Posts Tagged ‘Geneva’

Geneva — Lausanne and Morges

September 16, 2012

Tuesday, 11 September, 2012

When the ITU meetings broke for lunch, two or three of us went to the botanical garden. Denis invited me to take a picture of a lizard.

Later, from the lakeshore, a clear view of Mt Saleve. The Grande Gorge, up which we hiked, begins just to the left of the two flags, and angles up and left.

Fairly windy on the lake.

I suggested the Awash Ethiopian restaurant for dinner, with half a dozen colleagues. A good evening.

Thursday, 13 September

I wandered past the Novotel on my way back to the hotel, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a jet aircraft, parked in the middle of the street. I think it had to do with filming a commercial for Novotel.

Next door, a Korean barbeque restaurant. I phoned Albert, who thought it sounded like a good idea and joined me for dinner.

Friday, 14 September

We had reserved Friday for possible use in meetings, but concluded our business Thursday. I looked into re-booking my Saturday flight, but the minimum cost was $4k. Maybe I’ll stay here Friday.

I went to Lausanne with my friend Jie Hyun. A pretty day, views of the Alps across the lake.

We sat in the cathedral for a few minutes, enjoying the sound of organ practice.

From the town, we agreed to walk down to the lakeshore to see what might be interesting. On the way, we detoured through Lausanne’s botanical garden, where Jie Hyun proved a quick learner at spotting small animals, in this case on a tomato in the allotment garden. The pristine condition of the tomato seems like good evidence that the beetles are carnivores!

It was a nice day, warm in the sun, cool in the shade, and we walked and talked, and after a while, decided to just keep walking to Morges, which is the next town that has a train station. We’ll catch a train there instead of going back to Lausanne station.

This is at St Sulpice, about halfway between.

The morning had been a bit hazy, but the day cleared up, to show some real Alps, including Mont Blanc.

We said our good-byes at the Geneva train station. Jie Hyun is hiking Mt Saleve tomorrow with some of the other colleagues, and good for all of them.

After a nap, I wandered down to the lake, where the view had cleared up even more.


Mont Saleve above the town. At the top of the cliff, the head of the cable car (telepherique). Just to our left, a bare patch. You can’t tell from the photo, but when we were there, we saw that it was an area of green canvas at the edge of the cliff. If you’re brave, you take a running start and jump off.

Well, if you want to do that more than once, it’s a good idea to have wings. The two dots in the photo are hang gliders.

I caught the tram to Carouge, wandered for a while, found a place for dinner. Back in the city, I stopped for a final photo of the jet d’eau, then caught the next tram back to the hotel.

Geneva — Mont Saleve

September 10, 2012

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Shan and I met at 8, took the #8 bus to Veyrier-Douane. As usual, the border crossing into France was unattended, but we brought our passports anyway, just in case. We walked west past the golf course, and turned uphill to the Grande Gorge trail. The trail runs mostly through forest, and is steep enough that it sometimes helps to be able to grab onto a rock or tree with the hands. The photo below shows a clear view of the remaining cliff from a point maybe 75% of the way up.

According to the topo map, the bus stop is around 430m above sea level, and the top of the grande gorge trail is at 1250m. We descended from there to the top of the Telepherique (cable car), which is 150m lower, where we found water refills and munchies. Popular place; many people here by cable car, some here even by road: car or bicycle, and some of us who did it the hard way.

The view from the top of the Telepherique. Beyond the jet d’eau, the UN complex, and well to the left from the UN, the ITU buildings, where we will be working this week.

We had thought to go across the crest of the mountain and around on the backside to take the Monnetier trail down. We couldn’t find the trails marked on the map, ended up re-doing maybe 100m of the elevation gain before we gave up. So we did something like 900m of elevation gain on the day, getting on toward 3000 feet.

I had remembered the trail below Monnetier as less steep than grande gorge, maybe because, when I was here before, I came in the reverse direction, and up always seems less steep than down. Well, the down was seriously steep as well, including stretches where we had to hang onto the rail, feet slipping out on the loose gravel with every step.

But we made it down, caught the bus, and got back into town in time to go back to our hotels and clean up — greatly needed — before Shan was due to talk with newly-arrived Klaus at 5.

The view from my hotel room window. Picturesque, no? And being away from the street, it is pretty quiet.

I joined Shan and Klaus for good beer and dinner at Les Brasseurs, and Denis joined us after a while. A long evening of talk, which we finally broke up at almost midnight. Good day, good night!

Geneva — small animals

September 10, 2012

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Arrived in Geneva fairly early, about 7:15. It takes no time to get through the overhead in Geneva, so I was at my hotel by 8, which of course had no room ready for me. Dumped off my luggage and went out to enjoy the day. Sunny, a cool day to start with, but promising to be quite warm later.

The hotel (Admiral) is at the edge of the red-light district, and as I left the hotel — and again over the subsequent days — any number of nice young women invited me to be their friend. Well, maybe not necessarily that nice, and maybe not necessarily that young, but as far as I know, they were all women…

If I’m interested in finding and photographing small animals, the greenery along the shore is probably the best place to go, with the botanical gardens as perhaps the most likely to be fruitful. Lo and behold, the first small animal I found was a harvestman! In Geneva, of course, it needs a French name: un faucheur (thanks, Sylvain!).

