Sorry about the lack of posts these last few weeks. It’s been a little busy around here. A couple of weeks ago I lost my cousin to cancer, which, as you can imagine, was challenging to say the least. But, you know, life is full of ups and downs, and yeah, it can be rough, but you just have to take things in your stride. On a more positive note, I’ve also managed to blag myself a new job, which I start on Monday. I’m really gonna miss my old place but onwards and upwards and all that jazz.
Between jobs, myself and Mr Man took a cheeky weekend trip to Switzerland to escape from reality. We rose super early last Saturday and jumped on a train to Gatwick airport. We flew Easy Jet to save some bucks, and had already checked in online and printed out boarding passes, so it was all pretty quick and smooth. After getting through security, we were both ravenous and needed some breakfast. Mr Man immediately caught sight of Jamie’s Bakery and insisted we check it out. Without a doubt, Jamie Oliver, is his favourite chef.
With our cabin bags in tow, we entered the small cafe. It had a nice, casual vibe to the place, music playing, slightly dim lights, with stools and high tables rather than the typical sofa chairs you tend to find high street coffee shops. The staff were a little distracted but perfectly polite.
I opted for a cheese croissant, it was fresh and buttery, filled with creamy cheese slices, toasted until just gooey, although, I could have used more cheese. Nevertheless, it was still very enjoyable, and I washed it down with some oj. Mr Man opted for frangipane and sour cherry tart and a latte. The tart was amazing! (I may or may not have eaten half of it…) A lovely buttery base, topped with a layer of jam and subtly sweetened almond frangipani, offset by a generous helping of sour cherries. it was topped with slivers of caramelised almonds and the cherries which had risen to the top were slightly blistered. Perfection. I’ll definitely be trying to recreate this at home! The latte was smooth and looked considerably richer than it tasted. Not the best I’ve ever tried but definitely gives competitors a run for their money. The only other thing was, I’d have liked a real plate and cutlery…
Bellies full, we headed on over to the gates to patiently wait to board.
We arrived in Geneva Airport around an hour and a half later and after making our way through passport control we stopped at the luggage hall to grab ourselves a couple of train tickets. There’s a machine which issues free tickets, which are valid for 80 minutes – giving you plenty of time to get to your hotel.
A couple of other pointers:
- Language – For those of you who don’t know. Switzerland has three main languages: French, German and Italian, reflective of the countries that surround it. Geneva happens to lie on the border of France and so, naturally French is the generally spoken around th city. Not everyone speaks English, and you certainly won’t find English menus everywhere so might be an idea to brush up your skills! I only did French from years 7 – 9 at school but it was enough to keep us going over the weekend. Although Mr Man was in said lessons, he barely remembered bonjour!
- Transportation – As a tourist in Geneva, you’re entitled to a free travel card. On arrival at the airport, as mentioned above, you can pick up a free ticket, valid for 80 minutes, which should be plenty of time to get you to your hotel. At check in, your receptionist should issue you with a free ticket lasting the duration of your stay. This is valid on the public buses, trams, trains and boats.
- City Maps – As usual, I downloaded a map of Geneva before we left using CityMaps 2Go, allowing me to access it offline. Mr Man has free international data which was pretty useful in checking train departure times and the likes. #HolidaySpam
- Money – This was my third / fourth visit to Switzerland. In the past, I’ve gone with family to visit family and I’m still always shocked at the prices! Switzerland is an expensive country and Geneva is an expensive city. Even a McD’s will cost you around a tenner. It’s probably best to take more money than you think you’ll need.
- Sundays – Mosy shops and restaurants are closed on Sundays. A bit like England 15 years ago. You can still find a few things open, but options are limited.
^ Maple walnut milk and white chocolate, creamy, light and lovely complimentary flavours. Yum. And double decker trains, why do we not have these in the UK?!
We checked in to our hotel, Lake Geneva Hotel, where we had booked a superior room, dumped our bags and freshened up. The ongoing orange theme reminded me of Easy Jet, probably not what they were going for!
^ what a glorious view!
We hopped on a train back to the centre of town. What a beautiful journey:
At this point, we were both starved. We crossed the bridge pretty much hopped into the first roadside cafe we saw for some food! We ordered a portion of raclette cheese and a pizza to share.
A perfectly gooey plate of quite pungent smelling cheese arrived. In fact, I’d compare it to feet. That said, getting past the off-putting aroma, it tasted pretty amazing, creamy, mild, ever so slightly sweet… Worked surprisingly well with the plain boiled potatoes, almost like a deconstructed jacket potato I guess. Wish I’d ordered a larger portion! The pizza was flavoursome but ultimately a little disappointing – a supermarket style base. That plus two drinks came in at just over £25, which is pretty pricey considering what it was.
After dinner, we took a long stroll and explored the old city. Here are some of the better pictures:
We stopped at a little place called Le Flore for dessert, a cute little cafe with a sign saying they did homemade icecream – I was sold. The waitress was pretty grumpy, and there were a few language barriers which just added to her bad mood. I ordered a mix of mocha, vanilla and chocolate ice cream and after sampling all three was convinced none of them were homemade. It just had a cheap icecream carton type flavour and consistency. And to make matters worse, it was topped in rubbish whippy cream. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of cream, just not those airy squirty bottle types with no substance.
Mr Man opted for a viennois coffee. Basically espresso topped with whipped cream. Decent coffee, again covered in the same cheap whipped cream. Overall, the pair of us were left pretty disappointed.
After that, we headed back to the new town, where most of the shops had closed for the weekend.
We sat by the lake for a while, taking in the stunning views.
^Look how clear the water is!
And that with that we headed back to the hotel for an early night.