Mon 24th June.
‘A problem at the Geneva convention’.
Matt and I headed to the local ‘Denner’ supermarket to stock up. Immediately I noticed a plethora of products unique to Switzerland, having surveyed many French supermarkets on the trip. The highlight of these was the pre-hardboiled eggs in bright colours.
As I hadn’t had any English breakfasts on the trip (and I thought there’d be plenty of opportunity too) I persuaded Matt into giving it ago. We got all the right ingredients for a top-notch breakfast, cooked everything, but strangely, it didn’t come close to the UK standard. The beans were strange, sausages lacked flavour and were fatty and the bacon too was thin. Although the eggs were good. I still blissfully content as my breakfasts were usually of handfuls of cereal and an apple if lucky.
We went into the city to look around. Matt had visited the city years ago when backpacking and knew it would be a good place to relax after a busy week. We went to the lake and admired the infamous Jet d’Eau monument, which by concept is something unusual for a city. It’s a jet stream of lake water that shoots up beyond 250 feet in the air and has been part of Geneva since 1886. A monument of moving water.
The air was incredibly fresh and the temperature was cool (almost cold) compared to Marseille. I took it in and was relieved to be back in a place where I could breathe easily. I thought it was strange that I wasn’t too far from Marseille, yet the climate was completely different.
Matt and I ate on the lake while studying the different birds in the air and water. There was a plaque on the barrier that listed all the birds you might expect to see. There was an old guy out in a nice suit, being very selective about which birds he fed.
The buses here use an overhead cable which powered them rather than petrol, meaning there are miles of complex cables overhead throughout the city. This is commonplace throughout Switzerland and amazes me even now. If the bus becomes disconnected from the cable it stops and the driver has to get out an re-connect it.
We moved through the city into the old town which was full of watchmakers and antique shops.
Then getting slightly lost we decided to take a detour down by the river and ran out of path, shimmying across the wall by the river.
We took a break, then headed back for dinner and Maxibons for dessert (available in few countries, “When you see Maxibon, you buy Maxibon”).
As we were both leaving tomorrow we headed out again, this time at night. We initially looked for a pub, but we only found an Irish pub full of tourists. We kept looking, but finding nothing we kept walking.
We invented a plan of action in case the city became overrun with zombies, inspired by several weapon stores we passed, which would be the first stop in the plan. We got lost in the discussion and before long found ourselves in the seedy red light district of Geneva. Sex shops, sex shows and prostitutes all round.
I was surprised given Switzerland’s spotless international reputation and my image of it. But as Matt pointed out, there was a lot of money here and where you get money, you’ll inevitably have places like this. My naivety of Switzerland as a clean and decent land was washed away in a haze of fluorescent lights and sex trade.