I’ve come to conclude that five hours is enough for me in Geneva.
I have mostly associated Geneva as the world hub for diplomacy so my layover in Geneva from Bordeaux to Berlin was an opportune time to enrich my horizons beyond these sentiments. Since most news articles or research papers that I’ve read on history or politics have referred to “Geneva” in some kind of treaty or convention, in addition to hosting many world known international organizations as the United Nations and the Red Cross, I wanted to know if there was anything fun or worth doing in Geneva in five hours. From the Geneva airport, it takes only around 15 minutes to get to center city and the transportation into the city is free!
From a first look, Geneva exhibits many characteristics of a generic European city, medieval and Renaissance style architecture, many cathedrals and churches, and its hilly terrain permits spacious terraced steps around the city. I didn’t see much modern architecture except for this mysterious building where the outer layer is partially carved on the side with an intricate design (Last image below). I haven’t seen such kind of design in my life–very unique!
Since Geneva is located on at the point where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhône, the river that connects Switzerland and France, there is a nice water front where the city’s most famous landmark, Jet d’Eau is situated. Jet d’Eau is basically a gigantic fountain that shoots water up to 10 kilometres (33,000 ft). It’s a nice water front but to be honest, this fountain was is pretty boring for me after 5 minutes. I was more infatuated with the variety of birds at the water front. Geneva is great for bird watching! Just don’t step into shit. There’s a lot of huge green bird dump.
My friend and I had no clear plan and just set off exploring whatever comes our path. It would have been nice to go to the United Nations headquarters but it was too far from where the airport train dropped us off. Instead, we were in the more residential areas. We came across an open park called Parc La Grange situated at the Quai Gustave-Ador.
And since Geneva is one of, if not the most, expensive cities in Europe, we forgo any real meal and rested with a cup of coffee and a fruit pastry to end the day. Public transportation is very reliable in Geneva. Our train back from center city to the airport took only 15 minutes and costed only 2 Swiss Francs, which is pretty cheap for Swiss standards!
Overall, the city is sparkly clean, spacious, and has a sophisticated demure. A very international city with very high standards of living. It’s great to visit for five hours but I don’t think I could imagine myself living here unless I was wealthy myself or some kind of housewife married to a rich dude. (I saw a lot of housewives in the park).
Photography by Udayan Khurana