A Geneva you haven’t seen before
A trip to Geneva.
If somebody asked you to describe Geneva in two words, I think that most of us would say it is a cosmopolitan city, like Paris, London or Rome. Expensive cars in the streets, expensive clothes, expensive watches and jewelry, and an expensive life.
The city of money.
Where there’s a lot of money, there’s the dark side as well. Dark quarters inhabited by immigrants from Africa and Asia, but also from some European countries. A couple of years ago, we had a close encounter with some of the European immigrants, with which Switzerland is crammed. In the following months, we carried the mark of the delinquent young man on several places on our car. Luckily, we received the paint from the factory to be able to go back to normal.
Thus is Geneva not a primarily touristic destination, although it has a lot to offer.
At first, it seems hectic and boring, but eventually Geneva turned out to have a soul, which it only exposed on special occasions.
Well, apparently, I happened to be there on one of those occasions this year in June.
I am going to introduce you to another side of Geneva. The one that unifies the entire world. Of course, I am going to give you a video tape as a gift towards the end, as I usually do, as well as a picture with no words, only music, as something that left me breathless at this trip to Geneva.
Certainly, you won’t be deprived of the most general tourist information. What to see, how to get there, where to go, where to spend the night, etc.
Combination of two souls
Music and street food.
Every year in June, there’s Fête de la Musique in Geneva. This year it took place from 16th to 19th June. Overall, there’s a lot of music around Lake Geneva, during those summer months. We’ve talked about it in the post about Chillon.
Fête de la Musique is a huge festival that lasts for three days, and its stages are all over the town, and there are hundreds of them. There are traditional street food and drinks from all over the world, served where the stages are. There were all sorts of things… some dishes I have never heard of, and some I couldn’t find the courage to try.
The festival reminded me of our EXIT festival by its structure, but with one significant difference – it was a festival for both young and older people. Not only for them to visit it, but also to take part in it. There was music from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. in the morning.
- Film music
- Classical music
- Dance music
- Ethno music
- Electro and rap music etc.
How did the preparations go?
I prepared for the festival. That is my recommendation to everyone, because there are so many things to see, that you simply cannot manage to do it all unless you are organized, especially if you take into consideration the distance between the stages.
The city had organized the free bus transportation from one location to another, and it functioned great. That means that if you are not in the best shape, you can be transported via vehicle. Just don’t take your car to the city, because there is the problem of parking, which I will discuss later.
The preparations of a girl from Sumadija looked like this… grab the festival program and do the math… I frequently wandered and had second thoughts if I should go to one place or another… there were so many tempting directions, and only one of me.
And finally, a part of what we’ve seen:
I started the trip in the morning, and came back in the night.
In the morning hours, there was music intended for families and children… so I had a chance to take part in the karaoke just like these girls.
I even wanted to sing… but there were a lot of people there 🙂 , and it wasn’t the best idea for their ears.
Walking from stage to stage, if you were on foot like me, you could see and get to know something
The streets of Geneva
In the photo, on the bottom right, there’s also a museum of history and art.
And then, in the old part of the city, I visited the square Bourg du Four, there’s a great number of restaurants and cafés (it looks just like our Bohemian quarter Skadarlija). Once, instead of those cafés and restaurants, there was a cattle market there.
On our way, while we were still eager to walk, we would always come into new bands and new styles of music.
There were many of these ‘unregistered’ musicians and bands. A ‘gang from the hood’ could be seen gathered in almost every corner, playing some their sort of tambura… I can tell you, that for me, it was one of the most inspiring musical directions there.
There was no way to stay hungry… the whole city was covered with booths like these. It wasn’t expensive.
There was enough room for standing everywhere, but the fastest ones could even sit in some of the most beautiful parks in Europe, such as, for instance, this couple:
Tradition on every corner
And the story of what could be eaten, or drunk there, follows.
Grilled fish… and not just any fish.
The sight just like we are used to seeing… a barbecue chef was the main attraction, and there was a huge crowd around him there…
Besides the grilled fish…
Great Spanish and Portuguese paellas made of seafood.
This was a modern variation.
The shrimp wasn’t complain.
And this was leaned more towards the classical recipe.
There were all kinds of drinks (from water to cocktails, strong alcoholic drinks, mulled wines, and brandy), but I was completely overwhelmed by this alcohol in combination with the coconut, that one glass of it was just enough.
And the ones who weren’t on a diet and liked some real food, there was a great offer.
One had already gone, and it was only 1 p.m.
This time, there was tradition both in booths and on the plate.
Coconut and bananas… then there’s mango… and here they are, preparing some mango… if only my kids were there, to show them some mango used in the kitchen
Then, the German influence, with their sausage in one hand… of course
A beer in the other hand 🙂 .
And for vegans… there were some corn and fried bananas left.
There was candy too…. Personally, I like ice cream, or sliced fruit and chocolate waffles, and I stumbled across them.
And where’s the Woodstock of 2016?
Once you’ve listened to some music, eat a great deal of somebody’s tradition, then there was Woodstock.
And a girl from Sumadija was there, too 🙂 .
We made a break there, and hung out with the rest of the crowd… and then we continued our trip, because we weren’t done yet
Let’s move on….
On our moving on with the trip, I came into the most famous world auction house, Christies.
