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4:04pm on Tuesday, 15th September, 2009:

On Geneva


In common with many old European cities, Geneva is a place I actively wanted to go to. It was not a strong enough desire to make it to my list of places I want to visit, but it's long been one I'd go out of my way to see.

Hmm. It wasn't what I expected.

Given that Switzerland hasn't had thousands of tonnes of munitions directed at in recent history, I thought there would be lots of old buildings here. There isn't — or at least if there is, they don't look a lot different to the new buildings. They also don't look very Swiss; they remind me more of the South of France than anything. I wasn't expecting chalets, but I was expecting something a little more individual.

I spent 2 hours of this afternoon wandering around trying to finish a quest. The quest was the usual one when I go abroad: buy stuff for my children. They always want stuff. This proved to be a bigger challenge than I had anticipated: there were plenty of shops selling stuff that teenaged girls would like, but they were the same shops we have in the UK. Only the prices were different — roughly double ours. I was amazed to see that Geneva did have a shop that sold stuff:

Sadly, it was the wrong kind of stuff. I did finally buy some stuff I know they'll be pleased with; unfortunately, it's almost guaranteed that of the two pieces I got both daughter will like one and both will dislike the other. I have no way of know which they'll fight over until they see them. Tourist goods are 40% watches, 40% knives, 10% lighters, 5% cuckoo clocks and 5% cow bells. None of these are amenable to transport by air. I guess I'll be buying some chocolate, then, except it'll be chocolate I can get in England at half the price...

Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).