I am not sure if this is a local custom or does it just happen? It seems that many swans nest around the shore of Lake Geneva, and it does appear as if their are manmade constructions for them to build homes in or near.
I was so surprised to see so many pairs of swans and even managed to photgraph at least one pair getting ready to sit on an egg.
Water, natural gas and electrical energy are provided to the municipalities of the Canton of Geneva by the state-owned Services Industrials de Genève (or SIG). Most of the drinkable water is extracted from the Geneva the remaining the drinking water is provided by groundwater originally formed by infiltration from the Arve River.
This country sets the global standards around.... so anything out of place would look out of place!
It is very clean, so keep it that way; in fact you will automatically feel inspired to do so.
Geneva is so pretty that you cannot possibly soil it !
In Geneva some buildings are empty and not rented since a long time. So some people with low financial ressoures (but not always) choose to squat these accomodations in the meantime of their renovations or destructions especially with accomodation crisis. This alternative accomodation could be attractive in terms of money as no rent is paid but less attractive in terms of comfort as your need to apply a plan B for heating, hot water, electricity, safety...
For owner it could be a nightmare to evict the undesirable tenants without the help of the police... Hot tension in prospect. So some owner choose to authorize some alternative tenants to occupy their empty accomodation via a deal of trust in exchange of a small rent until the reconversion. Like this other undesirable squatters can't come and stay illegally.
These alternative places offer also none official/underground bars with very cheap beers, alternative music, arts and culture.
The Rhino with the red tusk (see photo) is one of the most famous squat in Geneva (Place Claparède).
I always have troubles with greeting people when I go to a new country and I've more than once gotten in to a situation where I've been unsure and making a fool of myself . Anyway, in Switzerland you greet by leaning forward and kiss the person once on the left cheek (right from your side), once on the right and then once again on the left. But the Swiss people are kind of liberal so I don't really think that someone would be offended if you chake hands instead.
Calvin College was inaugurated by Calvin in June 1559. Ten hours a day, six days a week Calvin trained preachers how to preach and for the faithful to understand them! It rapidly acquired a solid reputation, spreading its influence far beyond Geneva's borders.For many years the college was the only school building in Geneva - today it is devoted to secondary education.
People crowded into this little chapel in the 16th century, in the heart of the city near St Pierre Cathedral. Many peeople came here to pray and to follow the teachings of the great names of the Reformation - Calvin and Theodore de Beze. Here John Knox (exiled from Scotland under the regime of Mary Tudor) exercised his influence on the English speaking community. Here also Miles Coverdale directed the preparation of the first bible in English , known as the 'Geneva Bible'.P
I took this funny picture from my table at Spaghetty Factory restaurant.Here you can see some very hungry sparrows,they are waiting on a tree till they see that people are going from a table,then they com very fast to eat all crumbs in all emty tables!.In my country they aren't so hungry!!. :-)
In Geneva and in Switzerland in general, restaurants only serve food at certain hours and not all day like in many other countries. Lunch for example is only served from 11h30 to 14h00 and dinner from 18h30 to 22h00. If you miss these times, then you always have the option of going to a bakery at least until it closes at 18h30...
Switzerland is a very odd country in that there are 3 official languages, French, Swiss-German! and Italian, You can generally guess which region speak which by seeing which country is its nearest neighbour. Geneva speaks French.
The eating habits are as varied in Geneva as is its poulation. Nothing really that does not exist in this city and canton. But it also has its traditional cusine, not to forget that it is the third wine producing canton in Switzerland.
FRUIT AND VEGGIES: Geneva is considered a Swiss urban canton, but its greenhouses cover the most important tomato growing plantation in this country.
The CARDONS are a vegetable that only grows in this region (off-season availalable canned).
Late-September, look for Chasselas grapes: small, very sweet when yellow, you best buy them in the vineyards (Satigny, Dardagny etc).
MEAT AND FISH: Hunting is no longer permitted in this canton, but the hunting season from mid-September until December brings a large array of specialities on menus.
In winter, the LONGEOLE, a delicious pork saucisson with pistachio and fennel is made by local butchers, which is best served with potato gratin.
The lake fish may not always be in ample supply, but be it imported or local, the Fillets of Perche are definitely worth a try. Some bistrots serve it on Fridays as Plat de Jour.
In summer, you may like a Steak Tartare made with raw and minced prime beef.
MILK AND CHEESE: Check my contribution on cheese fondue. If you miss the occasion, buy a ready-made Gerber Fondue from the supermarket before going back home. I personally think that it's one of the best.
And enjoy Swiss yoghurts (Migros, Emmi or Toni are great).
WINE: Every year in May, some 50 Geneva wine growers have an open (Satur)Day with free tasting. Geneva is famous for both its whites (Perlan, Chasselas, Riesling etc.) and reds (Gamay, Pinot Noir etc.). My favourite region is Dardagny, take the train to La Plaine and walk uphill (don't fall on the way back).
BEER: Switzerland has only few breweries, my favourite is Feldschloesschen Hopfenperl draft.
SOFT DRINKS: Rivella and Sinalco are popular allover Switzerland, fruit juice often too expensive in restaurants. Passugger and Valser are sparkling mineral waters from the mountains.
This is one of the two fireworks’ shows that take place between the end of July and the 10th of August (that’s approximately). Though the Confederation Day falls on August, 1, the big fireworks’ show to celebrate the day takes place the following Saturday.
As for the Geneva’s day fireworks, taking place in the same time period, real masters of the fireworks’ art (for it’s nothing short of a real art here, in Geneva) are invited, and locals of the same caliber perform.
In reality, it’s nothing short of the theatre. Light and music for more than an hour provide for great entertainment. A topic is usually selected. On one Confederation Day (can’t remember when I’ve seen it…), for example, the theme for at least part of the fireworks’ show has been… the first ‘Harry Potter’ film, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. There was even the Sorting Hat’s song.
The only drawback to the show is the huge number of people watching. But great shows always attract great crowds, right?? This led me to understand that buying tickets for specially reserved places is definitely a good idea. I’ve bought them several times, and do not complain! Hey! You’ll have ho heads in front of you interfering with the fireworks’ during the show.
Switzerland has four National Languages, French, German, Italian and their own native tongue called Raetoroman (thanks
tini58de for the info), but was told to not attempt to try and speak it. I found it very interesting that these languages were in very specific regions. For example, when I was sitting having lunch in Montreux, everyone spoke French, and I didn’t hear any German. Then from there I caught a train to Gstaad, about an hour away up in the Alps, and everyone spoke German. I even met some people who lived there, that knew English better than French. Hmmmm… interesting…
Once in Switzerland, I found out that they have some of the similar laws on marijuana, as Amsterdam, with some variations. And even the laws vary between Geneva and the rest of Swiss. While in Geneva I discovered this, and went to find a “coffee shop” on my last day there. Once I found the shop that sold plants, I later discovered that the “coffee shops” are still illegal in Geneva, until 2004 (I believe). In Geneva, they are allowed to sell plants, lighting, other accessories but not the final product (ie buds and hash). This is however different in other parts of Swiss, such as Bern. Where there are “coffee shops” but with stricter laws attached. For instance, they close at 5pm sharp. I did not go into any of these coffee shops, so I don’t know on other laws associated with, but once there, I am sure you can find your way around.
The Flower Watch (looking different every year) – one of the main tourist attractions (it reminds tourists about the fact that Geneva is the birthplace of the Swiss clock and watch making). clock's face is made of carefully landscaped beds of flowers, and it keeps perfect time!