There’s another town in that valley named Gimmelwald which was supposed to be nice for a day trip; hikes, nice views, etc, etc. Unfortunately the weather was cloudy and threatening rain, so I scrapped those plans and decided to head straight for Geneva.
The trip to Geneva was very uneventful. I checked into a hostel within close walking distance of the train station and dropped my things off. It was the smallest three-share dorm in the world. It might have even been smaller than my freshman year dorm at Michigan, which was the smallest space I’ve ever lived in. And I shared that room with only one other person. On top of being small, this room in Geneva was also arranged a little funny. It was your average rectangular shape, except the area closest to the door contained a sink on one side and lockers on the other. There was a three-quarters wall dividing that sink area from the rest of the room, but the way the door opened — putting you right at the sink — you would have to close the door to be able to walk around the dividing wall. I attempted to enter the room with my packs on and found that I couldn’t close the door while standing in the sink area without twisting and twirling in place a few times. I felt like I was in a video game and some kid was controlling me while upbeat music played in the background.
After dropping my stuff off I decided to check out the Red Cross Museum. I was only in town for one night and it was definitely one sight I didn’t want to miss. All guests of any hotel or hostel in Geneva enjoy free public transportation anywhere in the city. It’s an amazing deal that really blew me away. I took a tram to the UN building and from there it was a short walk to the museum.
The area around the UN campus had been designated a park and I found a Gandhi statue near the sidewalk. I stopped and took a picture, making a note to send it to my father. He collects pictures of statues of Gandhi. I sent him the one from Wellington too.
The Red Cross Museum was fascinating. In fact it almost went too far in chronicling the history and involvement of the Red Cross all over the world. They featured a great temporary exhibit about border fences and the walls we erect to seperate people from each other. The pictures and descriptions featured places like Northern Ireland, Morocco, Israel and Mexico. That special exhibit alone was worth the entry price.
I walked back to the city and strolled along the lake, taking pictures of the Geneva skyline at night.
I took the above picture from the Bains de Paquis, a stone jetty that extended out onto the lake, home to several indoor baths and outdoor swimming areas, as well as cafes and restaurants. It seemed like a great place — and a popular one — to be during the summer months. I continued walking into the city and started looking for a place to eat. Many of the shops were closed since it was a Sunday, so I had problems finding anything that looked good. I decided to only wander that night in the old town area, near the hostel, and reserve the rest of the city for the next day. I finally found a bakery counter in the undergroud shopping complex beneath the train station. I bought an overpriced and under-quality sandwich and some kind of pastry. I had a quite dinner, watched a little TV in the common room and then went to bed.