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Glimpses of Geneva
Geneva in May is beautiful and the weather is just right. It is cold yet pleasant. If you only know English, it can be a slight challenge, although a lot of people speak the Enlgish language and are generally friendly and respectful to tourists. Most directions and signs will be in French as well as English.
Being an expensive city, most people live outside Geneva and travel in everyday to work here. The train station called Geneva Cornavin is the hub for various connections.
The city has an excellent system of public transportation that includes buses, trams and trains. Just log onto http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html and you can figure out all the options before you and get access to varied information to move about in Geneva at ease. Most hotels provide you with a travel card or pass for the duration of your stay which enables you to take any public transport free of cost within Geneva.
While exploring this city, one of the most prominent attractions you will come across is the Jet d’Eau fountain. It is one of the world’s largest fountains and springs up from Lake Geneva. From Cornavin station, it is a short walk up to Lake Geneva where one can find lots of tourist, cruise boat teams, souvenir shops by the lake and a busy business town going about their day to day work.
To explore the Old town of Geneva, one can take this cute ride on a train like bogey traveller and for 45 minutes and ten Swiss francs you get to see some historic buildings, famous statues along with a taped recording explaining the significance of each monument. The old town has sloping alleys and a old Russian church where the ride usually halts for ten minutes. This is also provides a ride back to many folks who were lunching and lazing in the old town.
One will come across huge office building of the famous Swiss watch brands of Rolex and Tissot right opposite Lake Geneva; it seems to be a very busy part of the city.
The Cointrin International airport surprisingly is very small and not too far off from the city centre. The main currency is Swiss Francs although you can pay for your purchases in Euros and don't be surprised if they return change in Francs. Go figure !
One can of course get a great view of the famous Swiss Alps from almost everywhere. The city is beautiful and set in a pace and calmness of its own.
At many places you will feel you are in a world war II era with the graffiti on the walls or the grey colour of sidewalks will make you feel the past and present are surviving here together.
A surprising experience was that after asking a couple of folks on the street, nobody could guide me to where the United Nations Office was located at Geneva. It is supposed to be the second largest office of the United Nations after the one at New York!
Make sure you pick up enough Swiss chocolates, cheese and wine to take home for family and friends, the variety of all of these available will leave you spellbound!