Summer in Geneva means layabouts on the lake.

Layabouts on the lake. Just hanging around, not a job between them, and you are expected to give, give, give. It’s so not how I expected Switzerland to be.

Feeding ducks

Feeding ducks

Feeding ducks


Summer in Geneva means thieves. Sigh.

My side of the lake, anyway. I was organising insurance yesterday. The girl was adamant that I needed Paquis handbag insurance. They pay up when your handbag gets snatched, an odds on occurrence, or so it feels…my side of the lake. I explained to her that I already had a solution. I don’t take my handbag anywhere unless I really have to. And if I really have to, it will never be because I’m heading Paquis way.

I’ve watched too many robberies or attempted robberies along the lakeside. You’ve bypassed the buskers. You’ve given a wide berth to the monte tricksters. You think you are safe now. But just when you thought it was safe to walk along the water….You’ve fallen for the hustle to get to your wallet. The pretend wrestle to get you to the ground. Well, no, nobody is going to bite at that, surely. But the fake fight two of them stage. They fall against you – accidentally, of course, they don’t even know they are there….

Oh, but they do. You see your wallet is missing. You yell. Your mates start the chase but these guys are way too fast. They don’t have a chance.

Seriously. If you carry a handbag around the lake, Paquis handbag insurance is the way to go.

Summer in Geneva means hustlers. Sigh.

The hustlers aren’t really as bad as the buskers. A little group of them will set up the three card monte. In case you don’t know how it works, one guy manipulates the 3 boxes ineptly, so that the blind man outside Hoyts can see where the ‘lady’ is. One of his stooges bets and wins, of course, and ‘collects.’ Hey, that’s easy.

I find it hilarious that the group I walk past each day has the same woman as one of the accomplices. Even the first time I went past it was obvious she wasn’t real. Way too hard bitten to be an innocent tourist having fun. This gang needs more turnaround in its employees.

I’m kind of surprised that this is allowed in Switzerland.

Summer in Geneva means buskers. Sigh.

Make sure you come back, but take a moment to click on this: What buskers look like in other parts of the world

Not in Geneva. In Geneva, buskers are beggars dressed up with instruments. They have almost none of the required skills to make listening to their noise bearable. At the end of playing in front of a trapped outside-restaurant or coffee shop audience, they try to make you give them money. Sort of like it is their right. How dare you sit there exploiting their generous love of music without coughing up. Once we were being forced to listen to one such busker singing in Italian. The girl I was with burst out laughing because he was so dreadful. Sure enough, an Italian passed by and spent a few moments trying to teach him how to say the words properly. No charge.

Even worse, they do this on busses/trams, so you have no opportunity to escape the offensive sounds, whilst at the same time when they demand their payment, it is harder to tell them where to go.

Geneva is an incredibly beautiful place in summer, but it also means being harrassed on all sides. More on this to come.