Geneva - capital of French-speaking Switzerland
Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
9Trip End Sep 30, 2010
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The difference in temperature between shade and sun in high elevation Alpine early mornings is considerable, and after hiking down below the lift station to pick up the trail, I shed two of my cold weather layers.
The route checked out good – more amazing vistas, this time back across to Mount Blanc and the Grand Balcony - North we walked yesterday. Returning to the hotel, I rendezvoused with Linda (she had a serious French pastry mission to fulfill), and we checked out and headed for Geneva.
Geneva is only about an hour's drive northwest from Chamonix, and we pulled into our hotel mid-afternoon. It's the largest city of Romandie, the French-speaking region of Switzerland, and has a long history going back to the Roman occupation.
Using directions from Anthony, a friend from the eastern side of the country, we struck outu on foot into old Geneva, through narrow lanes lined with fun, one-of-a-kind shops, and down to Lake Geneva. Jet d’Eau, an icon of the city, was shooting a fountain a over 450 feet into sky near where the lake empties into the Rhone River and several pedestrian bridges cross the river, adding to its pedestrian appeal.
Anthony’s idea is to put together a route that connects the United Nations complex, headquartered first here before it moved to New York, with the botanical gardens, several lovely lakeside parks, a lakeside promenade, and the historic district. We didn’t have time for the UN portion of the walk, but picked up the route where a pleasant promenade leads along the lake.
A public transport boat took us around Jet d’Eau to the opposite side of the lake, and we resumed the walk along a second lakeside promenade bordered by well-tended rose gardens. The day was fading fast, however, and we had a reservation at the hotel for dinner at 7:30 pm. The balance of the walk was double-time, but fun nevertheless. Like most European cities, Geneva comes alive in the evening as locals and visitors alike enjoy good weather in the parks and sidewalk cafes.
We arrived at the hotel at 7:20 pm, washed up, and walked through the door of the restaurant on time. A delightful meal followed. The restaurant was small, family run, the chef obviously knew his way around the kitchen. Portions were large, the waiter friendly, and the meal ended with a delicious limoncello digestif – on the house. We decided that we like Geneva!