Geneva, Switzerland and surrounding towns

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November was a big month for us in terms of travel, and our last trip of the month didn’t disappoint. Any excuse to travel is good enough for me, and this one was a celebration of Diego’s brother’s birthday, as well as Diego and I’s anniversary. We flew into Geneva, but little did I know before the trip that the boys had planned a lot for us to do in 2 and 1/2 days. We crossed the Switzerland/France border about 8 times!

Landing in Geneva was beautiful. The city sits on Lake Leman, with the beautiful Alps in the distance. We got into our rental car and headed toward Chamonix-Mont Blanc, a charming French town that borders Switzerland and Italy. Here are some shots from our drive there.

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The little town, frequented by many skiers, is surrounded by impressive snowy mountains and rivers. We walked around looking at the shops, admiring the views, and stopped in a bar for a beer.

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It seemed like almost every store was for skiing and snowboarding!

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The river Arve running through the town

Later, we found a candy store and made the mistake of going inside. Everything was so colorful and inviting. Diego has a hard time resisting candy, so we bought some. We kind of regretted it though, as candy that sits in the open air like that dries out.

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Like a kid in a candy store…

That night, we made dinner at our Airbnb and enjoyed the sauna there. I learned that going from freezing air to a sauna is a little rough if you’re even slightly asthmatic, but man did that hot air feel good.

The next day, we headed out to see some nearby towns on the way back toward Switzerland. After some snowball fights and stopping for some pretty pictures, we found our way to the ski slopes to take a look. We weren’t prepared to ski (both money wise and gear wise), but we enjoyed watching others head up the mountain as we sipped some coffee and hot chocolate. The guy at the bar spoke some Spanish, too!

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Cafe pit stop
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The bottom of the slopes

Every twist and turn on our way through Switzerland was beautiful. I found myself taking tons of photos through the car window.

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Then, when we spotted this amazing, unique pink church nestled in a tiny mountain town, I told our chauffeur (Diego) that we HAD to stop! There’s just something about this town. Then, when Diego tried to drive up a little hill in the middle of the town that was covered in ice, we all got to fear for our lives for a few seconds when the car slipped. Halfway up the hill, we lost traction and started going backwards. And when he tried to turn to prevent crashing into the stone wall, the steering didn’t respond. Thankfully we were going so slow and the brakes worked. He slowly backed down as I contemplated getting out of the car for the next attempt. But instead, we decided to take a different road. I think it was worth it! Check it out.

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Next, we stopped in another small town for lunch. It was gorgeous too, but lower altitude and no snow. It was very green, and the air was so fresh. It was just warm enough in the sun to sit outside and enjoy the atmosphere. We tried some Swiss beers and shared pizza.

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The view from our table

After that, we hopped back in the car and headed to Montreux. Wow, Montreux really impressed me. Like Geneva, it sits on the lake, but it has much more of a small town/charming feel. The buildings are beautiful, as are the views of the lake and the mountains. We decided to go take a look at the Chateau de Chillon, which is basically its own island on the lake. We didn’t go inside (again, being frugal) but it was beautiful from the outside. And we still had more time to drive up the mountain.

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We saw a little windy road leading up the mountain and decided to check it out to see if it led to something cool or some good views. We found a little travel hostal that was closed for the season, and yes great views.

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That night, we didn’t yet have a hotel booked, so we searched for something affordable nearby. Well that is definitely not easy in Switzerland! So we headed over to the French side of the lake and stayed in Thonon-les-Bains for the night. The next morning, we headed out to explore Geneva. Our flight would head out that night, so we left our luggage in the airport lockers and went downtown. We checked out the big fountain in the lake (although that turned off as soon as we got close), the lighthouse, and the United Nations building.

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The lighthouse

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Drinking out of a public fountain. These are common and apparently are safe to drink from.
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Sitting outside of the UN building, next to the “broken chair” sculpture

Another trip in the books: more unforgettable memories made, more appreciation for the world gained. Traveling is so important to me, and I’m really glad that I’ve gotten to do so much lately. Even if you can’t travel around the world, travel someplace near where you live that you’ve never explored before! You’ll be amazed at how much fun you can find and what kind of adventures you can get yourself into. Till next time!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa Wieman says:

    You have your mother’s blood running through your veins. You couldn’t keep her down. So glad that you take advantage and see the world when you can. The more you know, the more you understand, and the more tolerance you have for things that are different. We should all be that way.

    Like

  2. Mark says:

    Really beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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