GENEVA, Switzerland: The smallest of big cities!

Woot! Maerose here. It’s a beautiful Friday morning, and I’m waiting for the clock to tick and say, “Off to work you go!” For the meantime, I’ll use my break to write the first of a 4-part escapade to the city of Geneva in expensive Switzerland! Geneva is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities I have ever visited. Luckily, I wasn’t alone when I took the trip. 😉

Welcome to Geneva!
Welcome to Geneva!

It was in May and for the first time, I flew with easyjet. The airline is one of the cheapest in Europe, and so, a favorite amongst budget travelers. The flight was bumpy, if I may say, but we got to our destination safely. I booked a hotel on the French side to minimize the costs, and nice to say, the hotel offers a shuttle service to and from the airport and also to and from the city center. Novotel Genève Aéroport France is located just 20 minutes away from Geneva! Mind you, however, that public transportation is not easy from the hotel, so you need to make sure you book the shuttle service with them early.

Geneva lies at the southern tip of Lac Léman or Lake Geneva. It has a nice view of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and the second highest peak in Europe. Its “expensiveness” is due to the fact that the Swiss city is a global city, home to the United Nations headquarter and the International Red Cross Committee, among others. Switzerland has not adapted the euro, so they’re using their own currency, the Swiss franc, which has a high monetary value. According to Wikipedia, Geneva ranked as the world’s ninth most important financial center for competitiveness. In addition, it has been dubbed “the world’s most compact metropolis” and the “Peace Capital”. So, how is it like to roam around the fifth most expensive city in the world in 2011? Here are some of the attractions in Geneva you shouldn’t miss:

Train in Switzerland
Train in Switzerland

Place des Nations. The city was super clean and modernized when I visited. One of the most famous attraction is the Place des Nations. It faces the UN headquarter. In the middle of the plaza is an art installation called “The Broken Chair”. Designed by Daniel Berset, it symbolizes “the fight against anti-personnel mines”.

@ Place des Nations, the heart of International Geneva
@ Place des Nations, the heart of International Geneva
@ Place des Nations, the heart of International Geneva
@ Place des Nations, the heart of International Geneva

The United Nations Headquarter.

The United Nations headquarter
The United Nations headquarter
The United Nations headquarter
The United Nations headquarter

A good thing to remember when exploring Geneva is to wear good shoes. It’s a big city, and the attractions are kind of far from each other, although within walking distance. It’s more or less like Berlin, where attractions are scattered all over the city.

The International Red Cross Committee and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum. A few blocks from the UN Headquarter is the International Red Cross Committee, a three-time Nobel Prize laureate. There, you can also visit the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, which houses a permanent collection called “The Humanitarian Adventure”. The collection focuses on defending human dignity, restoring family links, and reducing natural risks. A statue of Mahatmi Gandhi also sits on the road to the Red Cross headquarter.

The International Red Cross Committee
The International Red Cross Committee
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
Me and my travel buddies, with Mahatma Ghandi in the background
Me and my travel buddies, with Mahatma Ghandi in the background

Square des Alpes. Walking further towards the lakeside, we passed by this interesting little park called Square des Alpes. In the square stands the Brunswick Monument. According to sources, the egoistic Duke Brunswick gave 24 million to the City of Geneva in exchange for a monument built to celebrate his achievements and glory.

@ Square des Alpes
@ Square des Alpes
@ Square des Alpes
@ Square des Alpes

It is not a secret that Switzerland is a pioneer in railroad construction. The Electrowatt Engineering Services of Zürich created the design for the Metro Railway Transit System in Manila, though the construction was handled by different private companies. One of the celebrated Swiss engineers is Louis Favre (1826-1879), who built the Gotthard Rail Tunnel between 1872 and 1879.

A bust of Swiss engineer, Louis Favre
A bust of Swiss engineer, Louis Favre

The Flower Clock. Last on the list for this entry (yes, only for this entry) is the L’horloge fleurie, or the Flower Clock. With a span of 5 meters, the flower clock is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Built in 1955, it celebrates the Swiss watchmakers and love for nature. Around 6500 plants are used to make the clock, and the decorations are changed depending on the season.

The Flower Clock
The Flower Clock
The Flower Clock
The Flower Clock

This is all for now. All the attractions mentioned above can be visited in a day, in addition to the Lake Geneva and the Jet d’ Eau. I’d write about the romatic lake and also about our visit to the romantic Old Town next time! Have a nice weekend! ❤

@ Place des Nations, the heart of International Geneva
@ Place des Nations, the heart of International Geneva

 

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