On Thursday 26th March I went on my most exciting trip ever. Our school Physics department was going on their biannual trip to Switzerland to visit CERN. Although I don’t study Physics anymore (I dropped it after AS), I do study Maths and Further Maths, so I was allowed to tag along!
Normally I would be as excited as I am for choir trips, but this was even more exciting because it was going to be my first ever time on a plane!
- 5am – Set off for Manchester Airport to catch the 8.20 plane to Geneva
We flew with Easyjet, so the cost of the trip was kept to a minimum. After all the ‘Behind the Scenes’ programmes on TV about unhappy customers with Easyjet, I was pleasantly surprised. We only waited in the check-in queue for half an hour, and the staff were very friendly and welcoming despite the early morning start. We all got through security in under 10 minutes because there were only a few other people In the queue, so we had half an hour spare to look around the airport shops before boarding the plane. Passport and Boarding Pass check at the gate were quick and easy, which is always good when a group of 17-18-year-olds is trying to navigate an airport on four hours sleep!
I think I may have screamed on take-off, but it wasn’t a thrilling-rollercoaster-descent scream, more of a little wasn’t-expecting-that yelp. Before I knew it, we’d landed at Geneva Airport very smoothly.
- Travel to City Hostel Geneva
It’s a good job that Switzerland doesn’t charge for public transport given the price of everything else (more on that later) as we used an average of 4 trams/busses/trains per day. At the airport, everyone can get a free transport ticket via machines which are valid for 80 minutes to get you to your accommodation, where you will be given another free ticket to use for the duration of your stay. We took a train from the airport to Gare Cornavin Train Station and then it was just a five-minute walk to City Hostel Geneva, Rue Ferrier.
They don’t offer meals but we got breakfast provided at a restaurant around the corner called Pipo’s, and on each floor of the hostel there is a communal kitchen where you can prepare snacks and microwave food. There aren’t any en-suite facilities, just communal toilets and showers per floor (4 showers, 6 toilets), which weren’t too busy actually, I don’t remember waiting for more than a minute or two. I forgot to take pictures of the hostel, but there are loads available on booking.com. Also, there’s free Wi-Fi in all rooms and communal areas.
- Find lunch
Warning: Switzerland is not cheap! The average sandwich will set you back around 10-12 Francs (£7-8) and you might have to become very fond of free tap water, with 500ml bottles costing up to 5 francs (£3.50)! To give you an idea, this is how much my food cost during the holiday: (conversion rates correct on 30/3/2015)
Day 1: Chicken Panini with chips and bottle of water in a café round the corner from the hostel, 17 Francs ( £13)
2 Lamb Koftas with salad and houmous and glass of top water in a Lebanese restaurant round the corner from the hostel, 18 Francs (£13)
Two scoops of ice cream in a tub at a lakeside hut, 7 Francs (£5)
Day 2: Whole Margherita pizza with fruit salad and bottle of water, 20 Francs (£14) – the CERN restaurant was very cheap, though!
2 Chicken tacos with rice and salad and glass of tap water in Balexert Shopping Centre, 26 Francs (£18)
Day 3: Spaghetti Bolognese with glass of tap water and ice cream sundae at an Italian restaurant in Old Town, 28 Francs (£20)
Pasta in tomato sauce and bottle of water at Geneva Airport, 17 Francs (£13)
Total – 133 Francs (£96)
Saleve Cable Car Ride
We took the number 8 bus from Gare Cornavin to Veyrier Douane at the France/Switzerland border on Mont Saleve, and took a five-minute walk over the border to find that the cable car was closed until April…managed to get some nice pictures, though!
- Visit the Flower Clock and stop for ice cream
We had a few hours to fill before tea time since the cable car was closed, so we got the bus back down the mountain and walked to the Flower Clock situated in-between the shops and Lake Geneva. We then took a river taxi across to the ice-cream hut, where I particularly enjoyed the banana ice-cream and lemon sorbet combination.
- Night-time lakeside walk
After having tea at a Lebanese restaurant near to the hostel, we walked down to Lake Geneva and walked along to the Lighthouse, which was lit up like a Christmas Tree. On the way, we passed lots of swans and ducks, a slide for people to use when swimming in the lake in Summer, and a free mini-gym consisting of a cross trainer and a bike/rowing machine. On the way back to the hostel we accidentally ended up walking through the ‘colourful area’ of Geneva but luckily it was only 9pm so there wasn’t much going on.
Then it was an early night to prepare for the main event on Friday!
Original photos were taken on a Nokia Lumia 520