Expensive Ducks in Geneva
As we drove through the tunnels, I serenaded my boyfriend with one of those really sad Adele songs; he loved it, I swear. We were on our way to Geneva after having stayed the night in Mulhouse, France. Do I sound like a travel snob? I was really looking forward to going back to Switzerland, after stopping in Lucerne and Basel on our way to Tuscany last year. There’s your travel snobbery. Once we got to the other side of the mountains the sun suddenly came out from behind the clouds, and chose to bestow upon us the powers of Vitamin D (in Netherlands we don’t get a lot of this.)
Driving into the center of Geneva, I put on some of that fancy elevator type music to match the luxurious atmosphere of the city; similar to how you listen to Dean Martin when you drive into Italy. All around us were expensive cars, expensive stores, expensive food, expensive people, expensive dogs, expensive grass, expensive ducks; you get the idea. You will feel like a poor person here, no question about it. We even had a glimpse of what I thought was the U.N. building! It wasn’t.
My Summer House in Lake Como
We parked our car, and studied the many watch advertisements lining the escalator walls on our way to the top. I got embarrassingly excited when I spotted the Rolex store in the distance. Across the bridge I saw Tiffany and Co. To the right of that was Louis Vuitton. Down below the bridge, floating in the water was my ego and my bank account having a laugh at my expense. Jan and I decided to take a little stroll along Lake Geneva, and I tried to look like I fit in. It’s a funny thing about this city; everyone looks like they are trying to belong there, and I never saw anyone who looked like they actually did. I was tempted to start talking very loudly about how my summer house in Lake Como is being renovated, and now I have to stay in Geneva instead. George Clooney offered to let me stay with him, but he’s just a little clingy for my taste.
We walked out to a long path heading towards Le Jet d’Eau, a fountain by the edge of the lake that pumps 500 liters of water per second into the air. It wasn’t decorated or anything, but was a machine shooting water super high. Being a couple of tourists in Geneva, we found this fascinating and took many pictures. Like most people, when I’m visiting a foreign country, you could tell me a certain pickle is special, and I’ll stare and take a picture of it. I took picture after picture of the Alps rising up over the city as if they were situated on the roofs of the buildings.
Five Euro Coke
We continued our walk along the lake in a romantic fashion, making eyes at each other, and kissing. We were in full vacation mode. Although I grab Jan’s butt every day, so our relationship is like one big, perpetual honeymoon. I grab his butt, he grabs my boob; it’s in public, and people stare. Ah yes, young love.
We sat down at a cafe terrace for a coffee and a coke. I needed some energy if I was going to continue to count the number of Range Rovers I spotted. My coke was 5 Euros; I laugh/cried as I gave the waitress my card and she looked at me with concern; I’m sure it’s not the first time that has happened to her. I made sure to go back and drink every bit of that coke, and eat the ice.
Peasants Not Welcome
We walked by the Four Seasons Hotel and every expensive car you can imagine was parked out front. High-end hotels love to leave fancy cars out front, so the peasants know not to come in. I saw a Bentley for the first time in my life, however, my boyfriend had to explain to me that the B was for Bentley and not Bugatti. What can I say ? My female mind has only memorized Chanel, Jimmy Choo, and Louis Vuitton.
Geneva was a much bigger city than we had originally anticipated. When we got near the old section we could hear too many honking horns, and saw lots of buses and trams going by. The buildings along the edge of the busier section are what appealed to me most. I felt like I was in Paris for a minute, and even spotted Laduree. I was kind enough to save my boyfriend the embarrassment of having to sit in a pink, macaroon filled room while I took a million Instagram pictures. We decided it was a better idea to stay on the path around the lake, and eventually ended up in a park. We took a seat on a bench with a view of the sun setting behind the Alps over the lake.
A Diamond Ring
Then, it happened. My boyfriend proposed. Getting a Dutch guy to propose at all, let alone after less than two years together is a huge deal. Most couples in Netherlands have a house, 1.5 kids, a minivan and a golden retriever before they get married if they ever do it at all. But, I found the Holy Grail of Dutch men. The traditional Dutch man who wants to get married.
