Summer in Geneva: is there escape?

When it is 30C plus with high humidity for days and then weeks on end, it’s hard for anybody from Australia to comprehend that Geneva is not prepared or set up for the relentless heat. Buildings are not designed for it. Airconditioning is all but non-existent.

(1) Buy a portable airconditioner. I’ve yet to try this. Downsides include: noise which will upset neighbours, having to keep the window open and patch it up with something that looks dreadful, needs to be powerful enough to make an impact. Expense – but all options have expense attached except maybe…..

(2) Go to the lake – if you are in shade in the greener settings around the lake that can be okay.

(3) A tiny number of cafes have aircon. Basically if they sell chocolates, then they don’t have a choice about this. Martel is okay. Auer, also on Condederation is okay sometimes, though we went there on a very hot day recently and they only had the door open.

(4) I hear that the cafeteria in Coop on Confederation is okay. Manor’s is not. The Station is unpleasant. The airport is better than the Station but not great. Bongenie’s lounge on the 6th floor isn’t fabulously airconditioned, but it is bearable. I haven’t been to their cafe on the 4th floor in summer.

(5) Posh hotels are very hit and miss. In general they are only a tiny bit better than being in non-airconditioned places. The Beau-Rivage on the lake has a chilled foyer area with seating, but the bar is much warmer. I sweated whilst having a cold drink there recently. Having tried The Four Seasons in summer, it hasn’t good enough airconditioning to get me back, nor The Metropole or The Mandarin. The McGallery was about the same. You walk into all these places and they feel cooler, but within a few minutes you realise the difference just isn’t enough.

(6) I have no idea if any of the pubs have aircon. In Australia they’d be a refuge, but I suspect here they aren’t.

The cinemas I’ve been to in this heat are generally horrible. The Grutli’s main cinema is not bad, but the outside part, reception etc is as dire as everywhere else. I’ve never been to a restaurant with proper aircon here. Yomo’s just off the lake near Jardin Anglais is as good as I’ve noticed. I’d sweat still (I know, I’ve been there and done that), others mightn’t.

So there it is. There are no good solutions. There are only options which aren’t quite as bad as the others.

Yvoire revisited.

So, we did all the things one does in Yvoire…We picnicked, we strolled, one ate icecream…looked at some really really bad taste tourist shops – what’s that about the French and style?

Then, time for a drink. I’m not saying Yvoire was boring, but a French couple snapped this shot of us and asked if we wanted copies:

Oh, the excitement of it all.

Thank heavens we are too far away for the dribble to show.

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.