This was a VERY last minute 'vacation' for us, so we did not plan for it, we just ended up there. I was able to make reservations late on Friday night to stay at the Hotel Bernina on Saturday night. We easily found a train on the SBB website to get us to Geneva in 3 hours, we hopped on the Saturday morning train and off we went. After many weekends of traveling to new cities, we've learned to always find the Tourist office first and then proceed with your trip. Doesn't matter if you have planned out your whole trip, or you are flying by the seat of your pants- find the nearest tourist office (show them your cute toddler) make friends with the guides there and you will have a much more pleasant stay. My other travel tip which I quickly learned upon our arrival in Switzerland- when traveling with a toddler, always leave the stroller at home. Bring your carrying backpack, and strap on the kid your back or let them walk. It allows you so much more freedom while touring the old parts of the city, and the kids have a great time running in all the plaza's and playing EVERY fountain you can find!
With that knowledge, we got off the train and as we were walking out of the train station, our hotel was greeting us from across the street- perfect- dropped our bags and headed to the tourist office. Our hotel kindly surprised us with a bus pass for our two day stay, which allowed us to easily get around if it got too cold.
We walked and walked and walked! Along the lake, through the Botanical Gardens, to the United Nations, and back to town.
A quick stop off at the hotel to regroup, and back to see more sights. This time we crossed the river,
looking for this grand flower clock we had read about 'don't miss the gorgeous attraction in Geneva'
Ummmm..... are we missing something? Not the stunning attraction we had in mind.
We then walked up to see St. Piere (naturally finding a carousel along the way- these seem to be in EVERY European city we're in. Ella will be a world traveled carousel rider by the year's end!)
Walked through a park, past the oldest University building in Geneva (said the swiss frenchman who took our picture) and ended up in the Theater District of the city.
The only event that I had seen on the travel website before our trip began was a Beer and Sauerkraut festival going on in Thonex. We had no idea what this would be like, but we were up for an adventure! After a twenty minute train ride to the very edge of Switzerland, we found the Salle des Fêtes where the festival was being held. First impression walking up to the door..... 'Wow, we're the youngest people here by 30-40 years.' We looked at each other and asked - well, are we going in? Hell ya, we're going in, there's beer and sauerkraut in there! Besides we came all the way out here, why not give it a try! We had stumbled right into a local community festival, and I guarantee we were the only Americans that accidentally showed up to participate in the festivities.... That being said, we had a great time. They had a band playing traditional Bavarian music, served up a good meat and sauerkraut plate, and the beer and wine was good too. We enjoyed the music, and they played the same 'toasting' song that we learned while in Oktoberfest, so we felt right at home. What was entertaining for us, was that we took a trip to the French sector, and ended up at a Bavarian festival complete with dirndls and liederhosen, classic Fillmores.
Sunday consisted of more touring the city and a train ride home. Ella LOVED every minute of the trip, including the train rides to and from Geneva. I can easily say the festival was her favorite part because of the music. She danced and danced, and even got her dad to get up and dance with her. Prost! (cheers!)