Thursday, May 13, 2010

Missing in Action!

Hi all!

I just wanted to let you know that I will be off doing my favorite thing for 2 weeks, so I might not be able to have access to the internet!

I will come back with more exciting things to share!

In the meantime, take care!

PS: I have added a couple of photos to The Godfather entry. The restaurant setting looks nice, doesn't it? :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

La Vie Genèvoise...

It's about time I wrote about where I live - Geneva, Switzerland! While most people may feel that Switzerland is a dream country to visit, let alone live in, having lived here for the past 8 years, I can tell you that it is not always a bed of roses. Life here is quite different from other places I have lived in and getting used to the culture and the high living costs can take time. Nevertheless, with Switzerland being centrally located in Europe, having access to other countries in the region is fairly easy. The infrastructure and transport system is also good and well maintained. And, one thing that impresses me about this country is the way people from different cultures (French, Germans, Italians, foreigners) live in harmony (much like Singapore). It is always a delight to go through the typical Swiss experience - cute chalets, gigantic mountains, vast lakes, picturesque villages, cheese and more cheese and of course chocolate. Most of these are part of my life here, and you can read on to find out more about what I do during different times of the year.

In my opinion, the best time to be in Geneva (other than if you love skiing and other winter sports) is during summer. The usually quiet city suddenly comes alive when the sun is out and I can actually spot people walking around town ( a rare sight the rest of the year!)

Geneva's icon, the jet d'eau (water jet) is the first thing visitors would notice. It is especially beautiful in the summer and you can even go really close to it and get drenched! During this season, you can also rent paddle boats and relax on the lake. The Lake Geneva is just a few minutes walking distance from where I live.

Align Center
The next most famous icon of Geneva is the flower clock. The decoration changes according to the season, and here is how it looks during the summer!

With Geneva being the "peace capital", the United Nations and other non-governmental organizations call it their home. The broken chair is a symbol of opposition to land mines and cluster bombs and was re-installed in Geneva in 2007 to serve as a reminder to politicians and visitors. I am also proud that there is a nice statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a quiet park. Jai Hind! As you can see from the photos, I rented a bike from Geneve Roule for free and biked around the area to enjoy the tranquility of these parks!
I love the old town area of Geneva as the layout of this place is so beautiful and charming. One of the best things to do (I usually do this when I have visitors) is to climb up the steep and winding paths and stairways of Cathedrale St Pierre to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of Geneva. It is exhausting, but well worth it!

Here are some photos of a commercial area in the old town at night. Love it! Can you see how the ground sparkles? That's because it has many tiles that are lit up with short messages in several languages. If you have time to kill you could walk around each of these tiles to read the messages!

As I mentioned before, I also love relaxing in Parc des Bastions. It is one of the most ideal locations for family time, strolls and picnics!

And finally, see how pretty the old town is during the fall season! I love the color of the leaves - brings so much life to the city!
I will keep you updated if I do anything interesting in Geneva! Hope you enjoyed reading about my life here!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Café Papon

In Geneva, the Parc des Bastions and old town areas are my favorite areas of the city. Nestled between these two is a restaurant by the name of Café Papon. The restaurant is set in the edge of old town, on the way to the park, and during the summer, people can sit in the terrace and enjoy the nice view of the park.
I checked to see if they offered a vegetarian menu and was delighted to find out that they did. So, naturally, I planned an F² there.

My verdict: The food was very creatively displayed and tasted very good. The staff service was exceptional, something very rare these days! The only thing I would change about this place is update its interior decor. The setting has a very canteen like ambience and is old fashioned, so definitely something can be done to make it more modern and charming.

My rating: 7.75/10.

Check out the photos of Café Papon:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spring in Montreux

Whenever we have family or friends visiting us in Geneva, we usually bring them to Montreux. Montreux is one of my favorite places in Switzerland, as it has amazing natural beauty with the vast Lake Geneva and the mountains surrounding it. I especially love the low lying clouds around the mountain-makes it look so mystical!

This weekend, my in-laws were here for a visit, so we brought them to Montreux. On the way, we stopped for a few minutes by a lakeside town called Lutry and walked around for a while. It is a very pretty town, just the way I like it with cobble stoned streets.

We continued on to Montreux. The city itself is very nice to walk around. Going for a stroll by the lake is a popular pastime amongst locals and every time I go to Montreux, there are always different plant sculptures which are very interesting to see. This time round, the theme was the movie, Madagascar. The displays were so cute!

Montreux is especially beautiful during the spring. The vibrant colors of the flowers are really eye catching and further enhance the beauty of the place. You can see for yourself here!

We also were lucky to see a bike race taking place. Cyclists were gathered to take off from their starting point in Montreux, and cars with cheese and horse sculptures were busy parading the streets. It was quite a sight indeed! The usually quiet city had fast become bustling with activity!

Some of the sponsors spotted us looking on excitedly and made quick stops to hand out some goodies! Getting free stuff is always a thrill and this time we got some chocolates, baseball caps and large hands!

All in all, it was a fun time going back to Montreux yet again. If you do plan to come to French part of Switzerland, Montreux is a must see!!!


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