Published: March 6th 2010July 2nd 2009
While being in London was impressive and taking in Paris was undeniably beautiful, we at long last made our way to a peaceful time at the world’s capitol of peace, Geneva. While this city has roots going back to the 1st century B.C. with Roman take over, it has a long history of being a major in between player within European history. At this time of course, Switzerland has taken the role of being a dominantly neutral state and choosing to not take any sides in world confrontations. To its credit, it has allowed a place for numerous international organizations, such as many UN departments, to work in peace and security. I suppose if you come to think about it, there should always at least be some zone of peace where people can talk and listen. This was attempted after World War I by making Geneva the headquarters for the League of Nations, which sadly did not meet its objective of sustaining world peace. However, Geneva now stands as a global city that not only provides an arena of political peace, but also a place where world economics can carry on despite world events.
I suppose this has a mixed record.
After all, can you be neutral in all events? Does being neutral with past powers, such as Hitler’s Nazi empire really help to sustain the peace? I certainly respect the ideal of not getting swept away in international politics and events, but what seperates neutral business with being a national accomplice to major atrocities? Perhaps this is a grey zone area that is beyond the scope of this humble blog entry. What is for certain though is that Geneva is a beautiful and peaceful city, full of kind people and much to enjoy. This was a very hospitable stay and with having a spacious apartment in a great location, we were able to catch our breath after such an active time in London and Paris.
Perhaps what stands out to me in this city is two things. First, the land and environment is quite possibly one of the most serene and clean I’ve ever been to. Lake Geneva reminded me of the Mediterranean in its clarity and crystal clear color. However, this is a fresh water lake, which actually the majority of the city’s drinking water comes from. This is really accentuated by the numerous water fountains in the city,
A fantastic place for dinner
Under this tree must be a great place for a bottle of wine
all providing tasty and fresh water. Perhaps abundant and clean water is a telling trait of a stable and harmonious city?
Walking along the clear blue lake under a clear blue sky did provide good scenery to relax in. Furthermore, the background of mountains and near perfect weather caused me to compare Colorado to Switzerland. In many ways, the land of these areas has much in common. Laid back atmosphere and relaxed people who don’t fall in the trap of taking life too seriously. Along the lake, you can easily spot the huge water stream, called Jet d’Eau since this is the French speaking part of Switzerland. This jet shoots water over 450 feet in the air, at the rate of around 132 gallons per a second. If you count the total amount of water in the air at one time, it’s around 7000 liters. This is one of the landmarks of the city, and walking up close to the jet is adventurous and refreshing time (there’s a reason why I have no close up pics of this jet).
My mother and I pretty much took it easy here, choosing to try different restaurants and shops around the various streets.
The chocolate was nothing less than stellar in the city, as well as I spent some time drooling over some very nice quality pocket watches. In the end, I was quite happy to pick out my first self-winding pocket watch, still serving me well. The various Swiss Army stores were great as well, though strangely more expensive than the stores in America. I would have thought I could have purchased the goods here cheaper, but perhaps I should have looked beyond the main touristy roads.
The other major part of this city that stood out to me was its history. While of course the numerous and famous buildings like the League of Nation’s headquarters reside here, there is also the overall infrastructure of the city itself. One night I took a walk around the major streets and a historic neighborhood and had a chance to get a closer feel for the city. While the roads were winding and with hills, I couldn’t help but to notice how the city had a historic and old town feel. With many night time restaurants and bars having a lively crowd, the area itself took on certain presence. While the shops, buildings and restaurants
along the way gave a historic and peaceful surrounding, the people and greenery that abounded made the town feel alive. It was a great walk, and I think gave me a sense of what walking and living in old time Europe might have been like.
Overall, Geneva lived up to its name in being peaceful and it made for a great stopping point in a long trip. For anyone who wants to catch their breath while still enjoying what is in Europe, Geneva would be a great place to do so. I can only imagine how nice the rest of the country is, but I hope to find out one day soon.
There are more photos below