stroll along the north bank of...
stroll along the north bank of Le Rhone to witness the spectacular view of Geneva and its mountainous backdrop. This is definitely a relaxing ground after a hard day's work. Along the way, I saw nursery teachers pulling a rope and hook the kids to it making sure they're in line, and old couples taking their slow but easy walks as if there won't be many more left for them. Almost frequently joggers and roller skaters would take my attention away from the scenery and I realize many a times they were appreciating the picturesque view as well. Besides nature, it can be interesting to watch the swans 'make love' on the waters and listen to the sea gulls proclaiming this is where they want to be.
Geneva's landmark is the 140m tall Jet d'Eau, a towering spray of water over the lake clearly visible from here. However I was there at the wrong time since it is a landmark only in summer.
The south bank is accessible via Pont du Mont-Blanc. Jardin Anglais is located on the left waterfront and it's where the famous 5m wide floral clock sits on an incline. However the floral decoration looked pathetic during my visit, perhaps again it is only a real masterpiece in summer.
The Lower Town, which lies below the uphill Old Town is the city's main business and shopping quarter. Tag Heur and Rolex are all over the place I just never have to look at my wrist to check time. Before heading up, I decided to have a cup of nice hot coffee in a café along Rotisserie Madeleine and from inside, scrutinized the façade of the majestic St Peter's Cathedral, which was built in a mixture of Romanesque and flamboyant Gothic styles. Don't forget to ascend the north tower to get a wonderful view of Geneva. Near dusk, weak sunlight beams would deflect on chimney tops which intermittently eject smoke. While it's not quite dinnertime yet many bar restaurants along the steeply sloping shop-lined streets were already packed with parties of people. The vicinity is where the heart of the Old Town is, made up of a lively square called Place du Bourg-de-Four.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum displays educational artifacts (including exhibitions, audio visual display and short films) about the organization's history and humanitarian relief. Henry Dunant, savior of the wounded in 1859's Battle of Solferino, led the proposal of formulating international principle that stress the importance of preserving human life and encourage societies to relief the wounded. The concept of everyone being responsible to everyone for everything was more significant than ever before since then. During the period of the two World Wars and after most of yesterdays' natural calamities, many kind souls have dedicated themselves to be part of the organization to provide social assistance and heal the unfortunate.
Close by, the Palais des Nations is home of the European headquarters of the United Nations. Guided tours around the compound are conducted almost daily but I was just so unlucky there were none during my visit because some big shots were in house. Between here and the lake is the Jardin Botanique where a wide variety of tropical and Mediterranean plants are grown in greenhouses.
On the way to Lausanne, I stopped by the lakeside town Nyon. Although there are not many attractions in this little town, just like any other towns in Switzerland there are wonderful things to see. Place Du Marche is a marketplace where street vendors and entertainers make their living. I vividly recall myself absorbing fully the rich voice of an old French man, which blends perfectly with the lovely folk tune from his music box. Other than observing what's happening on the streets, be sure to learn that the arcaded houses in some parts of the town, especially along Place Du Marche, are characteristically Bernese style. The main attraction is the underground Roman Museum which displays chunks of mosaic, ancient coins and other treasures discovered from early excavations.
While Paris contains Seine, London the Thames and Budapest the Danube, Geneva is blessed with something more - the majestic Alps forming a dramatic backdrop across Lac Leman. As the train was heading towards Lausanne, I felt the spectacular lake scenery outside would most likely make my 6 days in Switzerland brilliant. My feelings did not betray me...