If ever there were a candidate for world capital, Geneva would surely be it. The city is home to so many international organisations: The UN, the Red Cross, the World Health Organisation, and the International Labour Organisation. Yet this multi-lingual, multi-national city is not even the Swiss capital (that would be Bern). I had planned to take in a museum here, but as I wandered around I was so enraptured by the tranquil parks and the promenade stretching around Lac Léman (Lake Geneva to us ignorant foreigners) that I somehow didn’t find the time. Maybe it’s just the pleasantly mild weather, but the atmosphere here seems very laid-back, even in the busiest parts.
As I strolled along the lakeside in the morning, I couldn’t see the iconic water jet, and thought I might not get to see it, but as I approached the bay, it suddenly spurted to life. Why have I had the theme tune to The Champions in my head all day?
As a science enthusiast, I couldn’t pass through Geneva without paying a visit to CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. CERN is another international effort, with 20 countries participating in revolutionary physics research. The scientists here are trying to uncover such lofty mysteries as what is dark matter, why particles have mass, and how the universe came to exist. Beneath the French-Swiss border lies the famous Large Hadron Collider, a 27km tube designed to smash proton beams together at close to the speed of light, recreating the conditions of the Universe nanoseconds after the Big Bang.
Of course, access to the LHC is restricted now that it is fully operational, but there is a highly informative (and free!) exhibition at the visitors centre, including a very immersive audio-visual presentation in the ‘Universe of Particles’ dome.
I’ve enjoyed Geneva, and wish I could stay longer, but have to be off early tomorrow so that I can catch the Bernina Express on Thursday. For now, I’ll leave you with this shot of Mont Blanc seen from across Lake Geneva.