29.11.10

Genève (nov. 19-22)

Welcome to Geneva, where everything is lovely and active but you will not eat a semi-decent meal for less than 15 francs. and mind you, swiss francs are the same value as dollars.

i’m going to write this entry in a more thematic, rather than chronological way, because it seems to be a little more interesting that way. besides, why do you care that I did something on Saturday instead of Monday, or vice versa? exactly, it doesn’t matter… that much. (ps: click on the pictures to see them bigger... though some don't work right, sorry. i didn't make that feature.)

museums: I visited five museums during my stay.

1. le musée d’art et d’histoire (museum of art and history). this was a typical sculpture, paintings, and archeology museum, much like le musée des beaux-arts in lyon.

2. le musée ariana d’art en verre et céramique (glass, china, and pottery museum). so much kitcheware. i especially enjoyed learning about how this stuff is made to get different colors and such when the product is fired. also, there was an interesting back-and-forth trade in styles between china/asia and europe.

3. le musée de la Reformation. biggest thing i learned: always get the audio guide. well, not really. this museum was really cool because it was down to earth and had the most interesting exhibits i’ve seen in a museum. there were little treasures (easter eggs, i guess) that you could find during the visit. they brought jean calvin and martin luther to life by having voice actors saying stuff on recordings to tell their stories. the basement was interesting too as it had a whole thing about the protestant movements since the 19th century!

4. la maison tavel, musée d’histoire de genève et la vie quotidienne genevoise. this museum (if you want to call it that) had a bunch of exhibits of salvaged architectural pieces from geneva. there were big wooden doors that were intricately carved, furniture pieces, and wallpaper (for which geneva was famous at one point). the very coolest thing was a miniature model of the whole city that was up in the attic. this thing was huge and lovely, and so intricate. one man worked for hours on this thing. unfortunately i don’t have a picture because they were extremely persistent about no photos.

5. le musée d’histoire de sciences (history of science). this is the place for steampunk hipsters as well as science nerds. all these gadgets designed and created by great minds in the 18th and 19th centuries are super cool. there was also a large section dedicated to explaining how dams make most of the electricity for geneva. i, unlike steampunk hipsters, actually appreciate these scientific developments beyond “brass is the coolest metal” and “i like gears, they’re awesome”. it was impressive how many gadgets they had for measuring the weather and its effects.

other sights:

the UN complex is basically a “sculpture” of a broken chair in front of the avenue of nations which is lined with flags. there were so many asian tourists that it was hard to get decent pictures, but i eventually succeeded!

the cathédrale st. pierre was lovely. i believe it was first built around 1400 something (hence the medieval ambiance it’s got going). it was a seedbed for the Reformation.

swiss stuff: clocks are a big deal in switzerland, but did you know that Huguenots that fled from France brought some of the know-how with them? they have a cool attraction which is a garden and a working clock at the same time. they change what flowers it has by the season (so it seems) because i saw pictures of it when it had numbers and not just a cool design.

i had to get some chocolate, of course. i would go back to geneva and buy a kg of the lavender chocolate i had, and it would last me at least a year (ideally). it was so good. i ate a piece and was good. i didn’t feel like i need some more or anything. plus it was pretty.

well it's not swiss, but it's christmas-y... we grabbed starbucks so i could have an egg nog latte :)

up next: paris with natalie!!

homesickness means you miss the small things you took for granted, like peanut butter.

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