Welcome to Geneva
Posted by Lauren Rugani on February 20, 2011
My first weekend in Geneva is over.
The first impression I had when I landed yesterday morning was, “Where’s all the snow?!” It was a warm day, but gray and cloudy. Going from the airport to my hostel in Meyrin, just outside Geneva, I noticed that the area was very industrial, or at least looked that way. Lots of gray buildings, not a lot of scenery – though I suppose that on a sunny day the view of the Alps is nothing short of majestic (I’ll report back on the first sunny day) and there are some vineyards nearby that might look nicer in season.
CERN, for all of its international renown, is made up mostly of aging buildings, again gray. My room is nice: a bed, desk, armoir and full bathroom. There are a communal kitchen, TV, reading and laundry rooms too, kind of like a college dorm. It’s been pretty quiet so far, but perhaps during the week I’ll meet some fellow hostelers.
I spent my first day wandering about Geneva. It’s a fairly simple bus/train ride, which takes about 45 minutes, but isn’t anything I’m not used to after living in Boston. We walked through the “red light district,” which during the day is pretty tame. Lots of people on the streets, every other shop sells watches or chocolate, very touristy. We walked to Lake Geneva and saw the Jet d’Eau (water jet), walked out onto a cement pier where people were sitting having lunch and feeding birds. Lots of boats are docked there, so I’m assuming it’s quite a happening place in the summer. We also visited a few other neighborhoods in the city and stopped for coffee.
I’ll either need to learn French immediately or make sure I’m with someone who speaks fluently any time I go to a restaurant. For the most part I could make out the items on the menu, but I’m under the impression that waitstaff do not generally speak English. The food is also expensive, but I have to remind myself that the tip is built in. Also, unlike in America, the waitstaff don’t check back on you a million times after dropping your food to ask if everything is alright. I’ve heard that fondue is very popular, as are dishes made of potatoes, cheese and bacon, which I can totally get behind. I’m looking forward to sampling local menus as often as possible.
I joined glocals.com and Young@CERN in the hopes of meeting people to explore with. My first major project, however, is finding an affordable place to live. I definitely have my heart set on Geneva so I can walk around and see as much as possible.
Tomorrow is my first day of work, which I’m sure will consist mostly of trainings, orientations, introductions, tours, etc. I’m excited to explore the site even more and perhaps see some of the experiments that I’ll be writing about. Hopefully I can get enough sleep tonight – my brain thinks its dinner time but it’s almost midnight right now! Luckily my room is a 2-minute walk to the office, so I can sleep in a little later until I fully adjust to the time difference.
Check back soon for pictures of the site and the city!