Thursday, January 10, 2013

PHOTOS | European Christmas 2012 | Geneva, Switzerland

I had a blast in Amsterdam. Then on Saturday, December 15th, I left Amsterdam, Holland and headed for Geneva, Switzerland. Here, too, I took lots of pictures.

Disclaimer: I am a photojournalist at heart, and I take pictures of what I see, so that you can see them. I do not necessarily endorse, partake in nor support the images or actions depicted in the photos displayed on this web log.

Switzerland is the most expensive country to live in, in the world. Here is a snapshot of what it's like to live in Geneva:

Monthly Rent, Luxury 2 Bedroom: $4,818
Cup of Coffee: $6.57
One Gallon of Gasoline: $7.46
Daily International Newspaper: $4.38
Fast-Food Meal: $12.59


Because of the high cost of living, lots of people opt to live in towns in bordering France. Our hotel was also located in France, in Divonne les Bains. A cool spot in the countryside.




There is always a mountain in the distance. No matter which way you turn.
In this little town, stores close early. Really early. Stuff is expensive here too, I think. Window in a real estate office. Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc, which is similar to the dollar (about .92 cents = 1 Swiss Franc), but we are in France right now, so we can still use our Euros from Amsterdam. I saw this store selling urban wear in small-town Divonne, and I loved it. These two guys, Nicolas and Baptiste, ran it.
The best part about this town was the flea market on Sunday.
Everybody's got wine. Did I forget to mention? There's snow on the ground! But it's about 50 degrees and melting fast. We met some fellow hotel guests who offered to take us through the Switzerland mountainside and show us some really cool things. We headed to Fribourg, a city in the Swiss countryside, about 90 minutes from Geneva. Occasionally, we would see a familiar watch maker or chocolatier headquarters. It's exactly what you would expect to see while driving through Switzerland. And of course, the Swiss Alps. In the valleys near the highway, we could see these little Swiss cottages. Every view looked like a postcard.
Crossing the Saane River
We passed a gas station as we arrived in Fribourg. The price shown is how much it costs to buy one liter of gas. (4 liters = 1 gallon) That's about $7 per gallon. I'm not gonna lie, the mountains were breathtaking. We haven't even gotten anywhere yet, and we were just happy to view the scenery.
Lynda and I in Gruyeres, Switzerland. We are standing a half-mile above sea level.
Gruyeres is a thousand-year-old medieval town, within the city of Fribourg, and of course, paved with cobblestones. It's named for its well-known cheese.

This is what happens when you ask someone to take your picture and they don't care if you're ready or not.

Alert: The absolute best, and most surprising, part of this historic town is the presence of the H.R. Giger Museum, creator of the alien in the Aliens franchise.

Yes, this museum is in Switzerland. On a hilltop. In a tiny thousand-year-old town of cobblestones and churches. Is an alien museum. And bar!

This is the super, duper awesome interior of the Alien bar. It looks like the spine of the alien in the movies. OMG. OMG. OMG.

We just went from old cheese to the most awesome bar chair I've ever seen in my life.

Alas, the museum was closed. But it's ok; my mind was already blown. Time to descent.
Before we go, we must dine. The restaurant in the hillside town specialized in cheese (fromage), of course. Yes, they had macaroni and cheese. Should I try some?
Once inside, I checked to make sure I was in the right place because the odor of a rotting corpse hit me in the face like a boxing glove. What was that stench? Cheese. I mean...fromage. Oh. Let's eat?
I almost got the smoked salmon salad, glad I didn't. This is the macaroni and cheese. Yep, super weak. Lynda got something like a cheese pot pie. She said it was delicious. I tasted it. It was. It tasted like 31,000 calories. I got the trout. GREAT idea! Light and yummy. Lynda's nickname is Snacks. I had to take this picture.
Thank YOU for having us, Gruyeres!
Sweet Peugeot we saw on the way to the car. What next? The Nestle' Shop, of course! We are at Callier, or the Callier museum, who was a Swiss Chocolatier. He and Henri Nestle joined forces a long time ago and made lots of yummy chocolate for many years. Cacao Beans This is a sample of the cacao beans from all over the world. Like any other organic seed, they taste different, depending on where they came from! Look! They're making chocolate!
And we can eat it!

Then, you can leave a note and say what's up to Callier.

More chocolate. And we can eat it. All of it. All different kinds.

Outside of the Callier Museum.

Train tracks outside of the Callier Museum.

Headed back to Divonne.

The next day, we took a train and headed to Geneva. It was rainy. The way I normally envision Europe.
Lots of people ride motorcycles here. We headed to the local H&M. Cute stuff.
Wait. EXPENSIVE stuff. Same stuff as every other H&M. Just double the price.

$50 in America. $99 Swiss Francs. Literally double the price.
We had lunch and it was a cafeteria-style buffet in a department store. It cost like $25. Lots of high rollers out here. Lots of traffic. And the bikes get in where they fit in. So, I saw on TripAdvisor that the thing to see in Geneva is this famous Flower Clock. We found it. It's a clock. Surrounded by flowers. At least it was accurate. Lynda was unimpressed.
We saw this statue and wondered what it was. It was carved out of a single tree. Reminds me of The Lion King.

Me and Lynda at front of Lake Geneva.
That's Geneva, Switzerland. Cheese, Chocolate, Cha-Ching. Stay tuned for photos from the next destination: Rome, Italy!
-Insana

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