At first I thought it was a joke, and was a little scared to shout “YES!” only to have him pull out a necklace. He said some beautiful words to me, and shaking with nerves in the most adorable way, got down on one knee, and pulled out a big white box with a diamond inside. And just like that, we were engaged.
A Facebook Bitch
As we walked down the promenade, with the sun setting over the lake and mountains next to us, I held on to his arm, feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. I made sure my hand was on display for everyone to see. I felt the warm wind on my face, and looked up at my new fiance, and felt completely content. It was one of those vacation moments that almost makes you sad because one day it will be over. Also, I get to be one of those Facebook bitches who tells everyone I’m engaged now! Hah!
That night we booked a hotel online that was across the border in Cessy, France. It was super affordable and we actually ended up being the only people staying in the house of a British couple. It was furnished beautifully with our own bedroom, bathroom, and little living space. We went to an Italian restaurant for dinner (again!) that was just a 5 minute drive away. The front didn’t look like much but on the inside it was modern, elegant, and filled with people. So, basically an authentic Italian place. There were purple lights and black booths, with a giant aquarium in the middle of the room. I could overhear a loud American guy talking animatedly to his colleague, and giving a prime example of the annoying people that perpetuate this stereotype about us.
Once we got back to our room I immediately posted our engaged status, and sent pictures to our parents. We then proceeded to fall into a food coma.
In the morning we had big glass doors that opened on to the yard and we got a glimpse of the gorgeous Jura mountains in the distance. We were served breakfast in a lovely dining room just for the two of us! Cereals, meat, cheese, fruit, tons of coffee and orange juice. I felt a little guilty that the owner set up so much food just for us, but my Dutch man loves his free breakfast and loaded up his plate so I followed suit.
After breakfast, we had to drive home. I had big, sad eyes, and maybe a small tantrum. Road trips have always been our thing since we met though, so we consider the drive to be just as much part of our vacation as anything else.
600 Pound Married Life
On the way home, we had a couple of hours to walk around Bern, Switzerland. We stopped for a coffee at Starbucks, and admired the completely dark green city. We walked down cobblestone streets, and took in the architecture of the old buildings. It had gotten quite cold compared to the day before and my ankle length pants didn’t cover much. I had to wear my polka dot socks with ankle boots so I basically looked like a clown, but who cares? I’m a fiance now, he’s stuck with me. The episode of My 600 Pound Life featuring my story will be coming up next week.
We had a 10 hour drive home, so I made sure to entertain Jan with my musical skills once more, and then proceeded to stuff my face with Mcnuggets. I think I could get used to married life.
Restaurant We Ate At:
Pros: Great food, very modern and fancy atmosphere, and reasonable prices
Cons: The outside of the restaurant isn’t very nice, and we had no idea there was such a big, nice restaurant inside
Bed and Breakfast We Stayed At:
Pros: Lots of personal touches at this place! You don’t feel like you are just a random person in a hotel trying to make money off of you; it’s homey, and the owners make you feel very welcome. The breakfast is also amazin!
Cons: You will definitely need a car as it’s quite far into the mountains, but there are many stores and restaurants within a 5 minute drive.
My Honest Opinion:
It may make you feel a little out of place because everything is very expensive, and luxurious, but there is also a very charming side to Geneva. The lake features wide, promenade type sidewalks around the whole thing, and makes for a wonderful day of strolling around. While we didn’t really go into the center where all the buildings were, as we got close to it, that area seemed a little too busy for me.
If I were vacationing here I would stay just for a day like we did, and spend your time on the lake which is the nicest part. I also highly recommend getting a hotel and eating in France. In 20 minutes you can be across the border where prices are way more reasonable. One thing that really stood out to me about Geneva is how clean it is. Seriously, I didn’t spot one bit of trash around the lake area. This is also a great spot to propose! Men, if your girlfriend is “accidentally” leaving bridal magazines laying around then I can recommend a trip here.
Did you read about the first part of our road trip? We went to the Alsace Region of France! Check it out here!
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