Thursday, June 9, 2011

9 Jun 11 – Day 7 (Geneva, Dijon)

Got up around 6am, ate breakfast at 7am and took about half an hour. Then we took some photos around the hotel before bringing our luggage down to load into the coach. We left the hotel around 8:15am to Geneva, which a lot of people thought was the capital of Switzerland due to the many International Organizations found there. Cecilia told us that the agent in charge of making reservations for us said that refund was impossible but they could compensate us with a lunch today (which was supposedly to be on our own), engaged a local guide (couldn’t remember if it was for Geneva or Paris) and the River Seine cruise in Paris tomorrow. Had our toilet stop at a petrol station about 9:15am for 15 minutes and bought more chocolates and chewing gums from Coop convenient store.

Continued our journey and when we reached Geneva, the coach made several rounds around the city area trying to find the place where we were supposed to pick up the local guide. We saw the Jet d'Eau, one of the largest fountains in the world, some buildings with name of brands of watch on top, a lot of yachts docked in the lake and some monuments. After we picked up the local guide, we proceeded to an organic farm for a short tour. Due to time constrains, the owners of the farm only showed us the grape vines with tiny fruits, apple trees with red, green and yellow apples as well as cherry trees. There were normal tall growing apple trees and there were those that have their branches forced to grow downwards so that it would be easier for the farmers to harvest the apples. We also saw that there were nets over the grape vines and the low-growing apple trees, the farmer said that the nets are used to protect the fruits from being bruised by whatever that may fall from the sky. We were told that we could pick the cherries off the trees to eat and so Kim did just that. I wasn’t tall enough to reach so could only be contented to be fed with the cherries she picked and be photographed.

Jet d'Eau

Buildings with name of brands of watch
Many yachts docked in the lake

Some photos taken during the organic farm visit :

One of the farm owners climbed the ladder and picked cherries for the members to eat. Fresh cherries tasted good, soft and sweet than those sold in the supermarkets. After that, we were brought to a small house where they sell their own apple juices and other organic products. Each of us was given a small cup of apple juice to taste and it was tasty.

Owners of the farm

Apple juice

We were then hurried onto the coach to continue with the Geneva city tour and along the way saw a building that looked like a church but in fact is a pre-school, the building for World Intellectual Property Organization, the building for World Trade Organization, L'horloge fleurie (Flower Clock) and some others. Finally, we made a photo stop across the Palace of Nations which serves as the home to the United Nations Office at Geneva. The area has a monumental sculpture called the Broken Chair and there was a demonstration going on so we quickly took some shots before returning to the coach.

World Intellectual Property Organization

A pre-school

World Trade Organization

 L'horloge fleurie (Flower Clock)

Palace of Nations

Broken Chair (demostration going on)

Then we moved on to have lunch in a Chinese restaurant which was said to be operated by one or one of the few Hong Kong people living in Geneva and then the local guide bade us farewell. After eating, we went off to see the Reformation Wall and took some photos then on a four hour journey to Dijon. Some members bought watches that exceeded CHF300 and so had to do tax refund. So when we reached the border, Cecilia went to the office with the members and their items to do the necessary documentation. Had a toilet break around 3pm and I bought a box of rose flavored sweets for 2.50 Euro.

The Reformation Wall :

Finally reach Dijon and we were given time to walk the town. There were lots of flags on many interesting buildings. One of them look like those olden time houses beside a modern one and that reminded me of the one I saw during my previous Europe trip. Saw a lot of mustards in different colors and flavors. They would have made very interesting souvenirs if my friends know how to appreciate mustards. I, myself, for one don’t know what food to go with mustards except for sausages.

Place de la Libération
(Liberation Square)

Philippe le Bon Tower

Carrefour du Miroir, Rue de la Libérté
(Mirror's Crossroads)


Palais des ducs de Bourgogne
(Dukes of Burgundy's Palace)

Place François Rude (François Rude Square) 

Porte Guillaume
(Guillaume Gate)

... and more mustard

When it was time, we headed back to the meeting point, which was an open space surrounded with cafés and restaurants, to wait for the coach. While waiting, a long hair Caucasian with some cardboards and water bottles walked by and stopped near our group. He started talking loudly, beating the cardboards with sticks, trying to get our attentions. We moved slowly away from him and when he got louder, we crossed the road to wait on the other side. So happened the place we stood was near a bus stop and a traffic light. It was interesting to observe that even cyclists abide by the traffic rules and stop when the red light is on.

The long hair Caucasian

We waited very long for the coach to come and while waiting, we saw that Caucasian singing loudly, jumping about, kicking his legs and whatnot. A bus came along and stopped in front of us and after it moved off, we saw policemen approaching the Caucasian and started talking to him. Another bus came along and after it moved off, the Caucasian and the policemen were gone. Soon our coach came and we went to Kyriad Restaurant for dinner.

They served us fresh tomato and cucumber as starter and none of us ate or ate very little coz we were told not to eat that due to the E Coli incident. Cecilia kept repeating that she had called up the restaurant beforehand to tell them to change the food. Then another Singapore tour group organized by one of the big tour agencies came along and they had escargots as starter. Cecilia pacified us by saying that the group paid a few hundreds extra for that and that not everyone knows how to appreciate escargots.

The restaurant and my dinner :

Done with eating and we checked into our hotels for the night. This time round, the extra bed came in the form of sofa bed and Kim took that coz it was near window and also coz the other bed was a queen size bed and I had to share it with Mag.

Thoughts: Was disappointed that we were not given time for photo stop at the Jet d'Eau and the city tour was really brief and quick that I do not remember what I have seen or what some buildings really look like coz the coach moved too fast. Was also disappointed that we didn’t get to spend enough time in the farm and see animals.

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