We spent this past weekend in Geneva, Switzerland. Just being able to say that out loud still blows my mind! Switzerland was at the top of my list of the countries that I wanted to visit, and we found a cheap flight and a great hostel in Geneva, which is in the French sector of Switzerland.
The first night we got cheese fondue at a restaurant built on the docks of Lake Geneva- it was worth the hype! Ordering fondue was the first time since arriving in Europe that I really had a language barrier, as the woman behind the counter spoke exclusively in French, and no one in our group knows enough French to help in this situation. Between hand motions, and writing things out, we got by, and this was the first of many experiences that showed me just how polite Swiss people are. Despite not being able to communicate, and slowing down everyone’s day, everyone was so kind and patient with us. Compared to the typical Italian interaction (slightly rushed and harsh, especially if you are trying out your new and stumbling Italian language skills) this was very surprising and pleasant.
Our hostel was right across from St. Pierre’s Cathedral- one of the main sightseeing attractions in Geneva. Every time that I’m inside of a church here, I tear up. The interiors of the churches are gorgeous and overwhelming, and I’m struck time and time again by how many generations of people worshiped and prayed in this exact space.
And of course, we got Swiss hot chocolate! It was amazing!
We took a free historical walking tour of the city on Sunday, and I talked with the tour guide, a Portuguese woman who grew up in Geneva and lived in San Diego for 6 months to learn English. We discussed Ocean Beach, downtown San Diego, and how much we both miss it. What a small world.
We also visited botanical gardens on the far side of the city, as well as the headquarters of the United Nations. We weren’t able to get inside the gates, but it was still amazing to see the outside of the building and all of the nations’ flags.