We had to make an adjustment immediately on this trip to save our sanity. While no a/c sounded bearable when we checked in, we didn’t count on an all-night night scene outside the hotel. That gave us a choice of sweltering in silence or just being extremely hot but listening to voices, car horns, glass breaking and street fights. Needless to say, neither of us slept much at all, and we woke up realizing we needed to change hotels. Luckily, with a few clicks on Ellen’s iPad, we had a room at the Hotel Cornavin a block away at about the same rate, with a/c but no internet. If you can’t actually sleep at a hotel, then it really doesn’t serve much purpose.
Determined to still make good use of our only full day in Geneva, we grabbed Frommers and headed out for a walking tour of the city. This took us over Lake Geneva for the first time to the Left Bank of the lake. One of the highlights of Geneva is the Jet d’Eau, the fountain sending a stream of water almost 500 feet into the air above the lake. You can see it from many points around the city, so it helps with navigation as well. The old city also had it’s interesting points. In the USA, having a Washington slept here sign shows off older towns. Here in Geneva, the Tour de I’lle has a sign commemorating a visit by Caeser in 58 BCE. Has Washington beat by a bit.
We had a sandwich and salad for lunch at a little shop near the Hotel de Ville. That sustained us for a walk of over a mile to the United Nations Palais des nations. Originally the home to the League of Nations, it now serves as the European home for several UN issues, including human rights and weapons non-proliferation. We took the one hour tour, and enjoyed seeing the meeting rooms and hearing the history. Ellen gave quite the press conference as you can see.
We used the Geneva Transport Card provided free by hotels to take a bus back to the train station near the center of the city. I then decided it was time to look for a watch. We visited the Bucherer store near us, but were told that only the other shop handled Tissot watches. The salesman said we had 35 minutes to make the 10 minute walk to the other store and make a purchase before it closed. This walk took us again across the lake to the Left Bank. I picked out a watch and bought it, happy with the purchase and that the store took care of all the VAT refund paperwork.
We tried to find a restaurant recommended by Frommers, but found for a second time that their map of restaurant locations was not created with navigation in mind. After wandering to and fro, we had tested the endurance of Ellen’s feet and patience. We stopped for directions at our old hotel (shhh, we didn’t think the night clerk wound know!). Armed with a city map and a pen line to follow, we made it to the restaurant, only to find that it was closed on weekends. We then decided to find the closest decent looking place, plopping down at an Italian restaurant, Au Petit-Chalet. We both had pasta and enjoyed the food and not walking for a bit.
Back at our chilled new hotel, we found that they wanted 20 Swiss francs (almost $20) for a day of internet access, to which we replied, “I don’t think so.” So this blog entry will keep on the netbook until the next time we are connected.
Tomorrow (Sunday), we pick up our rental car and head to Berne.