A Rendezvous in Geneva

Trip Start Mar 31, 2011
Trip End Jul 05, 2011

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Flag of Switzerland  , Geneva,
Friday, June 17, 2011

We arrived in Geneva at 530 AM and immediately got shuffled through border control.  The border control was pretty silly-- they had a ridiculous dog that was supposed to be sniffing for drugs or bombs or something, but it was clearly only partially trained.  The officers could not get it to sniff our bags. It just sniffed the floor around its own feet!   Very funny. Once we made it into the main station, we wandered around trying to find a tourist information stand but failed, so we asked some locals where we could find the bus stop for bus #6. After asking a number of different people, we finally got an accurate answer and hopped on the bus. Four stops later, we arrived in front of Alex's apartment building. Unfortunately, he had not given us directions to get in the building and was not answering his phone, so we snuck in after a lady who was leaving and waited inside.   After a few minutes, Alex called us back and told us which apartment was his! Another successful rendezvous down, only a few to go!
We made breakfast and socialized with Alex and his roommates before they had to leave for work. Adrienne met Alex at Duke, and he got paired up with his roommates in his Physics PhD program at UPenn.The particle physics sector of Penn's graduate program has a partnership with the CERN laboratories in Geneva.  CERN is a giant complex of labs that made a number of important discoveries in Physics in the past years, including the invention of the World Wide Web! Thanks, CERN! 
The three of us were totally exhausted after our not-so-restful train experience, so we went to bed for several hours. Regardless of how comfortable the train seats are, it is not restful to sleep in a seat.  Dad and I did okay on a few of the night trains where we had proper beds, but the seats are pretty terrible.  OH WELL, at least we don't have to take any more night trains-- just one night bus. It was raining when we woke up, so we decided to hang out in the apartment for a while until it stopped a bit.  After an hour or so, the rain stopped and we cruised down to lake to check out the area.  The sky was pretty grey, so we decided to wait and come back the next day to take pictures. We went to the grocery store to stock up on food for dinner so that we didn't have to eat out. On our way to the grocery, we price-checked a few popular items/services. Haircuts cost 47 franks, lo mein noodles cost 38 franks, an Asian seafood platter costs 60 franks, two bedroom houses cost 1.7 million franks... and the conversion is 1.2 US DOLLARS PER FRANK! Blah, insanity!!!!
We went back to the apartment around 7 PM to meet the boys when they got home from work. They wanted to get Kebabs (which we were unwilling to do because they were 10 Franks, which is about 300% more than they should cost) but Alex insisted on paying so we went along. They were absolutely delicious-- probably worth between 5-7 Franks. Then we all had some drinks at the apartment before walking to central Geneva to hear some of a music festival that was going on the weekend we were there. The music was pretty awful and it was pouring rain, so we didn't stay long before walking back to the apartment. We all got pretty soaked-- at least we didn't bring our nice cameras! We all watched Kill Bill then went to sleep. 
The next morning, we woke up late and made breakfast before taking advantage of the nice weather to walk around Geneva. We visited the Jet du Eau, which is a huge stream of water that shoots out of Lake Geneva directly into the air. We took a ton of pictures of the jet, lake, and port before walking back into the center of Geneva to check out the cathedral and a nice Russian church. We saw some interesting characters along the way-- my two favorites were the Asian tourists with scarves over their faces so they didn't have to breathe the very clean Genevan air and the lady whose face was hardly human because of plastic surgery. See accompanying photos.
It started to pour rain again, so we went back to the apartment to have a fondue feast. We bought special Swiss fondue cheese in the grocery store and bought carrots, apples, cauliflower, and bread to go with it. It ended up being pretty easy to make and was really delicious! After the feast, we packed up our bags to be ready to leave in the morning. The bags seemed substantially lighter once our food had been eaten, but it is definitely time to do laundry. At least it has gotten much cooler so we can pull out our Northern Europe jeans and heavier shirts. Hopefully we will find convenient laundry facilities soon.
We woke up early and made breakfast before hurrying to catch the bus to the train station. We barely made it on time-- the driver was very nice and waited for us. At the train station, we bought a chocolate croissant and chocolate macaroon because we had extra Swiss Frank coins that were not worth carrying around to convert to Euros. Then we got on our first train from Geneva to Olten. We change in Olten and then again in Basel. From Basel, the train goes directly to Cologne. After approximately 7 hours of trains, we will be back in Germany, yay! Very excited for proper trains with perfect schedules and beer with sausage for every meal. Will post about Cologne in a few days. Au Revior!
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Mom on

So fun to meet-up with Adrienne's friend, Alex, in a foreign country. What a blast!

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