I always find long, overseas flights a little unnerving. There’s the logistics of the travel, but moreover, it’s the sense of being out of control and completely reliant on the crew and technology transporting me. Working in software and understanding our human nature keeps me a little on edge when I travel. But, the excitement of a new adventure is often enough to distract me and my ability to adjust to the flight, sleep and etc, typically makes the flight go by even faster. Not on this flight, however.
Sitting next to me is a woman with her 1 year old daughter. They are home-bound, but living in Kansas city. The child is absolutely adorable and the mom, quite reasonable in managing her. Still, despite the mother’s reassurance that the child travelled well, the girl fussed and cried and in general, posed a challenge in many different and unexpected ways. Having traveled a fair bit, I was able to navigate this situation and even managed a few hours sleep. It wasn’t the best start to my trip, but then on these types of adventures, one must be prepared for anything! Thank goodness I brought earplugs.
Arriving in Geneva, the day is beautiful and customs and baggage claim go smoothly. I am tired but eager to meet with my cousin, Galen, and his girlfriend, Mary. They are both here working for the summer and only have a few weeks left before returning Stateside. I am excited to have this opportunity to visit and even planned to participate in the Bouldering World Cup in Munich later in the week.
Logistical note: Catching the train in Geneva is trivial. Follow signs in the airport to train (in english) and there you are! You can buy your ticket on the upper platform at a desk with a person or at a machine, but I suggest you buy it online and save a few CHF. Also, this avoids the need to get any cash at the airport if you don’t want to. There are plenty of ATMs just outside of baggage claim, best to use it to get some cash for food and such. SBB is the main train system and you can buy your train ticket in advance at sbb.ch. Train fare at the station costs about 5 francs more. There lots of options for discounted train fares depending on how long you plan to visit and what you want to do. It’s all there on that site. Some tickets lock you into a specific train at a specific time, other fares are more flexible and open. I bought the least expensive train fare to Lausanne, but it meant I had to commit to a specific train and time. To give myself enough time from flight arrival to train departure, I picked a train almost an hour later than my flight arrival. This turned out to be plenty of time for me. I was able to get a coffee, do some internet and look for a SIM card, which I never found at the airport and bought at the train depot in Lausanne for 10 CHF. The train to Lausanne takes anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes–depending on the type of train and time of day.
Mary is working this day. She has a presentation late in the afternoon so Galen and I drop stuff at their apartment and head out to their favorite crag, St. Triphon, to climb. Mary will join us later. The sun is out and it’s kind of warm but we are very excited so off we go. It turns out Galen has never been to St. Triphon by train and we miss our stop. The climbing guidebook is in French but it’s not purely the reason we got lost. The map in the book is a little cryptic and we do the best we can. An hour and a phone call or two to Mary later, and we finally arrive at the crag. The sun is blazing and the rock is HOT. Our climbing session is short and I’m tired. I take in the sights and marvel at the history of this little mountain. We meet Mary by coincidence at the train stop as she heads out to climb and we head back for food.
I’m completely exhausted but somehow still awake. Mary has suggested we eat at Cafe Romand on Place Saint-Francois for my first Fondue and Galen says it’s the best he’s ever had and it wasn’t too pricey. I make it the whole day and pass out as soon as I hit the pillow late that night.
You can find more photos on my webshots photo site.