24 Hours In Geneva

Geneva

One of my sister-in-laws moved in Geneva 5 years ago but it has taken us until this year to make the journey to see her. Which is terrible if you ask me, especially considering it the flight was really quick! We spent a whirlwind 24 hours in Geneva and I can safely say it won’t be the last time!

Unlike 99% of our trips this was not one organised by myself which did leave me a little uneasy but I needn’t have worried as we had an amazing time.

Victoria has a lovely central apartment with high ceilings, white walls and sash windows – if I ever live in a city that’s the type of apartment I want! We stayed with her which meant we didn’t have to fork out for a hotel which I’d read could be pricey in Geneva (much like the rest of Switzerland.)

Our flight arrived late on Thursday evening so after a lie in and a leisurely breakfast Stuart, Victoria and I met up with her friend Ana to begin our tour.

First stop of the day – CERN.

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CERN is the European Organisation for Nuclear Research which essentially means they are working at looking at how the universe is made and how it’s structured. Most famously they discovered the Higgs Boson particle using the Hadron Collider. It was founded in 1954 and borders both France and Switzerland.

Unfortunately on the day we visited they were turning on the Hadron Collider which meant tours to see it were off. Luckily they have a couple of exhibitions to talk you through the work they do there. All fairly interactive you walked round with screens displaying information and videos of engineers explaining the process. It is quite reading heavy so we skimmed over the bits that didn’t interest us too much.

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After walking round the first couple of rooms we headed over to The Globe of Science and Innovation which we were told had been temporary to start with but was now a permanent structure. Towering over us at 27 meters high it was massive. Inside, after your eyes have adjusted to the dark, is information about particles and the big bang. They even had the first server on display which was pretty cool!

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We hung around for a while to watch a video projected around the dome before heading back out into what was now a very hot day!

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Our next port of call was lunch. For this we took the tram for 30 minutes to the opposite side of Geneva and an area called Carouge. It’s a much more relaxed part of Geneva and has become known for its hip and unique style. We had some lunch under the much photographed canopy of umbrellas.

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We picked up some ice cream and sorbet while having a quick walk round and back into central Geneva. 

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Our next spot on our tour was St. Pierre Cathedral which is 100% Protestant and was the home of a famous Protestant reformer Jean Calvin. You can even see his chair inside the church.

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It isn’t a huge church and doesn’t have much information in English so it’s good to read up before you go in. You can go up the tower which I was keen to do until we got there and it was so hot, I did not fancy getting sweaty!

Another part of the reason we wanted to go to Geneva was the water pipe. About a year ago Victoria sent Stuart a picture of this famous fountain which he thought was literally a burst water pipe.

Originally installed as a pressure reliever for a watch factory the pipe became so well loved they decided to keep it. It’s so tall you can see it above buildings as you walk around.

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Another famous installation is the Flower Clock. Created in 1955 as a way of recognising Switzerland’s history as the birthplace of fine watchmaking. We were lucky it wasn’t too busy so managed to get a photo before catching a water bus across Lake Geneva, or Lac Léman as it is actually called.

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At this point it was time for a beer and a sit down. We opted for a place right by the water in the sunshine which was lovely. I can certainly see how you could wile away a few hours enjoying the waterfront with a light breeze and a good book!

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Our last stop of the day was Palace of Nations or European Headquarters of the UN. You can go on tours inside the building which we didn’t opt for this time round but it was super cool to see the famous line of flags. 

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Opposite the entrance is the Broken Chair which is a sculpture by Swiss artist Daniel Berset and was erected in 1997 as a symbol in the opposition to landmines and cluster bombs.

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It is a moving sculpture that does get to the point but I feel it’s been overlooked by the world’s need for selfies. Much like when we visited the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin tourists feel it’s okay to take selfies being the fourth leg and missing the point of why it’s there. But that’s just me.

Our whirlwind 24 hours in Geneva was up. Our tour guides had been fabulous and we had a seen a good portion of my wish list. There are of course plenty of things we didn’t do, Geneva has plenty of museums that could keep you just as busy so I know we will be going back!!!


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