28 May 2008

The man with the fedora - in 3 languages

Sunday we went to see the new Indiana Jones movie.

We had done our homework and went to a cinema that showed the original version (version originale) and not a dubbed French one (version française). So we were of course expecting French subtitles but a little puzzled that they ALSO ran German subtitles.

It is a good thing that they didn't show all four official languages because then we doubt we could have seen any of the beautifully aging Indy in action.

26 May 2008

Beach ball

As some of our readers will probably be aware, Switzerland and Austria are hosting this year's European soccer championship. We can't remember which matches (and when) will be played here in Geneva, but maybe we can't help but notice later - we have been warned that the nearby Plainpalais "square" will be one of the places where fans will gather when the time comes.

But prior to the event, the city is trying to catch people's attention by suspending a giant soccer ball over the famous jet d'eau. Rumor has it that in certain (lucky) circumstances it looks like the ball is being held up in the air by the jet of water, but we have only seen it as it is on this picture or floating on the surface of the lake.

25 May 2008

Swiss mailboxes

When you enter the main entrance to our building you're standing with a battery of mailboxes on either side. The colour is the for the Swiss postal service so classical yellow and the design is characterised by the eighties' partiality for cubism and staggered levels. Notice also that unlike most American mailboxes there's a small slot through which the mail is deposited while one needs a key to open the door and retrieve the mail. We still haven't figured out what the slightly larger, unlocked room below each mailbox is for.

Geneva 2.0

Due to the way the administrative units are laid out it isn't particularly easy to get a definitive number for many people are living in Geneva. City of Geneva is listed as 185,000, the canton of Geneva as 450,000, while the Geneva area - including 9 more or less independent cities - runs to some 610,000. Some of these 9 cities are clearly part of what is the Geneva city, while other cities have a least of bit of open land between them and Geneva. All in all, we've been debating how big the city appears to us. At first, it seems a little smaller than Copenhagen, but this could primarily be because it doesn't sprawl across the same number of suburbs, since in the central city we keep finding neighborhoods with a downtown feeling to them. So maybe it's closer to Copenhagen in size after all.

An interesting phenomenon in the city is the lack of differences in the buildings from one neighborhood to the next. Apartment buildings from the twenties, the fifties, and the sixties/seventies are found door by door, whether one is in a richer neighborhood, downtown or in cheaper residential areas.

But despite this lack of physical differences the neighborhoods between, it's quite easy to sense if one is in a boring banking area (apologies to the banking readers, but even you have to admit that your profession seldomly contributes much to the dynamic cityscape), or in the 'red light district' (for obvious reasons), or in the expensive shopping streets (if for no other reasons, then just by watching the shoppers), or in the more anonymous residential areas.

13 May 2008


This past Saturday we rode our bikes to the junction (called 'Jonction') of the cloudy Arve river and the clear Rhône, which gives a fantastic effect (click on the photos for a larger view):

08 May 2008


We are currently very busy collecting and assembling furniture and generally unpacking our things from California but now that summer seems to have arrived in Geneva, we would like to introduce the view from our new balcony.

The water is the Arve River which is a lot more turbulent that the lazy Danish waters. It does also receive its water from the glaciers of the Chamonix valley approximately 100 km away but then the Arve does not become much longer. Further 'down the street' it flows into the Rhone.

01 May 2008

Environs of Geneva

One just knows that France is in close proximity when the neighbourhood houses this kind of sign:

And actually, we are within biking distance from France.
Here we have biked for about 10 minutes from our temporary accommodation, which might be located on the outskirts of Geneva, but it is actually a French road on the other side of the fence.
(And yes, there are more approachable border crossings at the end of other roads..)

We are not far from Italy either - this traffic sign indicates the distance to Turin as well as Milan:

And we are not gonna make a secret of the fact that we have looked forward to this proximity to both France and Italy, since it appeals to some fabulous weekend get-aways.

Sunny sunday

Those of you whom we have been in touch with during our first month here in Geneva probably know that we haven't felt all too well received by the Swiss spring weather. Gloomy days with rain all day long and chilly temperatures have urged us to reconsider the great idea of returning to Europe.

However, it must in all fairness be noted that we have also had some absolutely wonderful days here weatherwise. The day we arrived, we were surprised that the weather was quite similar to that we had just left i SF (albeit that day was exceptional at the time of year according to the locals) and after the first few weeks of rain, the weather has improved. Last Sunday the early morning was even so warm that we could eat breakfast on the patio.