Geneva - Still Expensive, Just More French

Trip Start Aug 26, 2008
Trip End Aug 17, 2009

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Flag of Switzerland  , Geneva,
Thursday, November 27, 2008

We arrived in Geneva late in the evening and set to work searching for the cheapest lodging in town. It wasn't difficult to find it--the City Hostel Geneva. Unfortunately, it was still Swissly expensive, Swissly unhelpful, and--as an added bonus, Frenchly snotty.

Deciding to simply bear the hostile hostel, we spent our first full day in Geneva visiting all the free museums. We viewed the few anemic showcases of the glass and pottery museum, then turned away from the Red Cross/Red Crescent Museum--which turned out not to be free.

Well, actually it did, since we didn't pay to go in. So it was free for us, after a fashion.

After a ride across town and past the impressive lake fountain, we visited the Art, Music, and history museum. Or something like that. There were old instruments, old weapons, old rooms, a floor of art, a floor of artefacts, and some watches thrown in for good measure. This is Switzerland, after all. So why not? It's free, anyway. Hooray.

Finally, we capped off our day by visiting the Natural History Museum and it's collection of three trillion stuffed birds. Though stuffed also with screaming children, the museum was quite enjoyable, especially the exhibit of radioactive minerals with a barrier to keep the curious from irradiating themselves.

We also visited the Geneva headquarters of the UN and took a picture. Unfortunately the gates were shut, so we could not go in and see the old Soviet titanium-plated monument to "Man's Conquest of Space." Oh well.

After our tours, we visited the train station and fought with willfully unhelpful--or maybe just stupid--rail ticket office staff. Then we fought with definately stupid AND unhelpful hostel staff. In the end, we simply left most tasks unfinished, preferring to wait until we reached France, Spain, or some other country where people actually somewhat know what they are doing.

At the end of the day, we found a combined internet and coffee shop where we managed to figure out where we were going next, as we had had enough of Swiss prices and attitude after just one day.

The following morning we happily departed for Montpellier, but not before fighting with a customs offical to get him to stamp our passports to show that we had complied with EU rules regarding length of stay. In all, the swiss experience was generally frustrating and expensive. Unless you need to spend some time outside the EU--as we did, to comply with our visa regulations--or have some other pressing reason to visit we suggest avoiding Switzerland.
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