Adventures · Switzerland

A week in Switzerland. Stop one: Geneva

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As part of my 2015 two-week solo interrail trip I spent a week working my way through Switzerland. I’ll admit, I underestimated just how expensive Switzerland would be but I was determined to go so I managed to stretch my budget accordingly.

I flew into Geneva from London Luton with Easyjet for £50, which wasn’t unreasonable considering I had to check in my backpack. I have to be honest, Geneva didn’t win me over. It’s unfair to say, but unfortunately due to slow passport control and rude staff I didn’t start my trip off in the best of moods and perhaps this affected my judgement. However, I had no complaints about the transportation – it was both clean and on time (the Swiss really don’t mess about, everything is prompt there!) and it was relatively easy to navigate around. I stayed at the Geneva Hostel for my first night and they provided me with a free transport card which was useful and helped with my budgeting. The room was clean but the hostel was lacking an atmosphere and felt just a little bit far out unfortunately. Perhaps if I’d have had company I would have found it different, but it just11063540_10156110369955068_3250413527088406219_n wasn’t very inviting for a solo traveller. However, I wasn’t going to let this stop me – it was one night there and I had plenty of sightseeing to do.

The first stop on my Geneva travels was to “Place de la Madeleine” – as if I could miss a photo opp like this! I got a really strange look from the French lady I asked to take a photo for me, but not even this could faze me – I was too excited to finally have my name somewhere!

I was determined to make the most of my free transportation card so I walked down from the hostel to the water front to catch the water taxi over Lake Geneva. I enjoyed the scenic ride so much I did it twice – it was free after all!

By 2pm I’d done so much exploring I’d already managed to rack up 16,000 steps. Feeling really chuffed with myself I settled down for lunch in McDonalds (oooops…) Although Geneva wasn’t overly impressive I made sure I visited the staple sites – the flower clock and the Jet D’Eau were both impressive but there wasn’t an awful lot more I could see or do there. I had planned on spending a day and a half in the city but halfway through the first day I realised I could slow my sightseeing right down and enjoy it at a much slower pace.

After an early night I was up and out at 6am sharp to watch the sunrise over Lake Geneva. For someone who hates mornings I was bitterly disappointed to realise it was too cloudy to see anything over the lake on the one morning I chose to try and watch sunrise. However, I took my first selfie of the trip, so at least I got something out of my early morning wake up!

Feeling like I should make the day a productive one, I hopped on a bus to see the point where two rivers meet in Geneva – The River Rhone and The River Arve. I’d seen pictures online of this and knew it was meant to be beautiful so despite it being a little far out I made the journey across town. Was it worth it? Sort of. It was beautiful don’t get me wrong, but I wish there was more to do there. Again, I just felt ever so slightly isolated here. Had I been with a companion I may have enjoyed it more, but I don’t regret going to see it – there’s nothing worse than regrets!

One of the most famous landmarks in Geneva is the United Nations Building. I caught (free) public transport here too and it was worth it. Although I didn’t go inside, the outside is grand and the array of flags leading up to the building was impressive.

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After the United Nations I was ready to say goodbye to Geneva and make the two hour train journey over to Bern. I hoisted my backpack onto my back and made my way to the train station ready for the scenic journey through the Swiss countryside…

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