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Geneva, can we just be friends?

Geneva Switzerland by Bill

Geneva, please believe me when I say that it's not you, it's me.

I know you're an interesting city. Everybody says so. How could I argue? Just look at you: Charming Old Town, manicured lakeside gardens, saintly international human rights organizations, stately museums, exotic restaurants...

My goodness, you even have your very own ground-breaking sub-atomic particle research facility, not to mention an extremely tall fountain and world-class souvenir shops over-flowing with actual Swiss-made pocketknives and watches.

Geneva Switzerland by Bill

So why do you always leave me feeling like I've just shaken hands with a dead fish?

What is it about one city that locks us into its tractor beam, and another that leaves us distinctly unmagnetized?

Paris had me before our first glass of wine, San Francisco before our first bookstore, Barcelona before our first sunny plate of tapas. And each of these cities has only felt more electric, the better I've come to know them. Why?

Likewise Zürich. The first time I walked out from the train station, I felt like someone had just unfolded a fantastical pop-up storybook. I’ve found stories ranging from medieval gothic folktales to über urban street life.

One word for "Züri": Culture
One word for Geneva: Commerce.


Geneva Switzerland by Bill

Of course, Geneva, I know you have your seductive neighborhoods: Old Town, Carouge, Les Grottes and the nearby "beach" at Paquis, the parks spreading out from the Musée d'Histoire des Sciences.

Your city center train station, Cornavin, is also interesting, looking ever better as it continues to undergo perpetual improvement.

And of course, it has lots of departing trains.

Geneva Switzerland by Bill

Bill Harby

An award-winning freelance writer, editor and photographer based in Neuchâtel and Volcano, Hawai‘i, Bill is frequently called upon to be "funny." His stories have garnered him a select coterie of loyal readers and legions of others who couldn't care less. For more of Bill’s work:


  • Your words make me smile. I’ve been to Geneva a few times and remember lots of cool bars, clean AND Expensive! I don’t think I would go out of my way for a return visit, but would be happy to explore other parts of Switzerland.

  • Tia, you’re absolutely right, there ARE cool bars and other spots in GE, but, somehow, for me … meh.

    You gotta check out Zürich!

Bill Harby

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