Geneva: Land of order


  • Be mentally prepared. The cost of living in Switzerland is way above the average, and we live in one of the most expensive cities in the US (Washington DC metro area). I was not prepared when I saw that a McD’s meal is a whopping $12 Euro! (Have you ever heard of the Big Mac Index?)
  • Our hotel gave us transportation tickets for the days we stayed there, seems like a common practice in Geneva.
  • Bring a reusable bottle, fresh spring water is free everywhere. They have such an abundance that the public faucets and fountains are running at all time.
  • Chinese food was authentic and excellent with a wide range of selection on the menu, not like the oily sweet mess served in the US.

We flew into the Geneva International Airport (GVA) from the IAD by Washington, D.C. and the timing was perfect as we were landing. Welcomed by the luminescent sunrise over Lake Geneva, we could not wait to see more. The bathroom at the airport was a delight of its own, I think it’s better designed than most of the hotels back on the East Coast.

After we checked into Hotel Cristal that Russ booked online (cleverly designed, central location, at $150/night we later learned that it was a great find), we immediately got out to walk about town.

The next day we hit up the must sees, the United Nations Office was number one on Russ’ list. We looked around and saw many paths surrounding the compound and decided to roam free for a bit. We stumbled on a garden and found (what I consider) the best attraction in town!


The Carrousel des Fables at the Botanical Gardens in Geneva.

Once we walk up to the carousel we see the intricate steam punk craftsmanship that went into this playground toy. Each and every animal was able to move as they would in the wild, with a few creative yet plausible animal mashup. Could this be related to Brian Selznick’s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret? We’re only a couple of hours drive from France! Luckily, this magnificent carousel does have a traceable history. According to The Unusual Travel Destinations, the carousel was built by Copyrart, a non-profit organization funded largely by the canton of Geneva and providing training for the unemployed. A collaboration between artists and artisans, the carousel aims to provide further education in the trades and to encourage the implementation of creative ideas. The Unusual Travel Destinations website also have direction and map of the garden.

Our next stop: Zermott through the Bernina Express!

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