Sunday 11th August
We are staying at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva. The day started with breakfast, which was superb, apart from the pancakes which tasted like they had come from a packet. Even Jay couldn’t eat them (and he eats everything).
I looked at the gym. (Looking is a good start…)
We did a free walking tour. These are always a bit varied, as it depends on the tour-guide. Some are excellent, but this one was a bit boring and it was hard to hear/understand the guide. He tended to use very flowery language and every sentence wandered off to the mountains and back before he made his point, which meant that my mind wandered off too, and didn’t always make it back in time to actually hear what his point was. However, we were shown all the most interesting parts of the city.
Some highlights were: the statue of Henry Dunant (who started the Red Cross in Geneva, and who campaigned for executions to be stopped, so his statue is on the old site of execution) and the cathedral and a huge statue of various figures who were big in the Reformation (the carvings were big too) and a cool model of the city, which was right at the top of the museum. Calvin was from Geneva, and we passed several austere looking churches.
I can tell you that Geneva is a clean city full of banks and clocks, fountains, and chocolate. It is expensive and clean and functional and ethnically diverse. It did not, to me, seem very friendly. Personally, I prefer the slightly dirty cities in Italy and France, full of smelly cobbled streets where you are suddenly surprised by a beautiful square filled with music.
We had a McDonalds, which cost as much as a three-course meal at The Ritz in London. My family had a very long debate about computers and I tried to work out how the code on the receipt worked for opening the door to the washrooms.
We wandered very slowly (my family moves at snail-pace) up to look at the water jet, which blows across the jetty when the wind blows (nice when it’s sunny).
We caught a ferry across the lake and walked back to the hotel via the United Nations building. There are little fountains here, with children running though them, and a huge chair statue. The chair represents both stability and fragility—when the countries in the world work together, the world is a stable place, but we need to support the weaker countries or the whole thing could break down.
We ate dinner in Cafe du Soleil, which was away from the city centre and had more sensible prices (though I still paid the price of a bottle of wine for a single tiny glass). Best of all was the fondue, which they let us share (most restaurants will charge for every person who eats some). It was a mix of cheese and wine and was completely delicious. A very happy evening. I will tell you more about our trip on Monday–thanks for reading.
I hope you have a happy day. Take care.
Love, Anne x
Have you read my travel book yet? The Sarcastic Mother’s Holiday Diary. It will make you smile, and is a great gift for someone you love.