The flight over was great, flying international first class is the only way to go even though if it were not for points, it would be totally unafforadable.
I made it from the airport to he hotel with no problem. The East west hotel was great and they even had a room for me when I got there at 8 in the morning, way before check in time. The hotel is located a block in from Lake Geneva and just one block from the pedestrian bridge crossing the lake into old town and the shopping district. The hotel was also located on block from the rather Amsterdam styled red light district. Once you cross the bridge to the shopping district, you are bombarded with wealth. From high end French stores to high end Italian sports cars, there is definitely some money in this city, which leads me to my next thought. Everything is expensive. The exchange rate is about even between the dollar and the Swiss frank but prices are steep. Beer and hamburger, $35.00 and a continental breakfast $32.00. I am not sure the wages here but I could imagine it being a tough city to live in.
However, with all the expense and heavy taxes do come some perks. For starters, public transportation of all kinds are free. Street trolley, city buses, and water taxi all cost you nothing. Once you cross the bridge to old town, there are free bicycles provided by the city for free, just return when your done. The city is also very dog friendly. Almost every corner has a dog watering fountain and free poop bags.
Walking through the shopping district leads up some serious steps and hills to the old town. This is where the true beauty of the city showed. The architecture and old cobblestone streets are just what you would expect from and old European city.
It was also some sort of military or police day going on. Air Force helicopters were landing around the lake and giving demonstrations and police were having activities for children.
After touring the city, I went back to the hotel room and grabbed a nap. Around 8pm I went out in search of a beer. I came across an English pub with English speaking people (this part of Switzerland speaks French). Had a few pints and got into some serious cheering with some other patrons while watching the West Ham vs Liverpool game. Drew you would be proud, football, warm beer, and HP sauce covered burger.
On the way home I had to do my research and take a walk down some of the streets in the red-light district. You can tell how the Swiss mentality on prostitution has worked in legitimizing the activity. Girls are required to wear ID tags and have licenses ready to be shown to police or clients. Instead of having body guards and pimps with the girls, local police officers made sure everything was safe for both the working girls and the tourists. It is a scene that many Americans would find completely bizarre but one that works over here.
Oh yea, I knew I would love this city the second I got on the elevator and unlike in America, when you hit the close door button the doors actually close immediately.
Off to Zurich today via one of these fancy high speed euro trains.