Thursday, January 7, 2010

Geneva with Mom

Mom and I planned to have a couple days in Geneva to check out the city a little more, so finally left Ormoy. The train incident from the 23rd of December is still being fixed, so we can’t take the original short route we wanted. It’s getting colder and colder in Ormoy and by the time we have to take the train back to Paris to catch the Geneva train, there is ice everywhere. We can’t open the car doors as they are iced over, so Dany boils a pot of water and pours it over the car. It’s 6am.

We finally get to Monparnasse and now need to take a metro to take us to Gare de Lyon. There are way too many train stations in France. We have our huge suitcases and walking from station to station is exhausting. I know I’m going to be sore. But again, all we’ve done is eat, so at least this is some kind of exercise. I thought I knew a shortcut, but alas, it ended up taking longer and going up more stairs. Oops!

We ended up sitting across from each other on the 3 hour train ride with a table in between us so we could eat our last baguette sandwich together. It was actually a really nice train ride back to Geneva.

We get in around 3, check into our hotel and start walking around. The hotel was OK. Would not recommend it, but was just fine for us. The breakfast was included which was actually decent and it was directly across from the train station, which is helpful. The first day we walked around and saw the fountain, walked up the very steep stairs of the St. Pierre’s Cathedral, and walked along the Rhone River through the English Garden at night. The city is lit beautifully for the holidays. You can tell this city has money to spend! We walked into the Genome Museum on the Isle de Rousseau, named after the famous philosopher, which completely creeped me out. Thank goodness it was free. It was a small dome that explained the genome theory with dressed up dummies and really weird music. Mom loved it. I kept thinking of Hugh. He would have loved this also. (Hi Hugh!) We were searching for a great fondue, but every restaurant I had recommendations for, were all closed for the holidays until January 11. The Europeans know how to do it right. We finally found one near the train station near our hotel and it was delicious. Our bellies were warm and full which was a good thing considering it was getting colder and colder outside. I believe it was 19 degrees. We were beat and went to the hotel and passed out.

The next day we got up early, had breakfast and went directly to the United Nations buildling. Of course we get there, and they are closed until January 11. I guess the nations aren’t united over the holidays. We still took our obligatory pictures in front of the flags and closed gate and then walked up the hill to the Red Cross Museum. On our way, we came across the Ariana Museum which was free, so we walked in. It was all glass and ceramics from around the world. The building itself was really pretty, both inside and out, but I don’t care much for ceramics.

I didn’t know this, but The Red Cross was founded by a rich Swiss man after he saw how poorly soldiers were being taken care of back in 1859. He founded the organization to help all soldiers as a neutral entity. It was one of the best museums I had ever been to, and I’m not a big museum person. Definitely recommend going if you are ever here. Very touching and great stories and photographs throughout.

Then we went to the Russian Orthodox Church which I thought was just a monument like all the other cathedrals we see. Geneva used to be a huge Russian vacation spot, so you see a lot of Russian influences throughout. This Church was in the middle of a residential area and was gorgeous. We walked in and this was no monument. This was a working church with people praying inside. It was gorgeous, just not what I was expecting at all. We then walked up the street and followed signs to “Old Town” which we had been to last night, which is when we realized that Geneva is a TINY town. We were next to the city center the whole time. We were now experts. On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Four Seasons Hotel for a glass of wine which cost $25 a glass (ouch), but it was delicious! As all Four Seasons, it was beautiful and only $800 a night. Mom packed up her suitcase sicne she was leaving the next day and then we walked to our final restaurant for some Raclette, a traditional Swiss dish with cheese and potatoes. The restaurant was great. Probably a tourist attraction, but we were tourists afterall. They didn’t have the traditional Raclette we wanted, so the waiter suggested we get the Croute en Fromage and a Steak au Fromage. We purposely didn’t eat all day so we would be ready for our final dinner. Thank goodness. The Croute en Fromage was a huge piece of country French bread grilled with a huge piece of Swiss cheese and ham grilled in a skillet then topped with a fried egg and served with pickles. My steak au Fromage was just that. A huge chunk of cheese, probably about 8 inches, grilled like a piece of steak served with potatoes, pickles and bread. It was unreal. I never thought I would ever a piece of cheese like that. And honestly probably won’t considering I didn’t sleep a wink that night. My belly was WAY too full.

We walked back to the hotel to try to walk some of it off and crashed for the night. Our final meal was epic, to say the least.

Mom leaves in the morning and its going to be lonely now! It was a great trip and can’t wait for the next one!

Weird Genome Museum

Outside United Nations

Geneva at Night in English Garden

Russian Orthodox Church

Inside Red Cross Museum

Outside Redcross Museum

On top of St. Pierre's Cathedral

Mom's Rediculous Dish

Geneva's famous fountain

Inside St. Pierre's Cathedral

Mom with Fondue

Outside United Nations

Walking up the steep Cathedral stairs

My rediculous Cheese Steak

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