Another day, another city, another sister. This time we’re in Geneva visiting Ben’s sister.

I have never been all that fond of Geneva because it has somewhat of an exclusive feeling to it. It also seems to be full of banks and shops selling expensive watches.

Something that they do very well here though is public transport. Public transport to and from the airport is completely free. I am told that the airport pays for this so as to discourage car use and waste-of-land parking. They also have trams which run all the time so you never need to check what time the next tram comes. Bicycle infrastructure is also pretty good and surprisingly better than what I saw in the South of France which is very odd given that cycling is supposed to be the national sport in France. In fact, someone told me that cyclists are restricted to 10km/h on one of the new bike paths in the Côte d’Azur and police monitor their speeds and fine them when caught speeding!!!!

I saw lots of bicycles around including this one with timber mud guards.


There were also a few people riding around on scooters like this very trendy-looking fellow:


Here’s a pic of me and Daniel with the famous fountain in the background.


Someone suggested in the comments on my blog yesterday that I should make my next post about the unethical clothing sweatshops in Asia. At first I thought this was a fine suggestion but then I realised this person was criticising me by implying that my clothing choices are unethical. So I’d like to publicise that the coat I’m wearing in the above photograph is a Zara wool coat bought for £6 at a charity shop in York. The boots are hand-me-downs from my sister, the scarf I made myself and everything underneath is also second-hand except for my undies and tights. Most of my wardrobe is second-hand and I actually have a bit of an obsession with charity shops. (UPDATE 1/11/13: It seems I have misinterpreted this comment. See comments below)

People swim in Lake Geneva year round and we saw some of these nutters in action. Ben’s sister does the same thing every weekend even in the middle of winter.


Some close-ups of the fountain:



Picnic lunch:



25 responses to “Geneva”

  1. That’s a lovely coat, I was admiring it in the picture and now I know it was such a bargain I’m liking it even more! When people admire thrifty finds do you feel the overwhelming urge to reveal what a bargain you got? Sometimes folk look uncomfortable when I tell them the skirt they admire was a pound from Help the Aged, but I’m so proud of my hunting skills I find it difficult to keep them quiet! 🙂

    • I always tell people about my charity shop clothing bargains. Sometimes I get criticised for this because I’m supposed to be embarrassed for wearing something second-hand but I really couldn’t care less. I’m proud of it too. The charity shops in York are really, really good.

  2. The Swiss do put us all to shame – their public transport system is always the butt of jokes in the UK – “If you were in Switzerland, this bus would have arrived five minutes early, not half an hour late…” and the such.

    I suppose that the exclusive feeling of Lake Geneva must be a bit like Queenstown in NZ; I felt I bit out of place when I was there a few years back, probably because it all looked too tidy and clean to be real.

    I’m glad you are enjoying your travels in Europe though 🙂

    • Thank you. I am enjoying it very much. I actually think the rail network in the UK is fabulous. I can’t comment on any other form of public transport because I haven’t used any but we use the trains all the time. They’re superb.

      Queenstown is a bit exclusive. It has the most expensive property prices in New Zealand too.

  3. You have misinterpreted my suggestion in your last post which was full of concerned comments about the widening gap between the rich and poor. A large proportion of other products – shoes, smart phones, toys and many clothing accessories – come from sweat shops in Asia. Just because your coat came from an op-shop doesn’t mean it wasn’t made in a sweat shop. The Bangladesh disaster in May highlighted the need to clean up this industry. Amusez-vous bien en Suisse.

  4. Love your coat, Rachel. You’ve done well. I’ve tried op shops in the past but never seem to find anything. Have given up. I suspect finding bargains need time and diligence. Am amazed that people would swim in the lake in winter. Masochists!

    • Thanks, Bronwyn. I must admit I was slightly tempted by the swim in the lake. The water looked very clean and refreshing and Ben’s sister even offered to take me. She tells me the temperature is 12C. In mid-winter when she goes it’s 4C! I don’t think I’d ever do that. But I am quite fascinated by all the people who do do it and who are convinced of the benefits of doing this. I’m not sure what these benefits are but I’m a little bit interested in finding out. Maybe one day.

  5. Great photos of you all Rachel and wow, what a fantastic deal at the charity shop you look really good in your coat! Why can’t I ever find things like that in charity shops…??!! Never seen timber mud guards on a bike before either! Looks chilly over there, brrr…

  6. More great photos, Rachel. I’ve cycled around that lake on hire bikes that I think were free. We were the only dudes wearing helmets! I didn’t find the area immediately around Antibes and JLP particularly cyclist or jogger friendly. The road out to Cap d’Antibes, for example, was narrow with too much speeding traffic and in parts had no footpath, just walls of mansions to flatten oneself against in the case of an emergency. On the Antibes of the Cap it is better but I’d still restrict my cycling to Sunday mornings when I believe cyclists have right of way over motorists. If anyone can recommend some good bike paths in the coastal part of Antibes, I’d love to know about them.

    • The South of France was terrible for cyclists. I think I saw one off-road bike path and not a single person was using it. I also found the whole area not particularly good for pedestrians. The footpaths was often very narrow and there were lots of busy roads to cross and none of the cars stop for you at pedestrian crossings.

      • I agree. Piétons (pedestrians) and joggers need to have their wits about them. There are plenty of good, safe walks on the Côte, I bought a book about them, but they are off the beaten track such as up to Eze or the coastal ones over rocks. The cyclists probably go into the arrière pays around Grasse.

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