Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vacation from vacation

Having destroyed my legs on the Etape, I needed another vacation to recover from that part of my vacation. So I'm spending a couple of days here in Geneva, Switzerland. The watch and chocolate capital of the world. It's actually been pretty nice to just relax here and explore the city a little bit. It's not a very big city and one could walk from one end to the other over a span of a couple of hours. It's really pretty though. The only downside has been the weather... it's been raining rather hard here since last night.

In any case, here are some pictures from my exploration of the city.

Walking down from my hotel to the lake, I came across the park that lines much of the waterfront. I took this picture yesterday when the weather was actually still pretty nice, about 80 degrees and no rain. There were lots of people out there. One interesting thing I noticed was the diversity of people... Geneva is far more racially diverse than I was expecting.

This is the view across the lake to "Old Geneva". You can see the Rolex sign on the building below the church. Actually, if you look along the waterfront on that side of the lake, nearly every building is topped with a famous jewelry-makers such as Montblanc, Breitling, Raymond Weil, IWC, Vacheron Constantin, etc. A bit rich for my taste.

How rich? How about a Rolex completely encrusted in jewels?

Taken in a schoolyard. I don't speak French so I have no idea what this says. But it looked kind of neat with the lettering.

Apparently, campaigning in Switzerland is a little different from the US. It appears that this man wants us to choose him. Actually, I have no idea if this was a political advertisement or some kind of art.

Walking over to the waterfront near Old Geneva, there is the Jardin Anglais. The most famous part of this park is the Horloge Fleurie, or the Flower Clock. A beautiful, living tribute to Geneva's most venerated industry, the design changes from season to season. It's something my mother would love.

My first planned stop of the morning was to be at Auer Chocolatier because I had heard that they give tours of their chocolate factory. But before I managed to make it into the actual store, I ended up sitting down in their little cafe to have breakfast. Let me just say that I hadn't had a real chocolate croissant until this morning. Combine that with a couple of other pastries and a perfect cup of cappuccino and it made for a very tasty breakfast.

After that, I went to the actual chocolate store. Unfortunately, I was foiled in my attempt to go on a tour of the chocolate factory. Apparently the information I was given was a little outdated... they stopped giving the tours a couple of years ago. So I was relegated to being a regular customer. At least the chocolates were great!

I have a tendency to wander around whenever I visit a city. Perhaps because the rest of my life is fairly structured, whenever I go on vacation I enjoy walking aimlessly around a new city. Of course, since it was raining really hard this morning, this made it a little more wet than I would've liked. Oddly enough, I managed to find the road to purgatory during my walk. I desperately wanted to see what was behind the door.

I also came across an antique shop that sold old scientific and medical goods. Unfortunately it was closed so I couldn't go in. Probably not a bad thing since, knowing me, I'd probably end up spending 500 Swiss Francs on snake oil that is as useless today as it was a hundred years ago.

I also happened to come across what is apparently the world's longest bench on the Rue de la Treille. Because it was raining, there was nobody else on the bench. I would've liked to have a picture of me on that bench all alone but nobody was around to help and I didn't have my tripod. Oh well.

I've always like the narrow European streets with their cobblestones and old buildings. They're full of character and are often lined with really good restaurants!

I ended up at the Cathedrale Saint-Pierre, which was an unexpected find. It's apparently a cathedral belonging to the Swiss Reformed Church and was the adopted home church of John Calvin.

There was a wooden chair inside that was used by Calvin. They wouldn't let me sit on it.

Hidden away in the corner of the cathedral was a tiny little spiral staircase that led up to the towers. Strangely, of the dozens of people in the cathedral, only 2 or 3 others found this staircase. But for those who did, we were rewarded with unobstructed views of the city and lake.

Finally, a better shot of the fountain that is one of the defining features of Geneva. Really quite cool.

Location:Rue de Lausanne,Geneva,Switzerland


  1. No time to catch a glimpse of le Tour?
    Geneva would be dangerous for me for I really dig watches.
    My French is very bad and I can't make out the first part but the middle part is something like "respect is to accept anyone" and then "same (even?) if you(we) don't like them."
    The last red poster is "respect is for life."
    Or something like that.

  2. Thanks for the help with that picture. Unfortunately, no staying for the Tour this year... one of these days I'd like to see the finale in Paris. The watches in Geneva are beautiful but not any cheaper so I wasn't that inclined to buy one here. IWC Portuguese... mmm.