What is the greatest city in Europe? (so far)

I guess it is about that time again…time to give the details of our recent weekend galavant: Bern, Geneva, and Lausanne, Switzerland!  Right about now you are probably asking the question “Do those two EVER study?” and let me assure you the answer is yes!  We are currently finishing up two major group projects, just submitted a marketing research paper, and completed our first German exam.  We just happen to be fortunate enough to have the daytime free for homework and Fridays with no classes, ergo…travel is a must!

This past weekend’s trip was a bit different because it began as an actual class.  Our International Human Resources Management class visited Swisscom Corporation in Bern, the capital of Switzerland. We were able to not only speak with some key players at the Telecommunications firm, but also to see a bit of the age-old city.  Much like Feldkirch, Bern is very medieval and perhaps one of the most beautiful cities I have visited…that was until Geneva.

Following our class visit, Jennifer and I made efficient use of our day travel passes and headed to Geneva for two nights of sightseeing and exploring.  And explore  what we did!  We covered most of the city in our self guided walking tour (I assure you I have a very official tour guide voice), and even made time for a boat cruise of Lake Geneva. Oh and we “technically” went to France. And by went to France I mean took the tram as far as it would take us and literally walked across a highway to the border, realized there was absolutely nothing there, and returned. But hey Jennifer can check France off the “to visit” list!

I mentioned earlier that Bern was the most beautiful city, until Geneva so why in fact is Geneva my new favorite?  The culture, history, landscape and pretty much everything about Geneva is spectacular. It doesn’t hurt that the city is in the French speaking part of Switzerland, and I was able to practice what small French speaking skills I have. The city is centered around giant Lake Geneva and if you can picture the Gulf Coast, mixed with a little bit of Italy, and throw in a bit of France that is quite an accurate description of Geneva. Our Intnl. Human Resources professor told us Geneva is “Europe’s version of New York”, and he was certainly correct.

Young and middle aged business people from across the world lined the streets and crowded the restaurants at night.  Tourists from every corner travelled to walk the streets of the city where the Red Cross was founded and serves as the current headquarters of the United Nations, the WHO, and the WTO. The city has a hustle and bustle, yet quaint European aura that will win over even the biggest city slickers. If I had to recommend a place to visit in Europe (as of now) Geneva would be at the top of that list (followed by Bardolino, Italy), but warning: you might want to save up a few bucks because the city is NOT cheap.  Seriously…Geneva is tied for third most expensive city in the world.

After our days in Geneva, Jennifer and I parted ways; her traveling to see the Matterhorn (the mountain you see on the Toblerone box) and me to Lausanne.  I wasn’t really in Lausanne long enough to give you a full description BUT for the short amount of time that I was there  I can tell you that I surely want to go back!  Much like Geneva, Lausanne was filled with business men and women as well as tourists coming and going, and the southern part of the city was also located on Lake Geneva.  I spent a few hours roaming around, practicing my French (which really only extends so far as ordering food and getting directions) and lounging on the harbor wall overlooking the Lausanne Yacht Club and surrounded by mountains.

I hope that brief description wasn’t too boring for you, but if it was I leave for Ireland tomorrow so surely those blogs will grab your attention!!

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