Thursday, September 17, 2009

14 July 2009: Geneva, Switzerland

The State Religion - Banking

3/5 of Switzerland is dominated by mountains, featured in many James Bond chase scene. Except for its Alpine playground, Switzerland also reminded me of the bank, watch, swiss knife and chocolate. A true multicultural nation, Switzerland is French in the West, German in the central and north and Italian in its southeast. The Swiss maintaining one of the world's most stringent ecological policies to protect its fragile Alpine environment.

Our drive from Italy to Switzerland via France was very long and scenic but also awfully expensive (both Italy and France charged for highway usage).
Along the way, we passed by many small towns by the highway, in the valley surrounded by the mountains. Some had castles built on the hill top as well.

We crossed many tunnels and the longest one was Mont Blanc in France, which was around 13km, with the tolls of around 35 Euro itself for the tunnel. But once we came out from the tunnel, we were greeted by the snow capped mountains that inevitably "wowed" us.

The crystal blue, Lac Leman in Geneva.
Our campsite was just beside of the lake, so we could jump in the cold water early in the morning or late at night, and swam together with the ducks!
(We had been warned of the duck fleas though. :)

Multinational organizations including Red Cross and United Nations continue to lend Geneva an international feel.
It's true that one can find any kind of food in Geneva, but may need a banker's salary to foot the bill.

The Jet d'Eau, the world's highest fountain, spews a spectacular 7-ton plume of water 140m into the air.

The floral clock which pays homage to Geneva's watch industry.
It was said to be the most hazardous attraction here: The clock had to be cut back almost 1m because tourists, intent on taking the perfect photo, continually backed into oncoming traffic. ;)

Geneva began as a fortified city on a hill and the labyrinthine cobbled streets of historic vielle ville and the quiet squares around Cathedrale de St-Pierre are still the heart of the urban landscape.

During lunch time, the office staff, some looked like bankers, played the giant chess in Parc des Bastions.

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