We are just going to put this out there right now. Geneva is not for budget travelers.
The reason we chose to visit Geneva was because Mom’s brother works at CERN, and lives in nearby Saint-Genis-Pouilly. Since we had a free place to lay our heads, and got to visit family, it was a no brainer.
We arrived late at night, but were still able to use public transportation. Luckily, our uncle can read French, because there are about 50 fare options, and you need exact change.
While in Geneva, we visited the charming old town square, which is within walking distance of both Lake Geneva and The Flower Clock. This is a great area for wandering and getting acup of coffee at a sidewalk cafe.
There are many to choose from, and many even offered blankets to cut the chill. However, and this is a big however, be forewarned, almost no one accepts credit cards in Geneva. At least not in this area. There was an underground exhibit we stumbled upon and wanted to tour but couldn’t, because we were out of cash and there are no ATMs in the area. NONE.
We found the only cafe that seemed to accept card, enjoyed our drinks, and finished exploring the area.
We saw some impressive street performers, as well as some not so impressive ones. Probably trying to get exact change for a damn cup of coffee. Our favorite was an old man with a music-making contraption, which his loyal cat slept on while waiting to be pet by passersby. We aren’t biased at all.
It was too long of a metro ride back to Saint-Genis and then back into town for our dinner reservations, so we stopped at a McDonalds to use wifi to bide the time. Here is where you can get an idea of the crazy cost of living in Geneva. We ordered a Meduim fries and a small coke for a whopping $8. This would cost us less than $3 at McDonalds in Los Angeles. Thankfully, this McD’s, as many in Europe, had touchscreens you order from, keeping us from accidentally ordering a $30 snack.
ALSO, in order to use the wifi, they ask for a phone number to text the code to. If you do not have access to a phone that works in Europe, you are out of luck. We get the feeling Geneva does not love outsiders.
That evening, we went to a fondue restaurant called Edelweiss for dinner. It was both fun, and delicious! There was live entertainment in the form of two musicians who had a never-ending bag of tricks.
They played everything from saws to accordions to cowbells. At one point in the evening, they invited up audience members to take turns playing the alphorn. Like in a ricola commercial!
The menu consisted of various fondue choices and appetizers, such as meat and cheese plates. We shared and had more than enough. Infact, the server seemed a little offended when we said we were done. Our little cat tummies can only do so much fondue.
Did you know most cats are lactose intolerant? Yet, we are drawn to it’s creamy goodness like moths to a flame. It’s some kind of evil joke being played on us.
While we were in Geneva, we also visited CERN, obviously. It was interesting, and had a surprisingly good cafeteria, which we got to experience because of our aforementioned human uncle. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the hadron collider because it was running, and the main exhibit was undergoing renovations.
What luck! We did, however, get to eat with a bunch of people who are borderline genius (but really, probably not borderline at all), and see their reaction to the peasants using a selfie-stick and shrieking “SCIENCE!” during their noon meal. They were impressed, I am sure of it.
Overall, we enjoyed Geneva, but don’t think we would have enjoyed it nearly as much without our French speaking host. We will probably never be back because we don’t foresee becoming part of the 1% in the near future.
We did manage to scrounge up enough change to grab a scrumptuous baguette in France before heading out. No, they did not accept cards.