This is Day 8 of our train trip around parts of Europe. If you have looked at any of the articles on this site giving ideas on how to make travelling a bit easier on yourself, you may have seen that we have learnt to pack as light-weight as possible.
As I have mentioned a few times on this series on 2010, you have to be able to carry your luggage some of the time. As a result of having minimum in the way of clothing, we needed to find a laundromat and were lucky to find one just around the corner from the hotel.
Having got a load on the go we had an hour to explore the local city block and we discovered some very interesting places. As the case with many European towns, Geneva has an old and a new town divided by Lake Geneva. This side of the lake where the hotel is situated is the New Town with buildings from no earlier than the 19th century. There are buildings in the Old Town which date back to the 14th Century just as we had seen in Liege and Dijon.
Our hotel in Geneva
The Cottage Cafe
We also saw a number of statues along the Esplanade which tell of the history of Geneva itself. There is one of 2 ladies, one representing Geneva and the other the rest of Switzerland, and together the inclusion of Geneva into the Republic of Switzerland (Helvetia) on 19 September 1814 – exactly 201 years and 1 day ago today. There is another statue of the Duke of Brunswick who died in Geneva in 1873 leaving the bulk of his estate to the city.
Monument to Duke of Brunswick
Memorial to the Union of Geneva with the rest of Switzerland
Once we had collected our laundry and dropped it off at the hotel we expanded are, walking tour into other parts of the New Town. There were lots of little alleys and side streets and the one which fascinated us the most was that with a number of lawyers and city offices together. Each had a name plate indicating its speciality and the best was to see these 2. Office number 1 was labelled Weddings & Marriages and Office number 2 right next door was the Office of Mediation and Divorce! What faith! The city seems to have an interesting belief in the institution of marriage.
Office 1 Marriages & Weddings
Office 2 across the road
We found a take-away lunch and then took a lake taxi again using our Pass, to the other side where the Old Town is situated. I am always so impressed how well so many of Europe’s countries have maintained the old buildings and relics of their history. We spent a good couple of hours just wandering around and absorbing the atmosphere. There were some very interesting shops but it did not seem over touristy in layout. We then took the last lake taxi back to the other side of the lake just in time to board the boat which would take us on a 1 hour cruise down Lake Geneva.
A Geneva Lake Water Taxi
A Gothic Church on the hill of Old Town
The surrounding scenery is absolutely beautiful and the Geneva spout was a wonderful sight. It is always so special to see things as they really are after having seen them on TV or in magazines. I was also surprised to learn that the spout does not work at night. All the way along the lake banks were the offices of international institutions as well as homes of former royal families, political persons and some of the rich and famous.
The Geneva Spout
Lakeside buildings. Most of the big ones in front are offices of international companies
This was as full day but we really did enjoy our time spent in Geneva. It was only on our return to the hotel in the evening that we first saw a shopping centre of sorts. It was down a passage off to the side of the road and yet did not feel busy or stressed like so many do. We walked around it seeing the expected jewellry and clock shops but interesstingly, there were not many clothing stores.
Tomorrow we leave for Interlaken and, as promised, I will tell you how Trevor nearly spent more time in Geneva due to his stubborn nature.