Day 6 Geneva, Switzerland

Trip Start May 18, 2013
Trip End Jun 14, 2013

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Flag of Switzerland  , Geneva,
Thursday, May 23, 2013

Geneva is the second most populous city in Switzerland after Zurich and is the most populous city of Romandy, the French speaking part of Switzerland. The city is situated where the Rhone exits Lake Geneva and has a population of approximately 195,000 residents. The canton of Geneva, including the suburbs, has a population of around 475,000.  The headquarters of many international organisations are based in Geneva including many of  the United Nations organisations and the International Red Cross. Geneva has the third highest quality of life index in the world behind Vienna and Zurich.

On our first day in Geneva we took a tram from out hotel in Gaillard into the centre of Geneva. After initially finding our bearings we decided to go on a boat cruise of Lake Geneva. While we were waiting for the cruise to leave we spent some time at the Brunswick Monument which is a mausoleum built in 1879 to commemorate the life of Charles II, Duke of Brunswick. We found a small coffee shop in the park next to the monument and spent some time having a coffee and chatting to one of the waiters who was originally from South Africa.

Our boat cruise on Lake Geneva was excellent and one of the highlights of our visit to this famous city. The views across the lake to the snow capped mountains in the background were excellent. We also visited Geneva's own little mermaid and the Jet d'Eau which is a fountain on Lake Geneva that delivers 500 litres of water per second to a height of 140 metres. This is one of the highest fountains in the world.

After the cruise we took a stroll through the old part of Geneva including St Peters Cathedral, Maison Tavel and the Museum of the Reformation, which is an excellent museum about the reformation and the role of Martin Luther. Geneva played an integral part in the Calvinist reformation. An excellent museum which surprised me considering the content which is as far removed from science and technology as possible, my usual museum criteria.

In the afternoon we took a "train" ride along the east bank of Lake Geneva which included a number of gardens, including the English Garden. Although there were not many flowers, probably, not the right season yet, the trees and shrubs made it well worth the visit. We also went to the famous flower clock, which was a bit of a disappointment because there were no flowers. Our timing was probably not ideal for this attraction.

I had wanted to go to the CERN visitor's centre which is just outside Geneva and we made a late dash on the tram only to arrive there as they were closing the doors. Our pleas to the curator fell on deaf ears and we did not get to go inside. A pity because I have always been very interested in the Hadron particle accelerator which is one of CERN's major projects.

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