Cool! Over the course of the next few hours, I actually found four more harvestmen. Nice to see them flourishing here.

Who would photograph a fly? Well… I would, I guess. If we hadn’t seen so many of them, we would think of them as complex and interesting animals in their own right.

The botanical gardens include a strip along a little stream, with tiny falls and rills and ponds. In the ponds, we find frogs…

And frogs that have not yet developed fully…

And water boatmen.

Not a whole lot of dragonflies, but I found one that was willing to pose briefly for pictures.

It was getting on into the afternoon, so I went back to the hotel, got my room, took a short nap. My friend Shan arrived mid-afternoon; it’s her first time in Geneva. She’s staying at a hotel called f6, which seems pretty nice.

We walked (again) through the park and botanical gardens, then checked out the old town. The high point was getting into the cathedral just a few minutes before the conclusion of an organ concert. Great sound!

We shared entees at a Lebanese restaurant and called Saturday complete.

Geneva: a hike in the haute-Jura

December 11, 2011

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Mont Blanc, I believe, wearing a curved cap of cloud. View from the Jura.

My first order of business was to change hotels. Expecting that I might not be able to get a room early in the morning, I loaded my small pack with day trip things for a hike, and stuffed everything else in the large pack. And so it happened.

Took the 14 streetcar to the end of the line, which turned out not to be CERN. I guess there may be two routes for the 14 line, or something. Anyway… after half an hour of walking, I got to CERN, where there were #14 streetcars ready to take me back into Geneva, not where I want to go right now.

CERN is right at the border with France. Through malice and forethought, I had brought along my passport, just in case, but the border crossing was unattended. Pretty much open country here, with nice views of the haute-Jura, where I hope to go hiking today. I have no real information about trails up there, but if I can’t get into the mountains… well, die Reise ist das Ziel. Nice day for a walk, and all that.

If you’re the type who believes the glass is half empty, you could point out that, no matter whether you read this in a mirror or directly, it’s half bass-ackward.

First town is Saint-Genis-Pouilly, followed by Sergy and Haut-Sergy. By this point, we are getting into the hills, and the roads sometimes dead-end. I just keep making my way uphill, toward the mountains. I have it in mind to go up to the snow line, if I can find a trail.

I did find a route that appears to go along the base of the mountain, Vie de L’Etraz, from Thoiry to Crozet and very likely beyond. Branching off from it, I found a trail going steeply uphill. That’s how I like it: hard work, get the heart going.

On a day of views both grand and grander, it’s good to notice the small things as well.

The trail just went up and up and up. Eventually crossed a paved road, believe it or not, which was more or less level. If it is the one I see on the map, it also runs along the contours for a long way before dropping back into the valley. Probably not the right choice to go downhill, when the time comes.

The trail got even steeper, if that were possible, and I started running out of steam. Even more, the trail was invisible in the open forest, and it was a matter of looking for blazes. There were very few blazes below, fairly frequent up here. No sign of snow; there is so much forest that I can hardly see the trees, much less the mountain. I eventually decided to declare victory and abandon the field.

No option to take a gentler downgrade; very tricky on a trail of fallen leaves and rocks the size of baseballs. And my impression turned out to be correct: the trail below the road was, with a few exceptions, not nearly as steep as the trail above the road. My guess, based on subsequent examination of Google maps, is that I climbed around 500 meters. Nice workout.

Mont Blanc is now hidden in the clouds, but the surrounding Alps make a nice backdrop to Geneva (the jet d’eau is the spike just left of center).

Just before I popped out into the lowlands trails, I met a woman going up, first person I had met on the entire hike. Friendly exchange of bonjours, and I went on. At the junction was a pair of markers; I wanted to go to Sergy and the arrow seemed to be in the wrong direction. While I stood there puzzling, the woman came back down, having apparently reached the limit of her intended excursion.

She offered me advice about Sergy, but it was clear that my French wasn’t keeping up with the advice. I understood enough French to answer her question about me speaking Anglais. I suggested Deutsch, which she said she didn’t speak very well. Hers was considerably better than mine, however, and we were able to converse as we hiked together Richtung Sergy.

She lives in Geneva, but has a country retreat here in the Jura. We walked along the Sergy-Crozet trail until she reached the turnoff to her country home. She said she had two friends showing up for picnicking and invited me to join them. Very nice of her, but I begged off and continued the walk back to Switzerland.

That’s where we were, somewhere up there. Yet another great day!

Geneva at its best

December 8, 2011

8 December 2011

This time, I’m here in Geneva for two weeks. It has been cold and cloudy and rainy most of the time. The mobs are getting ready to cause destruction at next week’s WTO conference, and the authorities are busy turning the area around the UN into a high security area.

But today was sunny and very pleasasnt. I skipped lunch for the second time this week, did a little running because there is not much other exercise to be had (walking the stairs to my hotel room is the other form).

Down through the botanical gardens past the little wildlife area, where the mandarin and other ducks are always a great attraction.

 Being a clear day, we also get a terrific view of the Alps to the south.

I just hope it’s this nice on the upcoming weekend.