by Andrew Stein
A perfect storm of small miscalculations leads to a wonderful twenty-four hours in Geneva. Our layover, if you can call it that, is just long enough to be awkward, the weather is to include thunderstorms and heavy rain, and Geneva may be one of the most expensive cities in all of Europe. However, having said all that, luck is on our side. A friend of Gabe’s friend lives in Geneva and is willing to host us for the evening. She and her family live in a beautifully refurbished farm house just outside the city center. As Gabe and I are nearing the house, we are not clear as to where we are heading and especially when we leave what looks like the main residential areas of Geneva, but eventually we get to the driveway of a farm and just hope that we are in the right place. The exterior of the house, although clearly well kept still resembles the humble farm house from times past, but the interior of the house is fabulously modern, thoughtfully decorated, and very comfortable.
Immediately after arriving, we enjoy a nice dinner outside in the backyard. (Maybe the heavy rain forecast was incorrect.) We get to know the family better, taste some delicious swiss chocolate, and eventually hear what seems like a very powerful storm from the comforts of our beds. The next morning, we wake up to clear skies, an espresso, orange juice, and cereal. Gabe and I make sure to wake early in order to say goodbye and thank you one more time before our host leaves for work. After breakfast, we spend the rest of the morning walking around the farm and the nearby area. We find sports fields to complement the wheat fields, and fancy cars to complement the sheep. Thanks to Fiona, our wonderful host, our stay in Geneva will now be another highlight of our adventure around Europe.
We leave the house a little before noon and walk into Geneva’s old town. Upon strolling through a park on the south side of the old town, we find almost life size chess boards and distract ourselves playing games for several hours. As it is Friday afternoon, we find many others, including business men in suits and mothers and fathers with their children enjoying an afternoon playing chess in the park. We eventually continue on through the old town and find Geneva’s symbolic and beautiful lake. Because we are not yet interested in purchasing a swiss watch or opening a new bank account, after finding the lake, we make our way back to the train station and then to the airport. Although short, Geneva is very memorable.