There are cities that seem unreachable, far beyond limits. But there are also those places that spark a light in your eyes whenever you enter into their “soul”.
From all those cities that seemed far beyond my reach, Geneva was the most alluring one. When hearing stories about Geneva and how people spent a part of their lives in the very hub of international organizations and sparkles of life, it all seemed unbelievable to me. I felt as though one day I would bring myself into this illusion once I reached the city beyond limits. And one sweet day it all came true when I saw Geneva at the age of twenty-five.
On New Year’s Eve we reached Geneva by car. We had a long trip coming from Paris. Well yes, you might think after the shining Paris nothing can compare. But for me, it was the complete opposite. Of course, Paris is Paris with its incomparable lights, but what I felt in Geneva was far beyond imagination. Spending one hour delighting the crystal clear Lac Lemán (Lake Geneva) was something like a prelude, leaving us to wonder what lay behind or beyond this glamorous city. We continued our way to a small town close to Lausanne where we were going to celebrate the New Year. The months following our short visit to Geneva, I relived impressions that were left by the feminine grace of Geneva.
It was August. Eight months after the short glance at the Lake Geneva I decided to give myself a special gift for my birthday. I bought an airline ticket and flew to Geneva from Amsterdam. On a late August night, I arrived in the Rue de Berne, the street of my Hotel in Geneva. Filled with excitement to spend my birthday in one of the World’s most sparkling cities, I delayed my zeal until the morning. It was going to be a new day in a new city; or perhaps a new life… I thought to myself… You never know…
So, the next day came, August 17… I woke up with a smile on my face filled with a lust to fuel my dreams. The first thing that I had in mind was to see the symbol of Geneva - the gorgeous Jet d’Eau - one of the tallest fountains in the world and a very important site of interest in Geneva. In line with its landmark significance, Jet d’Eau is a symbol of strength, vitality, and ambition of Geneva and Switzerland as a whole.
As a true voyager, I wanted to see everything. Even the most hidden corners and not to leave anything unseen… A small traveler’s guide or a brochure was there to help me with information. Hence, I was armed with notes and info on where to go and what to see in Geneva.
“A Traveller without observation is a bird without wings”, - Moslih Eddin Saadi
So, I didn’t want to find myself flying without wings…
I stood for a while to watch the wondrous play of the water strings, then I glanced towards the Lake Geneva and felt how the crystal azure of the lake left me dreaming and escaping from reality. In this dreamlike state, I recalled Marty Rubin’s words: “Travel doesn’t become adventure, until you leave yourself behind”.
I felt genuinely swayed away from reality, but a gentle summer breeze returned me back to reality and reminded me why I was there in Geneva. As a part of a birthday gift, the charming boat standing in front invited me to go on board. I joined a boat tour called “Mermaid Tour” that was truly coming from the melody of my heart. The water cruise lasted around one hour and made a circle cruise in the surroundings of Lac Lemán.
The trip involved some major sights of Geneva, including a distant look at the United Nation’s Organisation’s office. During the ride, we reached the other side of the lake and had an admiring look at the Mermaid’s Statue floating in the water. The scene around the statue was joyful: people were swimming around and taking a sunbath. It looked as if the Mermaid was part of their feast. It all made me want to join them, but I was on a boat tour and jumping from the boat would be an extraordinary act. But why not? I asked myself. You have to risk in order to drink Champagne (Russian saying). But it was too late…We were already on the shores of the lake and far from the Siren feast. I went out of the boat and it took me some time to get out of allure…
The monument on the other side of the street, just opposite the lake caught my eye and I started searching it in the traveller´s guide which said: Brunswick Monument is a protected historical monument and Neo-Gothic mausoleum facing the lake.
I crossed the street to observe it from a closer view; “photo recorded” the monument on my camera and went on towards the bridge connecting one piece of the luring Geneva to the other one, more glamorous and rich. So where was the bridge leading to and where did I go, you might want to know… The elegant Old Town of Geneva…
But before getting into the steppe alleys of the Old Town, there are plenty of luxurious shops if you are keen on shopping. Of all the variety of shops on this street, I spotted a Chocolate store and went in to buy a box of exquisite Swiss chocolates. On the same street, I found an Armenian jewelry shop- Avakian, but left it for the future when I get rich) At first, I was gently surprised. But then I thought to myself “why not? Armenians are spread all over the world”. And later on, a watch store.
When talking about Geneva, it is unforgivable to oversee its stake in fine watchmaking. I wanted to take back with me a symbol of Switzerland and particularly Geneva, as the city itself is well known for making fine watches and clocks. At the very start of Swiss watchmaking, Geneva has been a hub for the watchmaking industry: the major part of watch production spots were centered in Geneva and it has been a leading employment sector also for the neighboring Cantons.
I stopped at one of the many watch stores, and to make another birthday present, I purchased an elegant watch made in Geneva. A tangible gift followed by intangible delight: reaching the natural clock, a botanical masterpiece - The Flower Clock was something out of ordinary. The Clock is located near Jardin Anglais and contains around 6500 flowers and plants. In every season of the year, you will note differing decorations of the clock, as the floral arrangements change according to the season. The most surprising detail though was that the wonderful botanical masterpiece indeed shows the correct Swiss time. My enchantment by this natural masterpiece was so deep that I could not stop taking pictures from different angles.
As soon as I realized it was getting dark, I heard the sounds of music coming from the nearby Jardin Anglais (English Garden). I went inside and saw a powerful scene: couples of different ages were dancing passionate tango. This was a heartfelt scene like a movie, filled with romance and passion. I felt special of having the chance to watch that unforgettable show, but as might well I felt somehow upset to be alone on this special day and wished there was someone special next to me who would make my day complete, complete with a fleur of romance.
Eventually, not taking the last matter into account, I was truly lucky to spend a birthday in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Yes, I will not be afraid to call Geneva one of the prettiest and amazingly beautiful cities in the whole Globe. As the local Tourism Bureau loves to say, “Geneva is a city of thousand delights”.
Final note: when in Geneva, do not forget to taste the delicate Swiss chocolates. Even if you have tasted Swiss chocolate in other cities of Switzerland, please try it once again in Geneva and you will not regret.