After visiting Annecy’s attractions on a rainy day, on the next day we woke up in our hotel disappointed because… it was raining again!
We decided on a “day trip to Geneva”. We have been there at least three times… Anyway, all our previous visitings to Geneva happened in winter as a “overnight stop” after long international flights, usually on our way to ski slopes in Zermatt, Courchevel, etc.
The distance between Annecy and Geneva is approximately 70km. I didn’t want to feel the stress of driving under heavy rain, so we opted for a train trip.
The train ticket is cheap (11 Euros each way by passenger). The unique possible schedule was: board on the 10.30AM train from Annecy to Eaux-Vives and return at 7.30pm by bus from Eaux-Vives to Annecy.
Inside the train on our way to Geneva
The trip by train takes around 60 minutes as the train stops in many little towns along the way.
The views are not “special”. I would say they are rather “regular” .
Our disappointment began when we arrived at Eaux-Vives “train station” . That shit is not a train station! It is only a shit! There is no information office, there is no information billboard, there are no toilettes, there is NOTHING there.
It doesn’t look like Switzerland. It looks like some train station in a 3rd world country.
Outside the train station there is a ticket machine where it’s possible to buy tram tickets. Possible? Not for us! The machine doesn’t accept bills (Euros or Swiss bills, it doesn’t matter). The tram ticket machine only accepts COINS. Swiss coins.
We had to go to “Bureau du Change” (this is unique “service” offered at the train station) in order to change money.
The guy who works at the “Bureau the Change” was as polite as a furious monkey.
Anyway, after paying commission to have Swiss coins, we bought our tickets to tram number 16 (the one that goes to downtown Geneva from Eaux-Vives).
It cost 10 SFR for each of us, for an “all day” ticket.
Considering that we only used it in two trips, we found it expensive.
We got off the train when we saw the “Jet d’ Eau” . After taking pictures we went to search for Geneva Tourist Office in order to have some local maps.
Jet d’ Eau, Geneva
It is a shame that Geneva, a city frequently reported as “an important city in Europe” has no information regarding how to get to the Tourist Office!
There was a lot of road work going on, so it was tough to walk along the streets and public squares.
After following arrows pointing to the Train Station we went Cointrin Train Station where we were informed that… there’s NO TOURIST OFFICE booth there!!!
Come on…. an office to give information for tourists is quite common in ALL train stations around Europe. They don’t have this in Cointrin??? Shame on you, Geneva!
After entering in a few hotel lobbies to ask for directions, we were told to go to the “Post Building” where we would find the Tourist Office.
There we went.
Long line and only TWO people to receive MANY travelers!
I can not believe that a small town like Annecy has more than five people welcoming travelers and providing information at the Tourist Office, and on the other hand, a large city like Geneva has only TWO people working!?!?
The guy working at Geneva Tourist Office should be working anywhere but in Tourism. He was unfriendly, answered our few questions monossyllabically and gave us a map as if he was doing a “huge favor” .
Where NOT to eat:
It was lunch time but we were so “pissed off” with the terrible train station and the poor service at the Tourist Office that we had no appetite for a fancy restaurant.
We decided to eat “anywhere”.
We went to Manors, a shopping store with several floors, where the food is reasonable and usually good _ at least in Zurich it is.
The restaurant is located on the 4th floor in a crowded place.
The “plat du jour ” (risotto avec crevettes) was already “sold out” . We decided on a small piece of chicken breast with vegetables. It was TERRIBLE. No taste at all. NO salt, no olive oil, no onions…. no nothing. It was worst than eating in a Hospital. It cost 40 SFR for the two of us (without dessert and we only drank one can of soda). I felt like been assaulted.
Old Town and gardens with ugly wood fences
After leaving Manor we went to explore the Old Town attractions using the map we picked up at the Tourist Office. We went basically to see the same attractions where we have been in previous visits. The difference is that this time it was summer and we didn’t need our heavy coats.
As everyone knows, gardens are usually public spaces where it’s possible to admire flowers and take pictures of them. Not in Geneva.
In Geneva almost ALL public gardens have a FENCE around them!!! It is IMPOSSIBLE to take a good picture of a garden and its flowers with a FENCE between the camera and the subject!!!
Why they have the fences? Because if they don’t will people pick up the flowers? Because people’s dogs will pee on the flowers? I don’t know…
Looks like people are not polite in Geneva and they will destroy the flowers if there’s no fences there?
Again, it is like I would expect a garden to be in a 3rd world country. NEVER in Switzerland.
Continuing our tour around the Old Town of Geneva we stopped by Place du Bourg de Four. We have been to this restaurant a couple of years ago, where we had a delicious meal. At the side of the restaurant there’s a small store selling delicious pastries! Unfortunately the store was closed. Usually I would say “next time” but I must confess that a return trip to Geneva is not in our plans.
After our tour through “Old Town” we took the tram back to Eaux-Vives train station.
One more thing that is bad about Eaux-Vives train station:The tram does NOT stop there!
It’s necessary to have some French skills in order to understand that SNCF is “near” the station. When you get off the tram there is NO information (even in French) about HOW TO GET to Eaux-Vives Train Station. We had to ask more than once, in our poor French, how to get to Eaux-Vives. The bus to Annecy departs near the station.
Open letter to Geneva’s Mayor:
Please do something to IMPROVE your city. Geneva is located in Switzerland!!!
ALL public toilets were a complete MESS. Near St Peter Church, a place with tourists coming from all over the world, the public toilets were worse than in ALL “poor cities” I have been before.
I should have taken pictures of what I saw there, but the scenes were so disgusting that I did not have the stamina for that. In one of the toilets I was entering, the girls who were leaving (they looked like Swedish or Norwegian) told me: “Be aware…. it is very dirty inside” . In fact it was.
A mess like that in Switzerland?????? Give me a break!
THANKS LORD we took the bus and left dirty Geneva and returned to Annecy.
Unless in the future we decide to go again to Zermatt or Courchevel and NEED an overnight stay in Geneva we will go there… otherwise Geneva will not see us for the next FIFTY YEARS. Merci.