Monday, October 27, 2008

Geneva day trip

One of the benefits of living in Chambéry, or rather pays de Savoie, has to be its proximity to the neighbouring countries. Today, I decided to take a little hop across to Switzerland!

I had checked the weather online before I left ... not that great, but the best compared to the rest of the week! So with that in mind, I jumped on the 12:09 p.m. train to Geneva. The ride itself was really lovely, especially passing along the lake (Lac du Bourget). I arrived in Geneva about 1:30 p.m.. It.was.cold.and.rainy! (just my luck lol). Anyway, that wasn't going to stop my sheer determination to see the city a bit! I had a map of Geneva (from when I was there in transit to France last month) and decided that I should just see as many sites of interest as possible.

First I made my way to the lake (Lac Léman in French, or Lake Geneva in English), where the famous Jet d'eau (Water Jet) stood out from a distance. It wasn't as amazing as I expected though ... maybe because of the gloomy weather? Then I spotted another attraction: l'Horloge Fleurie (Flower Clock).

Here's what the Geneva Tourism site has to say about it:

"A symbol of the Geneva watch industry of world renown, the famous flower clock, located at the edge of the Jardin Anglais (English Garden) since 1955, is a masterpiece of technology and floral art. Formerly only decorative with its sole dial comprising over 6,500 flowers, the new millennium provided it with decisive artistic dimensions thanks to the ingenuity of the gardeners of the Service of Green Spaces and the Environment. It is now composed of eight concentric circles, the colours of which vary with the seasons and the plants which make up the display.
Did you know that the seconds hand of Geneva's Flower Clock is the largest in the world (it is more than 2.5 meters long)!"

Well the weather wasn't cooperating, and it's not much fun being a tourist in the rain (although it's a good thing I carried my umbrella!). Then I spotted the petit train! I really enjoy those tourist trains! The ride cost 8 Swiss Francs per adult and took visitors along Lake Geneva's leftbank (e.g. views of international organizations like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization from the lake, the Flower Clock, Water Jet, some statues, buildings, flowers, etc).

After that, I took a little walk along some of Geneva's streets, even stopped by the Tourism Office. There are a lot of designer stores, however, I did find a store that screamed Switzerland: there were lots of watches, clocks, swiss army knives, etc!

After that, I ate at Swissmeal (lol, I was looking for "authentic" Swiss food, but gave up the search and just opted for fast food with Swiss in the name ... lol, rip-off yes (in terms of cost), but it tasted fine). Next stop was at H&M, then the Metro Shopping centre, where I bought which is perhaps my favourite pastry, a pain aux raisins - simple yet delicious!

It was around 4:15pm when I felt as though I had enough of Geneva/rain for one day; A quick run through the douanes françaises (Customs, in the train station ... ok fine, I had to stand up for like 1 minute lol) and then I got the 4:20pm? train back to Chambéry (which arrived a little before 6pm).

Yesterday my flatmate asked me if I didn't go out for the weekend. Technically I did ... I went for a baguette just across the road on Sunday lol. I guess I made up for my lazy weekend today! More travels ahead!!!!! In fact... Marseille tomorrow!!! I can't wait!! Maybe I've been watching too much Plus Belle la Vie (which is set in Marseille), maybe I just need some sunshine and warmth, or maybe both lol!!

Oh on a side note, clocks went back an hour Sunday morning ... not only was the extra sleep great! but now I'm only five hours ahead of Trini time, yay!

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