Thursday night we took off for Switzerland.
We landed in Genève (Geneva) late at night, easily found our hostel (my first hostel experience!) got settled in, and finally went to bed around 2 AM.
Friday morning we woke up to a beautiful view of Lake Genève from our 5th floor hostel room. Although it was cloudy, we could see the snow covered peaks of the Alps rising behind the buildings.
After taking advantage of our free breakfast… and maybe going back to sleep for a couple hours…. We finally made our way down to the waters edge to explore. I think one of our favorite part of the trip was FREE TRANSPORTATION that Genève gives to visitors. Although the city makes up for it by charging outrageous amounts of money for everything else, it’s still nice to think that they thought of the tourists and decided to give us this “deal.”
Because the lake separates the city into two sections, public transportation includes boat rides across the lake. After taking our free ride, we found an outdoor café on the waters edge and sat down to have lunch. Although there aren’t a whole lot of traditional touristy things to do in Genève, the city is absolutely beautiful, and on a nice day we were perfectly content to just sit for a while and admire the mountains in the distance. After lunch we continued walking until we ran into a paddle boat company and decided to rent one out for a bit. I got my leg workout of the week in during that 30 minutes paddling around the lake!
Saturday morning we woke up early and took a bus to a small town in France called Annecy. Because Genève is right on the French border, the bus ride was less then an hour and we were back in France before noon. The one downside to Annecy was that it rained the. entire. time. However, like typical college kids we embraced the rain and decided to rent bikes to ride around the lake (Annecy also sits on a lake and mountains also rise up behind this city as well. Remind me again why I don’t just move to this part of the world?).
I think we rode our bikes into some private property and other places we probably shouldn’t have been riding our bikes but we had a blast so what can you do?
Sunday morning was bittersweet, as I spent my first Easter ever away from home. My friend Morgan and I woke up early and went to an Easter service we found in English. Although I still missed the comfort of being at my church back home, having a little taste of a real Easter was the perfect start to the day. After meeting up with the rest of our group, we all hopped on a bus and rode to the bottom of Mount Salève, rode a cable car up 1379 meters to see a spectacular view of Genève, the lake, and surrounding towns.
Our plan was to ride the cable car up and then hike back down. The man at the ticket booth gave us a path to follow and told us it would take about 1.5 hours to make it back to the bottom. We started out on the right path, but somehow got a little lost after about 30 minutes. Around lunchtime, we stopped in a grass clearing up on the mountain to enjoy the sun that had just come out. Enjoying apples, cookies, and our chocolate bunnies the hostel gave us for Easter up on that mountain with my friends was one of the more perfect moments I’ve had this semester.
Not quite sure where the path was, we agreed that as long as we were going down we would eventually make it to the bottom, right? Well… sort of. We DID make it to the bottom, only after four hours and after accidently hiking to France. Never in my life did I think I could say that I accidently hiked to a different country, but that’s exactly what happened. When we finally came out of the wooded mountain into civilization, we were in an extremely small, seemingly deserted town, except for the random food truck set up in the town square that didn’t seem to be serving anybody except the owner and his friend. They confirmed for us that yes, we were in fact in France, and kindly pointed us on the right path back to Switzerland.
To sum up this post into a couple short sentences… Switzerland (and France) was awesome. Everyone in Genève was very hospitable, we took some awesome day trips, and we saw some beautiful scenery. So long, Suisse!