Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Where are all the people? That's my most lasting impression of Geneva. Sure the city is beautiful, situated on the shores of Lake Geneva and surrounded by extraordinarily expensive cottages. However, I was expecting a more vibrant city on a Saturday morning.

Perhaps the lull is a side effect of the recession. During our trip to Switzerland, we learned that tourism in the country is down over 10% this summer. Despite the diminished number of visitors, prices remain extremely high for hotels, for food, for everything. Apparently the Swiss Commerce agency has even invested in cost consultants. I can imagine the advice, "lower your prices."

And who really needs a $1,000 watch or a pocket knife with a laser pointer, jump drive, and fish de-boner (this from the Swiss Army cyber warfare and fishing department).

The best way, and surprisingly most affordable, way to see Gevena is by boat. The short trip begins with an up close and soggy view of the city's most impressive landmark, le jet d'eau. This is the world's tallest water fountain, reaching heights in excess of 300 ft. It serves as the harbor of Geneva's colossus.

The city is most well known as a meeting place for diplomats. From the boat, many mansions in which ex-presidents and foreign dignitaries have stayed while negotiating critical treaties. The United Nations' European home is also visible from the water. The structure is, however, much less architecturally significant than it's US counterpart.

View more photos of Geneva on Flickr.
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This work by Ken Maschke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.