Sunday, December 31, 2006

Geneva: Day One -- A comedie of errors

So this is what I wrote on the first day of our ill-fated Geneva trip. Started off as a downer, but in the end, worked out as one of our best vacations and one of my favorite cities. Will post more for pictures. Here are first thoughts, for posterity.

A comedie of errors, as A- called it.
Vacation is hard stuff. It started with a general lack of snow that plagued europe and cancelled most of their ski events. Thus we shifted our ski in chamonix plans (also because M and A- were tired out from the holidays) to just a general paris/geneva trip (thinking that part of our flight had a paris stop over, it should be easy.

One, enroute to the airport, we got a flat tire, so we made our way home quickly (fortunately, we had given ourselves plenty of extra time so despite our dawdling, we still had time), switched cars, which was quite an ordeal as my car was out of gas and full of unused skis. Two, made it to airport on time, but somehow, new fare rules meant we weren't allowed to exit at Paris. We were forced to use the ticket or pay a $3000 penalty. How stupid is that. We had already booked/paid for a hotel in Paris. Tried hard, ran up against a wall of computer mediated bureaucracy. Three, resigned to going to Geneva, we resolved to take a train back to Paris when lo and behold our bags didn't make the connection, they were left in Paris. The irony is that as a result we couldn't go to Paris because by the time we got there, they'd wind up in Geneva. After waiting all day in the airport, until our bags arrived, all the trains sold out except for first class which costs about $500. So we decided to cut losses and stay in Geneva, at over priced (ridiculously) but still 5-star hotel that was supposed to be a last night splurge, but became a 5 night splurge.

The hotel, (Mandarin Oriental Hotel du Rhone) proved to be way past prime, (later saw only a 3.5/5 tripadivsor rating, with earnest but illinformed staff, mistakes on breakfast, ridiculously overpriced wifi ($150 for access while here), and rotting mandarin oranges in our room.

Though did finally get a good nap. Randomly found a nice local place with only one item on menu, le relais de Entrecote (perfectly cooked medium rare steak) with fries. And dined w/ locals in this amazingly cosmopolitan city.

Ended tonight with a fantastic shower though. Finally an upnote (after searching and being constantly disappointed all day). One of the best I've ever had. After a very long, dirty day (had a nice quick run at nicely appointed gym), and mm, two headed shower, nice tingly piping hot temperature controls, and nice spicy prickly shampoo and body gel. Hopefully, the rest of the trip can only be up.

Geneva (as I feared) is a boring city, (barely worth a day) but should have exciting day trips to small medieval castle towns around the lake, as well as nearby french annecy. Plus, exciting Red Cross museum on social science. Something very geneva.
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