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We finally made it to Geneva!

October 20, 2008

After living in Switzerland for two years, we finally went to Geneva one weekend in October. I’m not sure why we kept putting it off. I think that we both thought it was a place that was so easy to go to that there was not hurry to get there.  It’s less than  3 hours from Zurich by train, so it was an easy weekend trip.

We arrived on Saturday morning. Our first stop was actually a little trek, CERN, which is 8 km west of the city. CERN or European Organization for Nuclear Research is the world’s largest particle physics lab. It recently got some attention with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) when it was used to create anti-matter in September 2008, or something like that.

We wanted to take a tour, but the information ladies just laughed at us and told us they were booked up for 3 months. Seriously? CERN tours are booked out for 3 months? They had a neat little museum that we could go through on our own that was sufficient for our physics lesson for the day.

Then it was back to Geneva and we did the lovely walking tour as detailed in our Lonely Planet Switzerland book.  It took us to such great places as the main street, Pont du Mont-Blanc. As luck would have it, it was a clear, gorgeous day and we had a beautiful view of Mont Blanc behind Lake Geneva.

We posed for several pictures with the Jet D’eau, the world’s tallest fountain.

The city was pretty and we even saw the world’s largest bench!

The tour also took us by Cathedrale de St-Pierre. This church is very interesting, not only because its an archaeological site, but because the cathedral has multiple archectural styles. It was started in teh 11th century in a Gothic style and then updated in the 18th century with a neoclassical look. Another fun fact is that John Calvin preached there from 1536 to 1564.

We posed for several pictures with the Jet D’eau, the world’s tallest fountain.

On Sunday, we walked along Lake Geneva to Palais Des Nations, the UN Headquarters. The walk went through some very  nice gardens. Once we got there, it was another hour before it reopened, so we decided not to go in.

We were also quite fascinated by the huge chair across the street from the UN. Although we had fun with it, the chair represents a very sobering topic – signing the Oslo Treaty for a global ban on the use of cluster bombs which have caused thousands of civilian deaths.

Then we headed up the hill to the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Museum. This was very depressing and made you want to just stop everything and give them all of your money.

Also, contrary to what most people think, Geneva is not the capital of Switzerland. It’s Bern.

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