As my little sister was in Europe for a few weeks, we decided to carpe diem and jet off on vacation together. Despite my job’s sneaky ability to get in the way of all my fun (while funding the fun at the same time), I was able to squeeze a whole FOUR days out of the office to go simultaneously yodel and stuff my face with cheese in the Swiss Alps with my favorite ginger.
After our 24 hours in Nice, we hopped on flight to Geneva for the real start of Sister Vacation2014 (leaving behind my husband and (inadvertantly?) my charger for my work phone… #sorrynotsorry).
We landed in Geneva and hopped on the train into town using our handy four day unlimited Swiss Rail Pass.
For anyone who has travelled in Europe, the trains can be a glorious (yet expensive) experience. Surprisingly, the four day unlimited rail pass was cheaper than pre-booking all of the tickets we wanted and it ensured our ability to be spontaneous. It also covered all forms of public transportation and ferries in all the cities we went… amazing. And because we never had to book ahead of time, we just wandered from city to city getting on whichever train was leaving the station.
We got to Geneva and found our hotel (the appropriately named Hotel de Geneve) which was halfway between the lake and the train station. We dropped everything and headed down to the lake to check the ferry schedule and have a look around.
After losing an excruciatingly long battle to a ferry schedule and its three page key, we decided to head over to the United Nations and the Red Cross Red Crescent Museum.
The Red Cross Red Crescent Museum is the perfect overlap of everything that my sister and I are all about: public health, human rights and law. And while we hesitated about going to a museum when it was sunny and warm out, we decided that it would be a shame to miss it. We made it in to the museum just before the last entry of the day and we were so so so glad that we went. The museum is one of the most technologically advanced museums I have ever seen – everything is interactive and really engaging.
We were each given a headset that automatically registered when we entered into new rooms and allowed for us to listen to real life personal accounts of witnesses and victims of a wide variety of situations (natural disasters, war, genocide, torture, trafficking, etc.). One of the last rooms in the museum is an interactive timeline of monumental events (both positive and negative and on global/national levels) which allows you to travel back in time to see what was happening around the world at any moment in time.
I was overwhelmed not only by the quality and quantity of information provided but also by the clear presentation of such difficult topics without resorting to oversimplification. It was definitely one of the highlights of Geneva and I would recommend it as a must-see for anyone who spends any time in Geneva. As a major plus, it is one of the only things in the city open on a Sunday!
After a couple hours at the museum, we made our way to Cafe du Soleil to tick one of our top to-do’s for Switzerland: cheese fondue.
Sitting out on the patio for a few hours dipping bread, veggies and dried beef into a giant pot of winey cheese, sipping a glass of red wine and chatting away was a wonderful way to end the first day of sister vacation 2014!