Geneva has a dear place in my heart. I got to live in it for a bit over a year, and the people I met, the places I visited, the food I tried, made me who I am nowadays. I must confess, Switzerland was not easy. I moved to Switzerland, in a very small town called Vevey, 2 months before the Covid-19 Pandemic hit. I had many plans, dreams, expectations -- but life seemed to have other plans.
I arrived there thinking I would stay for a year complete a Masters in Business Administration in EU Business School, A super international programs, with campuses around Europe was going to be the perfect exposure for my International Marketing career in Europe. Instead, I discovered my passion, my moment of peace, my therapy, I found my love for cooking. At the beginning of the pandemic, due to the quarantine, I was simulating a one-person restaurant. I would go to bed every night thinking what new dish I could recreate. The cooking was fun, but so was the researching of dishes from around the world, sourcing similar but local ingredients, platting, and photographing.
It became my daily activity, and slowly, as time passed by and the rules to socialize became less strict in Switzerland, I found myself drawn towards the art of hosting dinners with friendships from all over the world I had built in those phew months. I realized the importance of community and the act of sharing a meal, specially after the isolation we all felt, in different ways, around the world.
Once the world started to go back to normal, I found myself hosting dinners as constantly, and staying away from the very overpriced restaurant scene in Switzerland. Not only was my pocket very grateful, I believe I became a local, just by finding pleasures in the most simple things, and the little miracles around me. I started building this little community on my first visit to Geneva. I met one of my best friend's best friend (crazy, I know). Her name is Marianita, with her, I connected instantly and it is someone I could talk to about anything. It was through her recommendation that I ended up in the Foyer’Accueil, a student residency in the heart of Plain Palais. This residency gave me all the home and the group of friends I still call family. Together we cooked, danced, ate, and discovered all that Geneva could offer.
Here are some of my favorite things to do and eat in Geneva:
Homemade Raclette Night were always a craving forme and Elena, specially after she got a portable and pocket-size raclette maker. We would go all out with the different toppings, and spend our evening talking about dreams and boys. You will soon see her opening her own clothing brand, I know it. Other times, we would go to what we would call "our balcony", home of the longest bench in the world (just FYI), and our spot to play UNO until dawn. We would also gift each other bouquets of Belgian French fries and it them in the Les Bastion park right in front of Geneve's library.
During the Spring and Summer days, enjoying the warm and sunny Lake of Geneva was a must. One of me and Laia's favorite things to do was to rent bicycles and ride from the Perle du Lac to the Pontons du Quiai in Cologny. We would stopping to admire the Jet d'Eau, and finish with a homemade and portable BBQ in the park. We also did a handful of hikes around the area, if you are into that type of stuff, I recommend hiking up Mont Salève. A tough mountain to hike located in the French border with Switzerland, but worth the views. Additionally, the rout to Lac du Vieux Emosson is another great option, specially if you are looking for a challenge with the best recompense.
For any foodadventure, I would have my friend Lulu and her daughter Jacinta😂 I met her when we decided to host a Fondue alla So night in the residency. Since, then, we have been inseperable (even with physical distance in the middle). Not only do I consider her as one of the most influential people in my life, she has empowered me to trust who I am and believe where I am going, she even made a painting for me. This portrait of me, has been with me in three different cities now, always there to remind me I am going through the right path.
Together we discovered many restaurants, like Flanagans, for Geneva's best burger, Gyoza No Ho for the most delicious gyozas and comforting ramen, and Marcel in Eaux Vives for the best weekend brunch.
Is Geneva in your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below.