21 February 2009

Geneva- The Peace Capital

Geneva, Switzerland is a beautiful city right on the border of France and Switzerland. It is located along the Rhine River where it meets Lake Geneva (in the picture above) and on a clear day you can see both the Alps and Jura Mountain ranges. Two swiss things were very obvious when I walked around Geneva: time and money. There was a bank on every corner and a visible clock on most streets.

I was reminded when I crossed the border that the Swiss money is not in Euros, as it has been all the other countries I've visited. The Swiss Franc was very puzzling to me, after just now comprehending the Euro conversion. So, to figure out how much money I was spending I had to convert the franc to euro and then to dollar. I realize how fortunate I am to be traveling Europe in the time of the Euro. It has prevented me from converting to all the different European  currencies from pre-1999. Despite the money change and coming from Holland and Belgium, I was happy to be back in a country where my French skills were useful again. 

Jolene and I spent the day walking around Geneva exploring both touristy and non-tourtisty things. We climbed 157 stairs to the top of the bell tower of Cathedral St. Pierre, which overlooks the whole city and lake. It was a beautiful view, but also very cold with the snowy mountains looking down on us. The old city was charming and well preserved with art and sculptures around each corner. Eventually we made our way toward the outskirts of the city to see the United Nations Office and explore the botanic gardens and walk on a path along the Rhine River and Lake Geneva. 

That night we met up with my friends Anaïs and Clémence who just moved to the Geneva from Lyon for an internship. All of us were tired from along day of travel and work so we watched a movie and fell asleep. It was great seeing some familiar faces in an unfamiliar city. I love how friendly everyone is here and I'm thankful for all of my friends who have hosted me.

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