Tuesday, 12 April 2011

switzerland: first great impressions

about friday 8 april 2011

and now i start finally posting about my fantastic trip to switzerland. i need to say it has been very difficult to choose which photos to post because they are so many great photos.

initial trip costs
£   18.50 return national express coach ticket southampton - heathrow; heathrow - southampton
£ 119.00 return ticket to switzerland: flying swiss, heathrow - geneva; geneva - heathrow. the ticket included health and baggage insurance

i left southampton in the 1.30am coach to london heathrow terminal 1. my flight was at 7.30am. at the geneva airport the immigration lady asked if i spoke any french, 'parlez-vous francais?' to which i responded 'un peu', and added (using finger gestures) 'je reste ici trois jours'. right away she asked: 'et apres?' i said that after the three days i was going to return to england, where i live and am a phd student, more or less like this: 'apres je rentre a angleterre, ou je suis une etudiante de phd'. the woman opened a wide smile, and stamped my passport. i smiled back and left.

my dear friend fran was waiting for me at the arrival gate. big hugs and greetings and we took the bus to city. first stop was at manor, this immense department store with whatever you may want (i suppose). there we had a fantastic breakfast at the terrace area, as it was a sunny and nice day. then we walked around town for about four hours and i saw a lot about geneva: the banks, the expensive shops, the beautiful streets, the commercial area, the 'jet d'eau', a book fair, the amazing geneva flower clock and so much more around leman lake.

we walked to a square where lots and lots of people were sitting at the cafes enjoying the beautiful day. we were there for a while. i had diet coke and fran had panache, a drink which is beer mixed with carbonated lemonade, called shandy in the uk. very nice. the streets and the old buildings look so nice in this very expensive city. i photographed the court of justice. after the cafe we walked to a park where there just another bunch of people on the grass relaxing, eating, or sleeping. we stayed there for quite a long time talking about life. fran and i had some nice, honest and serious conversations about brazil, europe, family, longing, and the gains and loss we are faced with every time we make choices in life.

but fran had to go to work and martina come to meet up with us. again martina showed me other parts of geneva and we ended up going to her apt. martina is fran's 22-year-old daughter. he is a law student in geneva and a very kind and responsible girl. when we got to her place i took a shower, which made me feel renovated for the many hours of fun yet to come still on friday.

martina and i left her apt and stopped by manor again to buy some food for me and for fran. she then took me to the bus stop and told me exactly where i show get off on my way to fran's job, where she'd be waiting for me by the gas station. i was at first scared and feared i wasn't going to be able to go on my own, but i took careful note of all the stops the bus had until my own. i entered the bus from the front door and spoke with the bus driver and asked him to help me out with this. he said 'fine' (in french). i started checking the stops' names and felt calm as everything was very clear and organised. half way through we had fiscalization in the bus. you don't show anybody that you have paid to ride the bus unless there is the visit of a fiscal. voila! they were five coming all together to the bus. a guy asked me for my ticket, which i showed to him, and i was fine. fran had bought a day rover. i got off at my stop, crossed the road towards the gas station, and before i saw i heard fran's voices calling 'kalina'. yey!!!

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