Sojourn in Switzerland

The charming cities of Nyon and Geneva become the setting for a  fantastic European stopover.

The country known for its luxury watches, fine chocolate and quality cheeses was a place in the world I’d not yet been to, although it’s one I’ve wanted to tick off the list for some time. I had the opportunity of visiting by way of a last minute business trip, I knew I wouldn’t have the chance to see much of the place while being there on business so I extended the return flight to stay out for the weekend so I could really take the place in – and I’m pleased as punch that I did!

When you come in to land at Geneva airport you get the most stunning views of the mountainous region and of course, Lake Geneva, so be sure to choose a window seat. The first place I visited was Nyon which is only a short 20 minute drive from the airport, which by the way, is no ordinary drive. My face was stuck to the window looking out at the mountains and the lake which is near enough visible the whole way and at that time of year the greenery is outstanding; a stark contrast to what we’re used to in Bahrain! I should also add that the air is so clean and fresh, which is something I took for granted having lived in Europe for 22 years and only came to appreciate once I’d experienced a summer living in the Middle East.

I couldn’t stop thinking how if I lived in that region what a great way for your early morning cardio – taking a long swim in Lake Geneva.

Nyon, located 25km north east of Geneva city centre, is a beautiful traditional Swiss town that gives you a real ‘European’ feel, it has an array of grade A restaurants with ‘al fresco’ dining areas next to the lake which takes the dining experience to another level (weather permitting!). One of the mornings I hired a bike and cycled all over, after a while I stopped at a small beach area next to the lake, stripped off and dived in. The temperature was perfect and it was really refreshing, the water is so clear and clean… I couldn’t stop thinking how if I lived in that region what a great way for your early morning cardio – taking a long swim in Lake Geneva. I’d recommend anyone to check out Nyon even just for a day for the sake of a short journey from Geneva, it’s one of those places of outstanding beauty but any longer than 3-4 days being a tourist – you’d probably get bored. Certainly if you’re younger.

Next stop: Geneva; certainly has a lot more city feel with a lot more to do. Being a tourist the first place I visited was CERN, which is the European Organization for Nuclear Research and is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research and home to some of the top scientists in the world. For what it’s cracked up to be – I was slightly disappointed, the visiting/tourist is small and wasn’t what I was expecting… especially after spending half an hour on a tram to reach it. For me, the thing I enjoyed most in this city was something that doesn’t cost anything; the scenery, the lake and the architecture. I spent numerous hours walking and taking it all in… even in the rain.

With no hesitation I can say that I will be visiting Switzerland again and what I would say to anyone that is planning on going who has not yet been there; try to take more spending money than you normally would, it is the most expensive place I have been to yet. There is no escape from the high prices, even if you try saving money on a lunch and hit up one of the fast food chains – I paid nearly triple what I’d pay in Bahrain/UK for a burger, fries and a drink!

charlie@gulf-insider.com

cooksey_uk

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