My first thing to notice was the smoking. As in so many European places smoking concerns seem to have never arrived. Smoking is everywhere. Ash trays are everywhere, even on the beach. Smoking on bicycles, on motor bikes. Buts hurled from bikes as they hurtle across an intersection. Smoking is everywhere. Women smoke more than men, but young men too. Older men seem to be over it a little more. The youth and the women are totally addicted.
I had wondered about an announcement I heard as our plane took off from DXB. The cabin staff mentioned that the smoking ban extended to electronic smoking devices. What are electronic smoking devices? Well, they are everywhere in Geneva. I noticed a huge shop dedicated to electronic smoking. I did not manage a photo of that, must go hunting again when I am back in Geneva in a week or so. I saw these devices everywhere. I guess they were electronic smoking devices. If not then they are pretty amazing cigarette holders.
Push bikes, little motor bikes and bigger ones are as common as cigarettes - just a little more friendly. The bikes are parked everywhere and the users can be seen in hippy clothes to business suits. I did not see any of the elegant french women in their exquisite suits on bikes, that is about the only part of society I did not see riding thru the town.
These women are in the very expensive vehicles I saw all over town. Bentleys, Ferraris, Porches, many many 4 door porches… and some I can’t even recognise… Fisk… never heard of that but saw the name on an exclusive looking vehicle. Looked like a 2 door BMW but bigger and very swish and with 4 doors.
Water is a given all over town. You can’t move anywhere and not see the Jet d’eau. The massive fountain shooting 140m into the air as it has been doing for 150 years or so. Was initially a relief valve for a hydro plant. Now it is just pretty. All over town there are little taps pouring water into sinks and drains. Coming from Australia we want to keep turning them off, but they run all day, everywhere.
The old city is wonderful. Like all old cities, the streets are narrow and the hills are steep. Geneva's old city is full of shopping delights and fascinating tales at every turn.
And my final observation is horlogerie - the ancient and distinguished art of watch making, well timepieces actually. It is important to note that the definition of horology refers to it as an art.
We sell watches, very good watches, in our jewellers because very good watches are decorative more than just time keeping. But in Geneva watch selling is an art and the watches are beautiful.
About a year ago I stopped wearing a watch. Heck I am in IT why do I need a watch, I am surrounded by accurate time all the time. I have beautiful watches, many of them. Wandering around Geneva and gazing in the windows of the horologiers (is that even a word) I decided I must break out my beautiful watches again and wear them with delight. And I will!.
Geneva is an elegant town.
Geneva is more Paris than Paris - and I love Paris.
I can understand if people find it a bit cold and calculating, But I found Geneva beautiful to walk about, easy to navigate and a delight to be a part of.
Oooops - I missed chocolate. I missed eating it too. Managed to avoid - to choose not to. Perhaps soon. But yes chocolate is everywhere.