"You can never have a second chance to make a first impression"
So true. Having spent a month here my views on the city and life in Switzerland have changed a bit. Not a lot, mind you, they've just got a bit more ... thorough... Kinda like dating someone. The more you get to know the person the fonder (and more realistic) your emotions can grow. This is exactly how my initial crush on the place and lifestyle has transformed into real love. Yess, we do have our rows from time to time -- but we always reach some compromise. And the passion's still there to last.
What first caught me and still makes me smile is the general atmosphere. During those first days I kept telling my friends that life in Geneva was as clean and proper as in any German town, as stylish and refined as in the nicest parts of France and as sunny, lively and easygoing as in a small Italian town. And it still amazes me. Trams, trains and buses are all surprisingly punctual. Food is gooooood and folks are so cutely dressed (I'll ravel on that a bit later...). And they're ever so nice and easygoing. Well, certainly you can see a sour face here or there or get a bark from the other side of the counter -- but it's just so much easier to handle in such a friendly atmosphere.
I don't really want to go on about the city. I've been in pretty big cities and lived in one for almost 25 years. I'm definitely a city girl though I do love hiking. But I'd feel completely lost and ill at ease in a smaller town. In fact, Geneva's surprisingly small. Till I got used to public transport lines and their timetables I used to go everywhere (yes I know) on foot. I'd done the same in Nice and Glasgow and had no problem with it in Geneva either. Got anywhere in 30-45 minutes. OK, I didn't go to Bout de Monde (World's End) but still. So it's not a huge city.
What I've always loved about big towns was the fact that everything is within reach, you can fulfill your craziest wishes in an instant and it's never really boring. On the other hand I've always hated huge herdish crowds (think city center malls on a Saturday morning) and the smog.
I've found Geneva perfect. The crowds are easy to avoid (just don't enter that one particular mall) and compared to Budapest, my hometown, the air is crystal clear. And it has all the fun too, only due to its size you don't even have to stretch your arm so far =)
I promised a bite for the fashion minded. Well, here it is.
I don't know how to categorize Genevan style. Its most remarkable feature would be that it's personal. There are masses of people everywhere who just put on a sweatsuit for shopping in the morning. And those who wear the full attire displayed in a shopwindow. I ignore them when I think of style so I'll do the same here.
Genevan style is personal in the way that stylish people all add their own touch to their outfit. You can see women in ballerina pumps and leggings but their dress or tunique or sweater would be one of a kind. The same goes for coats and scarfs. I can always see an item or two that I envy so much but I know I could never find one like it in a high street store.
Again, I won't go on about food. I owe you a post on the Café du Soleil and their inimitable fondu. I'll save the praise. But gosh I love Swiss food!
OK, I think I've written about all my first impressions. In a retrospective way. They can never be the same as they were those first days. But I tried to keep my more particular experiences for later posts. This is just to give you all a hint what it feels like to be here.
Good night. Sleep tight.