Sadly, the Paris chapter of our trip was coming to a close, but that meant more adventures and cities to explore lie ahead! Yay! The next stop on our travels is Geneva, Switzerland!!!! I have always wanted to go to Switzerland and was in shock and disbelief that it was actually happening!
No flight this time! We took a taxi to the Paris train station and took about a 3-hour train ride to Geneva. I would SO much rather travel by train than plane: more room, no luggage restrictions, no security and you get to see so much more than just clouds! The train also had wifi, so we were able to catch up on some homework, which was an added bonus. The train ride into Geneva was STUNNING! We were able to see the crystal clear lake and mountains. I knew right then I was already going to love Switzerland!
We took a taxi from the train station to our hotel, which we soon learned was actually walking distance (whoops!). The hotel was SO cool! We felt very unworthy of our room. It was two stories, had a huge bathtub and a little courtyard!!! Yeah it’s official we’re never coming home!!! We threw our stuff down in the room, which we nicknamed the bungalow, had headed out to explore the sights of Geneva! Our hotel was about a 5-minute walk from Geneva’s most well known sight, the lake! It was beautiful and we enjoyed spending the afternoon walking around it. On our walk we found where the lake and river collide and we also stumbled upon St. Pierre’s Church in the old town, which was beautiful, but, in my opinion, didn’t quite compare to Notre Dame. Next we set out to find Geneva’s other well-known sight, the fountain. After a long, cold walk we soon found out that the fountain is turned off in the winter unless an important guest is in town. Clearly we weren’t important enough. Cool.
After A LOT of walking, we worked up quite the appetite. What better food to eat and warm up with in Switzerland than cheese fondue?? We had done some research to find an authentic and extra yummy spot. Thanks to the hotel concierge, we landed on Les Armures, which was in a hotel right off of old town square. The bread dipped in cheese was unlike anything I had ever tasted. Wow I am still dreaming of this meal! SOO yummy!! After consuming WAYY too much bread, we decided to walk back to our hotel and settle into the bungalow for the evening. We tried to catch up on the Bachelor, but all fell asleep within the first ten minutes. Needless to say we were exhausted and in desperate need of a good night sleep before our big adventure tomorrow.
We were feeling much more rested and excited for the day ahead! We were heading to the ski village of Charmonix in France to see the Alps! We had our usual croissant and cappuccino at the hotel and then made the short walk to where we were to meet our bus and tour guide for the day. We had booked the tour online before we left Texas to study abroad, so we were all a little skeptical. I can confidently say I am SO glad we did! The bus was very nice and our tour guide Neil provided details about Geneva, Charmonix and the surrounding area during the ride. The bus ride was only about an hour and a half long and we were in a totally different country when we arrived! You can drive for an hour and a half in Texas and still be in the same state, much less a different country!
The main attraction to the ski village of Charmonix is Mount Blanc. From this mountain you can see the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. As part of our tour, we had booked tickets to ride the gondola up to the top of Mount Blanc. We took one gondola half way up, where we then switched to another that seriously went straight up! This was easily the highlight of the day for me! The gondola ride up the Alps was breathtaking and truly a sight I will never forget. Once we got to the top, we were able to walk around to all the different viewing platforms and take in the Alps from all angles. IT WAS FREEZING!!!! I have never been that cold in my entire life. We may be smiling in the pictures, but we were shaking we were so cold!! Torchy didn’t get too many pictures because I was so scared he would blow away! On the gondola with us there some people in ski gear with their skis. We watched as these crazy people hiked down the side of the mountain with all their gear and started their decent down the mountain on skis! We couldn’t believe it! I was a little nervous just standing at the top of the mountain behind a barrier much less skiing down. It looked so frightening! Also at the top of Mount Blanc was the opportunity to stand on a glass floor box over the Alps. Of course we had to do it! After catching what we were convinced was hypothermia, and taking more than enough pictures we hopped back on the gondola to return to ground level in hopes of feeling our toes and the rest of our bodies again.
All that looking at the Alps really worked up an appetite so we set off to the ski village to find a bite to eat. We ended up eating at this fun, family run burger joint that really hit the spot! Our tour also included a train ticket to a glacier, but the Malmö gals weren’t too stoked for that so we decided to check out the shops in the ski village and the Alpine Slide instead. The Alpine Slide was SO MUCH FUN! We got on what looked like a sled and rode it up the track (like a rollercoaster) to the top. Once at the top you controlled the speed of the sled. It was a BLAST… until I dropped my phone from the top and watched it bounce down the metal track into the snow. By some HUGE, GINORMOUS miracle I was able to grab it quickly on my way down. I thought it was a goner and I would never get it back, so I gladly accepted the completely shattered screen. For now, it is still alive and well so stay tuned and cross your fingers that it will keep working until we make it back to Texas. After the slide we had a little more time before we boarded the bus back to Geneva. We souvenir shopped a bit more in the village and warmed up with some hot chocolate while enjoying an unreal view of the Alps. It was an absolutely incredible day and one I will remember forever I’m sure!!
The next morning, we had a few hours before we had to head to the airport. Geneva is home to one of the four United Nation headquarters in the world. They give daily tours, so we decided to check it out! The tour was incredibly interesting and we learned a lot about the history of the UN and the work it continues to do today. For example we learned that although the UN in Geneva was the original headquarters, now most of what we see on TV happens at the UN in New York City. We got to go in a few of the rooms, too. It was really cool because there was a conference being held there that day and the whole place was bustling with energy! After the tour, we enjoyed walking around the beautiful grounds and of course taking more pictures.
We left the UN, or Palais Des Nations, as its called in French (did you know that people of Geneva and Western Switzerland speak French, but in the Capital of Switzerland, Zurich, and Eastern Switzerland they speak German?? Weird huh!) to grab our bags from the hotel and head to the airport. I couldn’t believe we were already on the go again! Any guesses where we were off to this time?? Guess you will just have to read my next post to find out :)