We left Calgary as scheduled at 12:30 but after a wait on the tarmac, we did not getting into Montreal’s airport until almost 7 pm. We were to start boarding for Geneva at 8:05 so we headed to the departure gate and walked, and walked and walked.
I was starting to regret taking my backpack luggage instead of a wheeled one. The weight of the pack and the almost half an hour walk was making me break into a sweat. We had to scan our boarding passes to enter the international departures area. I don’t recall doing that before. When we finally got to our boarding area, we found the flight was delayed by 30 minutes. We backtracked to the closest spot offering food and wine.
We boarded and I told the attendants I did not want dinner but yes, I will have a glass a champagne. I took my sleeping pill and settled down to sleep.
I woke up with 45 minutes left before we landed. Just enough time for a bit of breakfast which consisted of a large plate of fruit, croissant and a bowl of meusili that was too gluey for me.
We landed 40 minutes later than scheduled. Getting through passport control took over 30 minutes as only half the gates were open. We found a taxi. The driver argued with me that there was no hotel called The Hamlet and we were staying at an air bnb type place. When we arrived, the entrance did not look like a hotel.
But The Hamlet is on the call button and we rang and Francesco let us in. As it was too early to check in, we left our bags and went for lunch. We’re located in the historic centre and near the historic city centre square of Place du Bourg-de-Four. The sun was shining so we sat outside, tried our first Swiss wine and some local perch as recommended to us by one of Scott’s associates who had lived in Switzerland. The fish are small and were delicately flavoured with lemon and butter. Very tasty and went well with the unoaked Swiss Chardonnay.
I booked a guide to give us an introduction to Geneva or Genève as it’s called here. We hear almost everyone speaking French and despite a few lapses into Italian, I’m managing to recall enough French to order lunch.
Maria, who originated from Poland, but has lived here for 30 years, walked us around the historic area and we noted places we will return to for a lengthier visit.
Maria described how Geneva’s Protestant history has influenced the creation of the city as an enclave surrounded by Catholic France.
The Reformation wall depicts John Calvin and John Knox among other founders of the Protestant movement who worked or lived in Geneva. Today the wall sits in a large park where people were exercising and enjoying the sunshine.
From there, Maria, showed us how to use the bus and we went across the Rhone River up to the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, which was formerly the location of the League of Nations and occupies a lot of land.
The headquarters of the Red Cross are also nearby and museums are located on the UN lands including the Musée Ariana, which is a glass and ceramics museum.
We bussed back down to Lake Geneva or Lac Léman as it is called here. We went past the expensive hotels fronting the lake and Maria explained the best bus routes for us to us to avoid the hilly climb to our apartment. She also pointed out some other places, like the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire. I forgot to take photos.
It took a while to get into our room because Francesco had left (although it was 5:50 and he was supposed to be there until 6). He sent me instructions via WhatsApp. To make a long story short, we finally found the keys to our apartment where our bags were waiting for us. We booked a one bedroom but we are in a two bedroom. Too much space for just the two of us.
Dinner at Brasserie Lipp, an offshoot from the Paris restaurant.
The dessert eating is going to have to be reined in but I just couldn’t resist a creme brûlée and Scott wanted the profiteroles.
According to Google maps the restaurant is a 9 minute walk from our apartment but it took us 25 minutes especially because it is in a multilevel shopping mall with an obscurely located door. And it took us almost equally long to return to our apartment since it was almost all uphill. Our feet and hips were starting to ache from all the walking and standing.