Switzerland 05-06: Geneva

We started earlyish in the morning. Not as early as we have done, but early enough. I took my hat and gloves more because of habit than because I thought it was going to be cold. The woman we met on the bus yesterday said there’s completely different weather in Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchatel and I took that as “It’s warmer in Geneva”. It wasn’t. It was freezing – really really icy cold.
We started by jumping on a number 15 tram which turned out to be going the wrong way, so we walked back to the station to start again. Geneva doesn’t seem to believe in maps, or if it does, it doesn’t believe in making them readable. We decided we wanted a 13, so we went to wait for it and Jemma noticed how many scooters there were…

We got our tram, but Geneva still doesn’t want us to be able to get around. Signs at tram stops have completely random things written on them. The first one I managed to spot had FRANCE in big letters, despite being blatantly in Switzerland. How we got to the Nations stop is anyone’s guess, but we managed. This is what we achieved in Geneva in the first two hours:

This is our next failure. We got a 15 tram back (spotting a pattern?) and went beyond the station, supposedly towards the old town. We had nowhere specific in mind, so we just got off when we felt like it, which was when I spotted a lot of sails and thought the lakeside harbour mentioned in the book would be a good place to see.

As soon as we were off the tram, I discovered my sailing boats were actually a skatepark….
Back to the station again. We got a bus this time and went to the park with the giant chess sets, which was opposite the Grand Theatre. According to my map, the Red Cross HQ, Palais de Justice, Russian Church and various other things were within walking distance, so we walked.
Eventually, we found the Palais:

Not as impressive as we were expecting. We had hot chocolate in a cafe opposite it and then walked down the hill to a market with a grand total of two stalls. Jemma bought a Hat, then discovered a bath:

We found ourselves on what looked like the main shopping street, complete with toy shop (no goats though) and when we got to the end of it, we found we were in Place de Bel Air – completely the opposite direction from where we wanted to go. We started to go back, but it was so cold and we planned to come back when the fountain was actually switched on, so we thought all that could wait a while.
While we were at Bel Air, I noticed these:

Lots of them, all along the road and I’d seen them in other parts of the city. What are they and why are they there?
Jemma decided we should go to the Jardin Botanique, so we went back to the station (again) and got a bus out there.
I took 120 photos today, 91 of them there…

This is Tibet/Himalayas. Part of the garden was divided up into gardens of mountain plants from various places in the world. We saw Himalayas, South America, Swiss Alps, Oceania and Middle East, then because it was cold, we went into the big greenhouse.
It was like a jungle:

and so hot and damp that my glasses and camera lens both went misty.
At the back of the first part, there were four or five tanks full of fish and underwater stuff. Here are some wriggly purple-tipped anemones:

and here is Dory, Marlin and Nemo:

Then there were smaller greenhouses off the side. One was full of rocks with the occasional plant among it, but the second was Mexican and full of all kinds of flowers:

We particularly liked this one because it looks like someone spray-painted it:

Outside, we found a bed full of cacti with the wonderful warning:

which means Botany. Having thick, fleshy, water-storing leaves or stems. You learn something new every day….
Then we went in the toilets and had fun posing under the UV light in there…
Next we went in the other greenhouse, a big domed thing. There were more succulents:

and a set of steps so you could walk around the top and look down on the jungle:

I liked looking up:

When we’d finished there, we went back to the station and because it was cold and baffling in Geneva, we decided to come home.

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