Just so you could know who is where in this world… these two diamonds (orange-yellowish) of 11.96 carats… were sold to someone for 11,365 000 euros.
And then, moving on, for us that don’t belong to the auctions…
After these young boys, we visited the Saint Peter’s Cathedral, to see and listen to the sound of organs.
Everything was crammed, we could barely find a seat.
The little night music
As it slowly began to get darker, the sounds from the stages became stronger.
Somewhere around midnight, there was pop, blues and jazz.
These veterans are famous in Switzerland… and they were grate on stage.
My trip to Geneva can be described from the point of view of the Musical festival in the following video:
The strongest impression
What left a strong impression on me, was the Balkanica stage, i.e. the stage with the Balkan music. The best atmosphere was there, where everyone was dancing, jumping and singing
What can I tell you…I behaved like a little child… it was raining, and I didn’t care… I jumped, sang, (or more likely, jelled), danced with the girl with the same name as mine. There was mud all over me, and not to mention the condition of my shoes. We were in front of that stage from the beginning to the very end.
All of those who couldn’t understand what was going on there, stopped and remained to take part in everything. That entire happening and the atmosphere left such an impression on me. It might’ve been so because I was far away from my home and family, and this music somehow connected me to them… made them closer… and relieved my entire background.
After that, all I could do was go home, which I did.
The clip will tell you more than words can… such a great time we had there…
And now that I have wiped my tears away…
I’m going to write you some of the basic information about how to get organized and carry your trip to Geneva through
Out and about in Geneva
Although I don’t primarily want to tell you about my accommodation in Geneva and the way to get there although it is expensive, I’m going to devote a couple of lines to that, so that you would have some guidelines
A trip to Geneva
The EasyJet airplane ticket. The tickets can be a real bargain, and I got a return ticket for 45 euros. The only restriction is that you can have only hand luggage. Although, that is not much of a restriction, because you can pay extra to bring the rest of your luggage as well. As for the hand luggage, I didn’t have to get its weight checked or, God forbid, the content of it, but it doesn’t mean that they never do so.
Place to spend the night
As it is a mundane city, the hotel prices act accordingly. There are more hotels on the expensive side. Although, if you try hard enough, you can find something for your pocket. That’s what I told you about after visiting the Chillon castle.
Prices, of course, depend on the time of year you wish to spend in Switzerland, the number of guests, hotel, and whether you want to rent an entire house to yourself, whether it is just one room, or a room to share with somebody, etc. There are thousands of options, but let me be clear, you get what you pay for. Rooms in private accommodation can be found for 20-30 euros per night.
For the hostel fans, there’s this as well. Look here
The most luxurious and the oldest hotel is Beau Rivage. It has the richest history as well. Austrian monarch Sisi was stabbed to death on her way out of this hotel, and the state of Czechoslovakia was created in it as well.
The main rule is: DO NOT TRY TO RIDE WITHOUT A TICKET, IT’S EXPENSIVE.
A tram. A trolley. A train. A bus, and even boats
It is all called UNIRESO. Depending on where you go, you take appropriate transportation. Just to compare, a one-hour train ticket (city center area) is 3 CHF, and the same daily ticket is 10 CHF. The exchange rate of euros and CHF is currently the same.
What is interesting, is that if you’ve forgotten to buy a ticket, or you had to run to catch transport, which happens all the time, you can buy your ticket via SMS.
Rent a car
Parking places in the city
The city is divided into zones.
White zone– time limit of 90 minutes, costs 2.8 CHF an hour.
Blue zone means free parking for the residents, and for the others, it is free only for 89 minutes. So, if you have rent a car, and you wish to park your car in the blue zone over nights, well… no can do.
Don’t ask me how I left and parked my rent a car… I was lucky… just that.
The yellow zone is most frequently used by the delivery guys.
The red zone is the zone of free parking to 3 p.m. you should have a red parking disc, which you can get in a bank, tourist offices or the police office.
All in all, park with your eyes open.
The diplomacy zone
In case you didn’t know, the headquarters of UNHCR, WHO (World Health Organization), ILO (International Labor Organization), WTO (World Trade Organization), Red Cross, and WEF (World Economy Forum) are all set in Geneva.
What else is there to see?
- Jet d’Eau is in the very center of the city, you couldn’t miss it if you just cast a look in the direction of the lake. The imposing height of the water spout of up to 140 meters and over 500 liters of water spouting in a second.
- A flower wall on the main roundabout in the city center, and immediately near the Jet d’Eau.
- Patek Philippeu– for all watch lovers there’s the museum of the most famous European clock manufacturer whose watches are worth more than millions. Entrance fee is about 10 CHF.
- Saint Peter’s Cathedral and Old town.
- In case you still haven’t felt the ‘dolce vita’ you should visit Carouge.
- Geneva church in the main train station.
- And then, going for a romantic walk through Versoix, and experiencing lake from the suburban side.
- Laman, or Lake Geneva, on which there’s the Chillon castle.
- One of the most beautiful Botanical gardens in the world.
- The Reformation wall– set in the campus garden.
- The French market, which is only a couple of kilometers away from Geneva, Ferny Voltaire,
- The city of Annecy on the lake.
- South Burgundy.
- The village of Gruyere and learn how to make cheese.
- Experience Carouge, the suburbs of Geneva.
- Chocolate factories (two of them).
Have a nice trip, and enjoy every second of it!