Geneva: The City of Ice

Posted on February 21st, 2012 by

That behemoth behind us is/was a light pole...

Apologies for being a deadbeat-blogger. I only just returned to Berlin after a bit of traveling Europe. I’ll now try to retroactively tell you all about my adventures.

In fairness, he has a good point

We’re harkening back to February 9th when my journey first started. My first destination is Geneva, Switzerland, where I’ll be visiting Jasmine, a wonderful Gustie, and my “Italian family,” my cousin’s Italian in-laws I met at a wedding this past summer. Everything starts off at the airport going through security. After my backpack passes through the scanner, the security guard looks queerly at my water bottle (it’s pink and was definitely designed for a 5 year old girl). He then asks, “You have a sister coming in behind you?” I then tell him that is not the case and that it’s mine. He proceeds to give me the girliest smile he can muster and goes, “Hübsch.” That means cute in German. We then got into quite the banter with him taking a shot at the England jersey I was wearing. I’m not sure if that’s the smartest thing to make fun of airport security, but that’s what happened after that (at least it didn’t end up in a pat down). Anyway, after a few hours I made it into Geneva round 11 at night, and once I was at my relative’s place, I hit the hay.

That behemoth behind us is/was a light pole...

The next morning I went to meet up with Jasmine. The idea was to venture around and see the sights that Geneva has to offer, but that plan was quickly scrapped on account of the absolutely frigid weather (the wind nearly blew us over; not exaggerating). We instead decided to just grab some food. Fighting my cheap instincts, I said that I could spend like 15 on lunch. Jasmine gives me this look that can only mean two things. Either this is enough to eat with the mayor of Geneva, or it’s barely enough for a croissant. Sadly, it was the latter. This city is terrifyingly expensive. In the end, we got some pizza which was pretty good except for the river of chili oil I accidentally poured all over the place (nothing says, “nice to see you” like having hands that shimmer with oil). After this, we decided that going back to my relative’s place sounded a lot better than lingering in the cold. While on the bus, Jasmine was trying to explain a sculpture of a chair that’s missing a leg outside of the United Nations building (“explosives or something”). This guy next to us pipes up and tells us that it’s a symbol to oppose landmines. We then find out that this guy is an American who works for UNICEF fundraising money from big corporations. Only in Geneva would you meet people like that on the bus.

Swiss Johnny Bravo is domestic. Classic "European socialism."

The next day’s weather was a bit nicer, so Jasmine and I headed into Geneva’s old town. In this part of Switzerland, French is the dominant language. And it sucks. You can’t seem to pronounce anything without sounding like a fool (“so you’re telling me the last three letters are pointless?”). In order to spite this, we started just pronouncing things as any full-blooded American would. For example, Jean-Jacques Rousseau became John Jack. When going to John Jack’s childhood home, we apparently entered through a door that’s supposed to be locked and confused the hell out of the attendant that was there. She seemed a bit too flustered and panicked for us having simply found an alternate access to an office. Once she ushered us out, she scurried off in haste to go lock the other door we entered through. As we were making our way back to the train station, I got owned by a patch of ice. I attempted to crush a small ice cube, but as it crumbled, it got the last laugh. I was sent careening, and if it wasn’t for some ridiculous acrobatics, my face was going straight into the ground (my hands were buried in my jacket pockets for warmth so they weren’t coming to the rescue any time soon). Well, again we figured the relative’s place was a better/warmer venue than any other, so we headed back. Once there, we watched a Six Nations rugby match (a big tourney going on here in Europe) between Italy and England and then the glory that is Italian news. I now regret not having watched this every day when I lived in Florence. It felt like a junior high production except with really classy outfits. The main newscaster would have these awkward pauses every time they’d either cut to a clip or come back to him, one Italian lady did her reporting in the Captain Morgan stance, and a final woman did her best Michelle Bachmann impression by having her eyes pointed somewhere off to the left of the camera. It was glorious. That night some friends of my family came over and we had a wonderful Italian meal. One of these people has even been a doctor on excursions up Everest and K2 (bet your dinner guests aren’t quite that BA). Crazy.

So warm

The next morning an art museum was on the docket and then Nyon, the city near Geneva that Jasmine calls home. The lake had blown over the walls protecting the sidewalk creating a surreal frozen landscape filled with ice sculptures. It was gorgeous. By the time we tried to grab lunch, it was probably around two. With it being a Sunday, absolutely nothing was open save one Chinese restaurant. No objections on this end. Actually I lied, bars are still open. We strolled into one of these, and the first thing you notice is the random dogs wandering about. Not saying I wouldn’t love to have Tess with me at a bar, but it just seems so odd to have Fido growling at anyone he doesn’t appreciate. After this, I had to take the train back to my relatives place. While on the train, a lady pointed at my gloves and said, “Canada.” I looked at her confused and responded with, “America?” She then realized I speak English and explained to me how she had bought the exact same gloves when she was in Canada (these gloves though weren’t made for a 5 year old girl). Oh, the great connections you make abroad. Once home, it was an early bed time considering my plane left at 6 in the am.

Next up, Madrid.

 

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