Going to Switzerland, we were flying in and out of Geneva. And as on arrival we got the train directly to Gstaad, on our way back we stayed a day in the city by the lake to explore a bit of it. Actually, it doesn't really have that much to offer in terms of sightseeing. If you are a shopping and fashion lover however, then you should be careful - those fancy stores are everywhere and easily attracting attention with beautiful, high-end products on their windows. And after rambling around them for a while, the prices start to seem more and more "not as expensive as I thought", which might actually be very dangerous LOL
We had one full in Geneva. Staying in the central part of the city, we enjoyed it very much walking, despite the bad weather - we got some light rain, but nothing too unpleasant to stop us from being outside. Our first stop in that Saturday morning was the Plainpalais flea market. Supposedly, it's one of the biggest and best flea markets in Switzerland. It's interesting how flea markets all over the world are almost all the same. And I love them. But that one didn't really impress me. May be it was because of the weather and it was not at its full potential. Or, may be, I was just hungry, as we still haven't had breakfast. From the Plainpalais flea market we went straight to the Old Town, where we had coffee and a light brunch at La Clémence - a small and cozy coffee shop with super fresh and delicious croissants. And the best part of it - it's pet-friendly. In fact, from what I've seen, the entire country is very pet-friendly and dogs are welcomed everywhere.
Next, we visited the Saint Peter's Cathedral (it's just around the corner from La Clémence). Built in the beginning of 13th century (between 1150-1230) mostly in Gothic style with some Romanesque features, later to it was added a neo-classical façade (1756). Climbing the towers is paid (5 CHF), but is worth it, as they unveil beautiful views of the city and its surroundings. The South tower houses the belfry with its five bells, while the North tower is the one offering panoramic lake views.
Geneva's Old Town is really small, and after spending almost an hour in the cathedral, we went to the lake's shore and headed to the city's most iconic spot - the jet d'eau. The first jet d'eau in Geneva was actually built in 1886 as a safety valve for the hydraulic power network and was only 30m high. However, in 1891 it was moved to its present location as a celebration of 600th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation. Its hight was also improved - up to 90m. The jet d'eau we saw, was installed in 1951 with a new, submerged system, that allows it to pump water from the lake and not city water, as it was before. Nowadays, it gets all the way to almost 140m above lake level and pumps around 500l of water per second.
Walking around the city was actually very nice. Beside the glamorous shops everywhere, the architecture is also very attractive and beautiful to be observed. After a light lunch at a restaurant where no one was speaking English (neither they had a menu in English and we had no idea what we ordered in French 🙈), we crossed the Pont du Mont-Blanc and went to the other bank of the lake. And within a short walk around, we were passing the doors of Laduree for a hot chocolate and some yummy macaroons. There is really no need to mention how much I enjoyed the interiors of the place.
*Happiest Birthday Girl Ever*
Later on we had the most delicious dinner at Capocaccia - a restaurant we discovered by chance, as it was just across the street from the hotel we were staying. During our entire stay in Switzerland we never had a bad food experience, but the cuisine of this particular restaurant was divine. As well as its atmosphere.
As it was Saturday night, we had to check out Geneva's nightlife. Well, weather was not very friendly to go around town from one place to another, but we did go to Le Verre à Monique - a 1930's inspired, speak-easy bar with a great list of cocktails. It was packed, so I recommend you to book your seats (and unless you're a bigger group of people, in my opinion, it's better to stay at the bar). It closes quite early in my opinion - around 1 am we were the last ones inside (as usual). I don't know if this is the regular scene of Swiss nightlife, or simply people went to other bars and discos. We had a flight to catch in the morning, so went back to the hotel to rest.
I like spending my birthdays in different places, specially when they bring the cold, familiar feeling (if there's snow even better) of my homeland. Geneva was definitely a good choice, specially spending only a day there. The only reason I would add another day, is a visit in CERN, which I was not able to book. I guess, this is what happens when planning last minute. Still, I had blast and welcomed another personal year doing what I love the most - exploring new places.
Tip: Don't forget that Switzerland is not part of the EU and mobile roaming does apply on all phone services