Is Geneva, Switzerland only for conventions?

by - August 28, 2019

Beautiful Park in Geneva, Switzerland on a sunny winter dayThis week we will be visiting Geneva in Switzerland. where you will be exposed to this city from a Barbadian perspective through the eyes of Mr. Ellis.

Geneva is the second most populated city in Switzerland and the most populous in Romandie which is the French-speaking area of Switzerland.  

When thinking of Switzerland, the first things that seem to come to mind are those luxury brand watches or those lovely chocolates not forgetting the huge political conventions, the treaty-signing and policy-making and of course Lake Geneva.

However, people seem to forget the weather. Though not unbearable, it can be quite a change for someone who is accustomed to a tropical environment so checking the weather is an essential part of your daily activity. It's right up there in the daily list of things to be done like you know, good hygiene, showering, brushing your teeth and things of this nature. If you're already accustomed to this type of weather, Geneva should be a breeze.

I was rather surprised to see that in 5°C weather people were out and about jogging... of all things... they were JOGGING while I was seeing my foggy breath and rubbing my fingers together to get rid of the numbness and did I forget to mention that they were wearing mid-thigh shorts? Yes, one of the guys that I saw was wearing shorts. It was a sunny day so I guess it was a justifiable activity but still, for me, it made little to no sense because outside was COLD.

Landscape of a park in Geneva, Switzerland
On a warmer subject, "Barbadians are some of the friendliest people on earth" is something you often hear and if you have ever been to Barbados you would know that the population is renowned for being very "nice"... maybe it's the warm weather.
Well here is where Swiss people get very interesting, they range from the super friendly to a very coarse "mind your own business" attitude. The people are approachable but don't think that making friends in an instant would be an easy task. You can have casual conversations but after that don't imagine that you are now friends for life. You would probably need to have been acquainted with them for a while, maybe even before going to Switzerland.

One of the things that you may need to be aware of as an English-speaker is that Geneva is a French-speaking territory but that does not in any way hinder your experience from being linguistically rich. You can speak in English but it is still nice to know a "Bonjour" and other little conversational vocabulary in French. Geneva being one of the more populated cities is very diverse with regard to culture and demographics so very often you would cross paths with someone from anywhere in the world and English is still the "global business language".

Skyliner car at Gimsswiss convention in GenevaTalking about global language my main reason for the trip at this specific time of the year (March) was for the annual Geneva International Motor Show. This motor show is held each year during spring time in Europe. It is a well-known international automotive exposition and boasts of innovations in the car industry. ( The autoshow was first held in 1905 where it showcased internal combustion engine models but today luxury vehicles, supercars, breakthrough technologies and even social debates or some of the activities to see and do at this event.

Car at Geneva International Motor showBeing someone that is very interested in cars, I was particularly content to see the expertise of Espera Sbarro, an automotive design school created by Franco Sbarro in 1971 but there was also a little disappointment by the lack of after-market representations of the vehicles as the model manufacturer versions were the majority on display. I did enjoy myself nonetheless and I would recommend it to any and all car fanatics or anyone who would be interested in cutting-edge automotive technologies and designs.

United Nations Headquarters office in Geneva, SwitzerlandDuring this trip, I had the opportunity to visit the United Nations Office in Geneva. It is the second-largest office of the four major offices of the association. 

I am not politically motivated but I must admit that I was awed by the sight of the flag of my country flying high among many other much larger and more developed countries. If you don't know Barbados is quite a small developing country so to see this flag amongst others was almost surreal.
Coming from a tropical climate, where the weather is either hot or rainy,  snow is definitely a foreign concept so travelling so far and not experiencing snow at it's finest was definitely one of the activities that had to be done so, I travelled to the mountains for a day of tobogganing. The activity was quite fitting as I was celebrating a birthday and though not particularly fond of birthday celebrations, I must admit that after a seemingly long drive up to the mountains and then a hike up the mountain itself, sliding down the snow was a welcomed and quite amusing activity. It was absolutely fun and fantastic.

Picturesque mountaintops of GenevaWhen visiting Geneva, you must profit from the beautiful surroundings and taking a trip to the mountainous regions of Switzerland is definitely one of the activities that you should put on your to-do list,  especially during the wintertime as the snowfall on the mountain top is a sight to see.

Whether your trip will be to sit in the audience of a convention, visit an exposition, see snow for the first time, go shopping, eat chocolate, drink wine or just spend time with family or friends. Geneva is one of the many places in Switzerland where you are guaranteed to have a great time and experience a mélange of cultures and language variety.

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