*Warning: Long post ahead.*
In the early morning of February 3, my red duffle bag and I left my cozy apartment in Juan-les-pins for Geneva, Switzerland for 4 days.
The flight was very short. It lasted 45 to 50 minutes. The view from the flight was amazing. When the plane took off, I could see Nice’s blue water and beaches. Eventually, the plane flew over mountains, and the next thing you know, I was right above the Alps. I was amazed by the high mountain peaks, the snow, the clouds and the Sun. All these elements formed the most beautiful picture I have ever seen. I simply couldn’t take my eyes off the window.
After we landed at the Geneva Airport, we took the train to downtown Geneva and found our way to the Geneva Youth Hostel. We settled in and started our Swiss journey. Our first day in Geneva consisted of walking around the Geneva Lake and the city. We saw the famous water jet and the flower clock. I found Swiss people were so much nicer than the French!
As most of you know, Switzerland is known for its chocolate and watches. Well, Geneva had plenty of chocolate and watches! Every two step I took, there was a watch store. Most of them were luxury watches such as Rolex, Raymond Weil, Tissot, Cartier etc. They were beautiful and of course unaffordable. Then again, everything in Geneva was expensive. The city is among one of the most expensive cities in the world!
After a full day of exploring the city, in the late evening, we met up Naomi’s friend Adam. Adam is a current Intern at the United Nations and he brought us to the UN’s weekly night out. This week, the party was at Mr Pitwick’s Pub, which was only a few minutes away from our hostel. Remember when I said everything in Geneva was expensive? Well, I ordered a burger and it cost me 17 CHF, which is about 18 CND! Despite the high price tag, the burger was amazing! It was delicious! Totally worth the $18! On that night, it also happened to be Karaoke night at the Pub. I don’t think I have mentioned it, but in France, when people found out I’m from Quebec, their first question was: “Do you listen to Celine Dion”? For this reason, all of us took the microphone and went on stage to sing Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. I thought people would laugh at us, but everyone was cheering and clapping! It was hilarious.
The next day, we visited the United Nations. We had a guided tour through the Palais des Nations. Although most of my friends didn’t enjoy the tour that much, I thought it was interesting. I learned about the main components of the UN and how the system works. We sat in conference rooms where diplomats and important figures have meetings regularly. The UN in Geneva holds hundreds of meetings every month! The Palais des Nations is also filled with history. During its construction, countries all over the world gifted art pieces or raw materials to the UN to help. It was interesting what each country had offered. I always knew what the UN was and does, but it is only after the visit that I realize how essential this organization is to the world and lucky we are to have such a big institute working hard on peacemaking, development and making the world a better place for every single human being.
After the UN, we went to the Red Cross Museum. The museum was great. Every detail on how and why the whole organization started was presented. The Red Cross was created in 1863, aiming to provide assistance and protection without discrimination to the victims of armed conflicts. It was very touching to find out that despite all the wars happening at the time, there were good people who helped the wounded soldiers (regardless of the their nationalities) on the battlefield.
Following the museum, we wondered in the city before returning to the hostel. On our second night in Geneva, Adam took us to a little restaurant on the Geneva Lake for dinner. The restaurant served authentic Swiss fondue. The meal consisted of dipping bread in gruyere cheese cooked with white wine. It was delicious!
On our final day, we went up Mount Saleve which towers over Geneva. The view was breathtaking! I got to see the Mont Blanc up close and it was insane!
In essence, I very much enjoyed my trip to Geneva. It was cool to be in a city filled organizations aiming to make the world a safer place. The visit to the UN and the Red Cross Museum really opened my eyes to how lucky I am. I always knew I am very lucky to be living in Canada, where I am free to express myself, free of armed conflicts and have access to medical care and proper education. However, those visits made me further reflect on how the world is far from being fair and perfect.
Click Here to see pictures from my Geneva trip