Geneva Getaway

Geneva: 3-5 August, 2007 

Since the shortlived "heatwave" in April (ie temperatures in the high 20s) this year's summer in Berlin has been ellusive, making way for Autumn before we had a chance to develop a natural bronze glow.  Assuming that weather conditions in the Swiss Alps would be even more unpredictable, we stuffed as much wet weather gear into our small daypacks as possible, which in the end remained at the bottom of our packs thanks to a weekend of clear blue skies.   

Crossing the Great St Bernard Hill


What we saw  

As she guided us into a crowded bus filled with Abayah-clad ladies and their shopping, Majella explained that our visit coincided with the annual temporary migration of Middle Eastern private banking clients coming to Geneva to "visit their money". 

During this time, Fete de Geneve occupies the esplanade beside Lake Geneva - a celebration of bad pop music, head spinning rides, greasy fast food and stalls selling trinkets that one would rather not inherit.  The festival seems incongruous against the backdrop of Geneva´s tranquil deep blue lake and the historic city centre, however judging from the crowd, the visiting Arabs (ie the target market) appeared to be having a ball.  
 

Dance-off on a spinning dance floor - we resisted the temptation to join in

 

Lake Geneva in the background -
don´t be confused by what is printed on Daniel´s t-shirt

  

8:30pm in front of the supposedly famous garden clock, before
Majella lowered her arm to mimic the hour hand

  

Member of the family of swans Majella keeps track of when she is not in some exotic developing country working for the United Nations

  

What we ate

Without a doubt the culinary highlight of our weekend was the pesticide-free, grain fed free-range chicken at Chez Ma Cousine in the old town.  When we arrived the cosy restaurant was buzzing with activity and appeared completely full, but we were whizzed through to our table at the rear - Majella is a regular.  The house dish is half a roast chicken with potatoes and green salad (which surpasses the Portugese version according to Daniel) and there is a menu of approximately four salad dishes, two with chicken, two with cheese.  I eventually opted for the misnomer Indian curry chicken salad, which I wolfed down despite being usually averse to canned pineapple, mayonaise and dessicated coconut.  

As if to test the theory that the starving will eat anything, the menu of the day at the mountain chalet at St Bernard comprised the following three course meal: a salad of canned corn, green beans and beetroot dressed with balsamic vinegar, pork sausage medallion skewers smothered in a "curry" sauce lying on a bed of par-boiled crunchy rice with frozen spinach on the side, and a sickly sweet berry mousse tart which I ate, no longer able to repress my hunger.

Rosti, a Swiss national dish (glorified hashbrown decked with melted cheese and a sunny-side egg on top) - not recommended before energetic activities such as hiking

 

Where we hiked

Getting to the mountains is hassle-free due to the efficient network of trains and buses.  This efficiency is by no means cheap, and although Majella warned us that train tickets in Switzerland are expensive, we still got a rude shock and at the station ticket counter.  

The weather was perfect, the company was great, and because we had only started out after a leisurely lunch, we hardly saw anyone on the St Bernard Crossing trail.  Thanks to Etienne and Majella for organising a lovely weekend in the Alps!

 

Hard to get lost here, unless you don´t know where you´re going 

 

 St Bernard Country

 

  St Bernard Country

 

Near the border between Italy and Switzerland

 

Our only unobstructed view of the famous St Bernards