Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2012

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Flag of Switzerland  , Geneva,
Friday, February 24, 2012

Switzerland, as well as having the Red Cross symbol as their national flag, colours reversed, is the land of pocket sized knives, cheese, bulky watches, the United Nations, fondue and secret bank accounts. The country is renowned for its giant mountains, fantastic ski resorts and polite and open-minded temperaments. It is also the 63rd city or town we have visited on our trip.

We have chosen to stay in Geneva, which is right on the Western border of Switzerland, a stone's throw from France and, in my opinion, most well-known for two words- Geneva Convention. The people we meet mostly speak French; in true French style many refuse to communicate in any language other than French, although I think German is the dominant language in Switzerland. It is a member of the European Union but, like Britain, has retained its currency, the Swiss Franc, which are surprisingly big and bright and colourful in their notes. The city sits on a gigantic lake- Lake Geneva, the biggest in Europe, and there is a fantastic water spout that shoots water hundreds of meters into the air and can be seen from almost every place in the city. We actually saw two crazed Swiss men going for a dip in the ice cold water one morning, their skin turning bright red just walking down the pier towards the water it was that cold. It’s nice now that the weather actually correlates with the cold we feel, like some sort of validation. And in a strange way, because we accept that it is cold we allow ourselves to feel the warmth of our coats rather than focusing on the cold parts of our body, which is what we did in Sicily. I don’t if it’s some sort of placebo, reverse psychology or Jedi mind trick but the cold has become less of a struggle.

But the thing we like most about Geneva is the complete contrast to Palermo. The showers are warm, the beds are flat, the city is clean and orderly and the deafening noise of horns has been replaced with the quiet hum of trams and bikes. I actually read that living quietly with your neighbours is a national obsession in Switzerland and there are strict rules about noise levels. The two flights we took to get here were agonizing but made reaching the destination, a plush hotel, with a heater (YEAH!), all the more enjoyable. After picking up some dinner we returned to our room and spent the following hour cleaning and grooming ourselves from head to toe. Never have I appreciated warm water and a radiator so much, I felt like Link at the start of Encino Man. After a nice long sleep in and a quick chat with Belinda’s folks we checked out and went to the Hostel that was to be our home for the next three nights. It is similar to one we stayed in Vienna, it feels like Uni accommodation with bunk beds and everything. I immediately called the top bunk, as I always do, the childish novelty of the top bunk never gets old, some Freudian childhood thing I’m sure. We have our own private room with a sink, average internet and there are nightly movies showing in the lounge room, tonight’s is 300.

Thankfully, the cold freeze in Europe seems to have subdued, the snow has melted and the sun has shone the last few days, so we spend our time wandering the streets. Belinda loves the fashion and styles in Switzerland, especially jewellery and house accessory stores, she already has a million and one ideas about our future house. I like the random statues and strange trees and bushes they have along the lake boardwalk. It has been nice, safe and easy place to visit.

I realise I sound a little impartial and dull in this blog but hey, I’m in Switzerland, neutrality is in the air.
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Jenny and vince on

I have woken up cranked up the computer and I see your blog, happy now, a great way to start my day.
Switzerland sounds like a very contented country, happy in its own skin. I have a need to go there now. Happy days and keep warm
Love mum and dad

Benj on

Hey guys,
Switzerland sounds really nice. The way you describes it sounds really nice and (although sometimes a big banging party can be great) I think that I would really enjoy it there.
Oh and by the way when you mention things that Swiss are famous for don't forget chocolate. Apparently it is the bomb.

Keep the blogs coming guys they are always a good read and it can be funny telling who has written each one as the different perspectives about each of the places you guys have visited is great.

julie tobin on

Hi Guys sounds like your still having an amazing time .Are you going to Denmark ? Jordan said to tell you that you should go its fantastic and you will love it .xxoo
Cheers Julie

Michael on

What about "Swiss cheese"....or Jarlzberg ???

Jenny Johnston on

Looks like you are still having a fabulous time even in the cold.....63 cities that's a lot and still more to go. Enjoy your last few weeks.

Love Mum and Dad

jenny and vince on

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Luke. I hope you have a most wonderful day....way over there in very cold Geneva. Hoping it will be a great one to remember. 29 years ago today......another lovely person brought into this world. Enjoy and looking forward to speaking later. Cheers Mum and Dad

Miles family on

Looks great over there:) Happy birthday Luke hope you had a great warm day.

You guys always think of food - I thought switzerland was know for the "I'm Switzerland" quote when being neutral in an argument. Although Benj is on uncles path with the chocolate.

Love the lady statue, stunning:)

Have fun and stay safe, see you soon.

xoxoxo Auntie, Uncle, Jess and Sophie

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