessions safe. Pickpockets and Opportunists are in operation all over the world and not just Geneva. But don’t let this spoil your trips…