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An Insider’s Look at Geneva, Switzerland

24 Hours In Geneva, Switzerland | Jest Kept Secret

After our last day in Germany, Leslie and I boarded a train to Geneva, Switzerland. It was a tad bittersweet to make the final border crossing of the trip—final two, technically, since our train route took us very briefly through Liechtenstein. Either way, I was feeling pretty nostalgic as I looked out the window at the gorgeous greenness outside the train, knowing that in 3 days, I’d be boarding a plane bound for dry Southern California.

View from the Train | Jest Kept Secret

Our time in Switzerland was a little different than the rest of our time in Europe. Our hosts were a family of American expats related to one of Leslie’s sisters-in-law, and it was neat to have local tour guides show us around their favorite spots.

Leslie: I enjoyed having a “local” walk around the city with us and show us all the little things worth seeing. It was definitely a different feeling walking around with a family and playing at the park versus going from point to point like tourists again. It was also fun to have a great homemade meal. I dream of Natasha’s made-up cheesy sauce over noodles and veggies and chicken. I’ll never be able to recreate it—hahaha!

Lake Geneva

After an 8-hour train ride from Munich, Leslie and I were pretty tired of sitting. So Natasha (our host) and her kiddos took us on a super low key walking tour of Geneva, starting with Lake Geneva and a view of the impressive Jet d’Eau. This famous fountain sits at the spot where Lake Geneva spills into the Rhône. The plume of water is 460 feet tall and flows at a rate of 130 gallons per second. Apparently, you can even see it from the air![1]

St. Pierre Cathedral

The St. Pierre Cathedral was our last cathedral in Europe. Construction of the church began in 1160, and it was the home church of the Protestant Reformer John Calvin.[2] St. Pierre was quiet and a bit plain compared to some of the other churches we had seen, but that meant it was easier to notice things like the rainbows that lit up the walls of the sanctuary as the sun came through the stained glass. Leslie and I were both a bit over cathedrals by this point in the game (simply because we had seen so many of them and they had all started to blur together in our memories), but this was a good note to end on.

The Reformation Wall

The International Monument to the Reformation is a 100m-long memorial honoring several prominent members of the Protestant Reformation[3], including John Calvin, William Farel, Theodore Beza, John Knox, and interestingly, William Cromwell. I had no idea that Cromwell had anything to do with the Reformation, but apparently, during his political career, he introduced measures to distance the Church of England even further from certain practices common in Catholicism.[4]

Promenade des Bastions

The Promenade des Bastions is a beautiful park on the grounds of the Université de Genève. It was a beautiful day, so we really enjoyed taking a leisurely stroll down the Promenade, playing on the playground with the kids, and soaking up the sunshine.

Geneva in the Details

I loved that Geneva had so many fun little details, and it was so nice to get an insider’s look at the city. And for being a major international city, Geneva didn’t feel like it. Everything felt small and intimate, and even the “rowdy” skate park (where we stopped to let our 4-year-old assistant tour guide get his energy out before heading home) was relatively quiet. We definitely enjoyed our time here, and I would gladly go back for round two.

Have you been to Geneva? What were your favorite things to see?

Read more about our my trip across Europe with Leslie here, and if you found this post useful, please share it. Thanks!

[1] Wikipedia: Jet d’Eau

[2] Wikipedia: St. Pierre Cathedral

[3] Wikipedia: The Reformation Wall

[4] Wikipedia: Oliver Cromwell

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Jess Friedman
Jess is a Canadian-American who’s always ready for the next adventure. She loves all things living, always has a million creative projects in progress, and polishes her nerd badge daily. She is passionate about helping families make and preserve treasured memories that strengthen bonds across generations. You can read more posts by Jess here.

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