Monday, 14 March 2016

Geneva: A Swiss Adventure

So I'm just back from Geneva, tired but happy I got the opportunity to visit this multicultural city. It's certainly an interesting experience visiting a city in a country which has almost no locals! Everyone I encountered in Geneva in Switzerland was from somewhere else entirely. Home to the United Nations I suppose I can't say I'm suprised it's so culturally diverse. I myself was going to visit two of my friends (one from Taiwan originally and the other from Egypt) both of whom now call Switzerland home.

I travelled with Aerlingus on Friday morning, with a flight time of under two hours it really is a handy getaway but bear in mind you will need deep pockets to visit this city as the living costs are high but so are the wages. You can feel the sense of wealth in the air... Designer bags are on everyone's arm, luxury cars pass you in the street and their Rue du Commerce or central shopping area has Prada, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and a Christian Louboutins on every corner like you would see a Penneys in Dublin. They also have great high street stores like Bershka, H & M and Zara where bargains can be found! I bought myself a pair of jeans from Bershka in the sale for 5.90 francs which is the equivalent to around €6 here! You wouldn't get better value in Penney's I tell you. The exchange rate of francs to euro is pretty similar. I think one euro gets you one oh nine francs, and it's the most beautifully coloured Monopoly money. 


It's pretty simple to get around here, and I long for the Swiss efficient of a transport system in Ireland. The best thing to do is to buy a day ticket from the machine at the bus stop, and if you are travelling after 9am an all day ticket will only cost you 8 francs. This entitles you to hop on trains as well and because they are so quick and efficient you really can see a lot of the city very quickly, it is by no means huge. Make sure to get a ticket though, an 80 franc fine is so not worth it!

What to do 

While I was in Geneva, the Festichoc, or chocolate festival was taking place in Versoix. A small city or a big town depending on how you look at it about thirty minutes on the train from Geneva. Switzerland is world renowned for its chocolate and so this festival was a must visit for me as I am a serious chocolate lover! There were so many master chocolatiers stands there showcasing their products and offering free chocolate samples. There was chocolate foundations with strawberries to dip and also a competition of the most amazing sculptures made of chocolate. They really were so talented. 

The Geneva International Motor Show was happening while I was there and although I didn't go the city was abuzz with it, so many fancy Alfa Romeos, Maseratis and Ferraris were to be seen driving around and revving up in the city. Any time one of these cars pulled up in the street crowds of people could be seen surrounding it to take photos. If you go to the car show after 4pm tickets are half price at 8 francs. 

Strolling around Geneva, people watching, taking a trip down to the Lake and into the Old Town up windy cobble lock streets and through the parks is the best way to see most of the city.

Where to eat 

On my first night there we had a fondue party. Fondue is their national dish... It's essentially very strong Swiss cheese with wine mixed into it. People dip crusty French baguettes into this mixture, or a selection of cold meats or pickles into the cheese. I have to say I didn't like cheese fondue at all, it was extremely strong smelling and tasting so I tasted it but then passed. 

Our first meal out we went to an Italian restaurant... There is a vast selection of all different cuisines in the city because of its mix of cultures. I had a pizza and was a bit shocked at the prices but I got used to them quickly. A bottle of water can set you back 5 francs in some places. 

The second meal we had was eaten in France! Yes , I also went to France when I was in Geneva. It's really simple to cross the border on the bus and we went to an Asian restaurant called Royal Thai. It has an all you can eat three course buffet for €20.80 or 23.75 francs. Food was really good and we were so stuffed. There was also an Irish bar nearby predictably called Paddys but we didn't go in.


So who would have thought Geneva had such a nightlife? They certainly like to go out and drink, plenty of wine was consumed the first night. Jaegermeister is also very popular here as are shots ... So a sore head was definitely had. We went to a bar called Elefant en Carnet which had a good buzzing athmosphere and music. I made friends with the bar tender and didn't pay for a drink for the night. Everyone is very open and friendly in this city and it feels very liberated. 

On the second night we went to an event called the Couch Crew March Madness Turn up event. It's a lot of Afro beat, house and RnB music with some seriously good djs. This place was absolutely jam packed and so we left about midnight went to the Clubhouse, another popular international bar and then we got invited to a party in someone's apartment. Everyone knows everyone there but I definitely feel like I got to see more of the nightlife and the city as I was with a friend who lives there year round. 

Where to stay

I stayed with a friend in her apartment that was two bus stops from the airport and it was extremely handy. There were two hotels nearby the ibis budget and the crowne plaza and bought could be worth checking out for affordable accomodation. 

Overall I had a great time and a detox is much needed after all the rich food, wine and shots that were consumed. I think Geneva is a must visit and definitely doable if you are smart with your money. Migros is their local supermarket and they are all over the city so you can easily pick up food, snacks or drinks for cheaper when you are out and about in the day time. 

I would recommend a three to four day visit and you really will be able to pack a lot into that time. As it is on the border of France you could take a day trip over there or take a train into the mountains and go skiing. 

What to bring 

This trench coat from Asos will keep you warm as the weather is considerably chillier than Ireland and also quite windy. 

These chunky metallic trainers from Bershka (€29.99) are perfect for all the walking you will be doing and can be mixed and matched with a lot of outfits and so are very versatile. 

The wind chill factor calls for a seriously hardworking lip balm from Nuxe. This is €12 from but it's actually a little bit cheaper in Geneva, I saw it for 11 francs in the airport. 

This outfit was super versatile and typical of what I wore around Geneva. The denim A line skirt is from Penneys, the polo neck is also Penneys. Leather jacket is Bershak, and trainers are Addidas Siperstars available at Schuh.


What to pack

I packed super light and mixed and matched what I wore. A black poloneck, a V neck tshirt, a pair of ripped jeans, a scarf, beanie, long line sleeveless trench and a pair of leopard print flats were the only other items I wore. It's very casual there even at night time and so I just borrowed a top and coat off my friend.

So I hope you enjoyed reading this post and if anyone is thinking of going to Geneva after this post let me know in the comments below and if I can help you with anything at all I'd be happy too! 



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