My trip to Geneva was uncharacteristically impromptu. One Sunday evening, I was surfing the BA website and stumbled across some cheap flights. I’d never been to Switzerland so I thought, fuck it, let’s go!
It’s a bloody good job the flights were cheap because, my friends, literally nothing else in that place is.
I booked for Sat – Mon, so I knew I had to do my research to make the most of my time there and see everything I wanted to, without being totally shattered by the end of it. I also brushed up on my French because I do like to give the old GCSE learnings an airing every now and then!
The AMAZING thing about Geneva, is that public transport is free to anyone staying in a hotel or hostel. Thank Christ, because I was wallet-pillaged in every other way. I hopped on the bus taking me into the old town to my hotel Bel ‘Esperance, which is a budget hotel in the heart of the old town, owned by the Salvation Army (so I felt all charitable ‘n’ shit) Although it was budget, it had a cutesy rooftop terrace which I earmarked immediately for some wine-time at some point. See below for views from the terrace, of the Jet D’eau and mountains:
It was also 2 mins walk away from one of the main bus stops, RIVE…which was super handy (and not a coincidence, it’s partly why I booked the hotel because I am ALL about convenience and safety!)
The first thing I did was go for a walk – I found the famous flower clock (it actually works!) about 5 mins from my hotel, and then head straight for the Jet D’eau.
It’s pretty impressive. Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) is a beaut, and the banks of it are dotted with food and drinks vendors, snazzy restaurants and a LOT of people cycling! By this point I hadn’t eaten in 8 hours so I sat down at La Patiniere for a wine and some lunch. But HOLD UP people…the cheapest thing on the menu was a tomato and pesto wrap….with no sides like chips or salad….for 25CHF. That’s £20. TWENTY POUNDS. Oh HELL no, Geneva. So, true to Cronin form, I prioritised wine over food (a small white wine was £13) and then hopped over to the Toblerone truck (yep, I know…..) to get 10 churros for 10CHF (about £8). I ate five, and saved five for later during my wander around Carouge (more on that in a sec). I am nothing if not thrifty.
Next up, I headed to St Peters Cathedral and wandered around inside and around the grounds. It’s right in the heart of the old town, and it overlooks a little square with a carousel and coffee shops, which is super cute.
My wander took me to Promenade de Bastions, which is right by the University and has lovely views of the mountains…
I knew I wanted to visit Carouge, which I’d read about as being really quirky and old-time with an Italian vibe. So, I hopped onto the tram and headed downtown. I’ll be honest, it WAS cute but it wasn’t as nice as I thought it would be.
Maybe I didn’t see it on its best day?? I’m not sure what I was expecting but I didn’t get the vibes I thought I would! Maybe it’s because it was a bit quiet. My plan had been to settle there for another drink but actually, I couldn’t find anywhere that took my fancy. So I wandered for half hour or so and then went back uptown.
By this point, it was heading towards evening so I got dolled up and went back to the part of the lake, where all the bars and restaurants line the lakeside. It was super buzzy, it being a Saturday night, and I settled down with my book and a fancy-pants violet spritz, which…yep you guessed it….cost me £15. But, to be fair, I pay that in London in a touristy area so I didn’t majorly object.
What I did object to, were the family that sat down next to me, the children of which proceeded to eat all of the complimentary breadsticks on the table. Yeah cheers you little shits, I was gonna eat some of those to soak up the booze. Thanks for nothing. And also….HOW MINTED do you have to be to take your small children to such a fancy place?! What a waste. Still, they were locals and everyone there is super-rich so fair enough I guess.
Thanks to #BreadstickGate, I was starving so I trundled back up the hill, past my hotel to Chez ma Cousine. I’d read about this place during my research, as one of the few affordable places to eat in Geneva. It’s basically like a Nandos, with table service.
For about £13 I got a quarter of a roast chicken, a salad and a huge bunch of sautéed wedges– not bad! It was rammed in there, unsurprisingly, so I did felt a bit rushed but that’s a small price to pay for such a (relative) bargain!
I was pretty chuffed that I’d managed to pack such a lot in, in just one afternoon, so I trundled off to my hotel to see what the views from the terrace were like at night…
Now, it was time to watch European Netflix (IT’S SO GOOD) in bed and plan day 2 in this pretty-yet-extortionate part of the world.