Monday, 22 January 2018

A TRIP TO GENEVA

One of the nicest things of the last few years is that I've started going on annual trips with my mum and sisters (#tweediesontour). In 2016 we went to super-cool Copenhagen, and in 2017 we went to Geneva, a place I absolutely wouldn't have been able to go to without the kindness of my mum (thanks mum!).

A trip to Geneva

I didn't really know much about Geneva, other than it being the European home of the UN, and a place of peace, built on cash, clocks, and chocolate. That's kind of true? It's a beautiful city, with old streets and gorgeous parks, chocolate shops on every corner, and is packed with art galleries, museums and interesting designers. It's also one of the most expensive cities in the world - brace yourself.

WHERE WE STAYED

Where to stay in Geneva

We stayed in Hotel Montbrillant, which was a really great base for exploring the city. It is literally next door to the train station, which made it so easy for getting to and from the airport, and it was only a ten minute walk from the Old Town, and very close to tram and bus stops, so everything was a breeze.

The hotel also gave us free travel cards, which meant buses, trams, trains and taxi-boats were all free of charge - this seems to be a common thing if you stay at a hotel, hostel or campsite in Geneva.

WHAT WE DID

What to do in Geneva

Geneva is a beautiful city, and looking out over Lake Geneva is just breath-taking. The huge fountain (the Jet d'Eau) is 140m high and has 500 litres of water passing through it per second. Madness. My family all love boats, so of course we took the water shuttle across the lake, but we also had a nice wander around it.

We did loads of exploring in the Old Town (the largest historic town in Switzerland), climbed the steps of St Peter's Cathedral, explored the parks, rummaged through the Plainpalais flea market, visited the Palace of Nations, and had a lovely wander round the Natural History Museum.

Possibly the best part of the trip was visiting Mont Saleve, a mountain just on the edge of Geneva (that's actually in French territory), with incredible views over Lake Geneva, the Jura mountains and Mont Blanc (the highest mountain in the Alps!). You get a cable car up the mountain, and then there's loads of lovely trails you can explore - we climbed trees and scrambled around and pretended to be in Sound of Music and it was brilliant.

If we'd had more time I'd have loved to visit the CERN laboratory... I'll just need to go back!

WHAT WE ATE

Where to eat in Geneva

Switzerland is big on coffee and chocolate, so we did a really good job of making sure we sampled loads of these! There were lovely little cafes dotted all around Geneva's Old Town, which were perfect to pause at - you could easily spend an afternoon happily in one of Geneva's courtyard cafes (assuming you have enough money to cover cakes that cost ONE MILLION POUNDS).

One of my sisters can't eat gluten, so we had to be on the lookout for places that were gluten-free friendly... which felt a bit tricky, but might have been down to us being picky. Right in the middle of the touristy bit there's Spaghetti Factory Geneva, which offers gluten-free pasta and is sorta affordable, Pizza Leggera do gluten-free pizzas, and we found a Le Pain Quotidien near the Museum which did really nice salads (which also cost ONE MILLION POUNDS. Seriously, Geneva is painfully expensive).

My favourite place we went to was Chez Ma Cousine, a roast chicken restaurant that was cheap, informal, and really tasty (so good that we had to wait an age before we could get in, but I reckon it was worth it).

We also drank wine and many gins, as is the new Tweedie tradition. I'm so lucky getting to go on trips like this with my family, it's so nice to get to spend actual, proper time with them and see places I couldn't do on my own. We're starting to talk about our 2018 trip, I'm excited already!

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