I spent 36 hours in Geneva from my morning flight on Sunday the 22nd of September through my early evening return trip Monday the 23rd.
The following are my travel tips from my brief stint in the land of cheese, beautiful, green water, and many banks (financial, though there were also the riparian variety in abundance).
Marieke’s Travel Tips:
- Try not to be in a hurry
- Try not to let other people annoy you (this is more easily advised than adhered to)
- Traveling light is awesome
- Breaking the rules can sometimes work in your favor (example taking the checked bag tag off of my rolling bag and then miraculously being able to fit under the seat in front of me)
- It is awesome to have a parent who lets you use their holiday inn points
- Even transit for a small city is confusing; try not to panic
- It’s very helpful if you speak the language because you can just ask if the trams that keep arriving are going in the direction you want to go (centre ville). In my case, they were not and the directions from the hotel staff were indeed legit. I felt better after asking because the tiny seed of doubt was alleviated.
- When in doubt, repeat the mantra, “Everything is already alright.”
- If you have a phone that is more than two years old, bring a back up charger and USB plug even when you are walking around for a short time and your phone was fully charged when you left because your battery will be drained really fast (especially if you take as many photos as I do).
- It’s ok to mourn what doesn’t work out, but make sure to also practice gratitude and celebrate everything that does!
- I will get home. It may not be as early as I would like, but I will eventually get there. Stay calm. Everything is already alright.
Marieke’s Impressions of Geneva:
- Geneva reminds me of Grenoble a bit
- The tram 14 from Blandonnet is similar to the trams in Flanders and Amsterdam
- People cannot figure out where I am from because my name is Dutch and I speak French but my passport is for the United States
- The buildings are tall and square. It is clear I am not in Brussels or Paris or other European cities.
- I easily went for three hours without having to pee and only realized the next morning that I just hadn’t been thinking or worrying about. Good lesson! If I worry about finding d toilet, I will instantly have to pee.
- Transit signage is mostly good except for the buses at Gare Cornavin, where the orange topped tpg machine and sign with the lines that pass that stop are set back so they are out of sight from the other side of the street beneath the train overpass.
Note: I have started collecting interesting stickers that I find posted around Brussels (namely, the “no one is illegal” stickers in Dutch because I have not yet found a way to get them straight from the source). In Geneva, I took a couple of stickers from a light post and stuck them on my transit map. I only noticed upon my return the hilarity of the juxtaposition of the sticker of a walking butt above the phrase: le voyage aux multiple visages (the journey with many faces). Noted.