I could sum up my trip in three words: boring, bland and uneventful. But hey! This is me, and as you know, I don’t do short posts!
So, where should I start?
My alarm screeched into the early hours of the morning. After
pressing WHACKING the reset button for the 19th time, I thought I’d better insert matchsticks into my eyes and get myself up before I break the damn thing!
I was tired, really tired. You know when you have to be up early the next day and you find it impossible to sleep – that was me! Despite only 3 hours of sleep, excitement bubbled up inside of me. I couldn’t wait to see my husband again. It had felt like just short of an eternity since I last saw him last and I missed him more than I could put into words.
Despite my excitement, I had this nagging suspicion that something would go wrong. A bad feeling that wouldn’t shift. But as always, my heart drummed louder than the worries in my head, and so I jumped into the car and headed to the airport.
Let me tell you, radio at half 3 in the morning is not the best. This was made evidently clear, as I caught myself belting out a Cyndi Lauper number at the top of my lungs. Fortunately, no one was around to see my…erm…true colours!
Never in my 28 years had I flown solo. Call me unadventurous, but those airports confuse me with their too-many-check-points-to-know-what-to-do-with! Adventure-shyness aside, my husband also says I am high maintenance! (Don’t listen to him, it’s simply not true!)
Me: Should I pack a dress?
Husband: Mandy, it’s going to be freezing cold!
Me: I’ll take that as a yes then!
With no one to hold my hand, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing! Anxious, I drove into the long stay car park and parked the car. To double check that I was in the correct place I called my rather cranky husband, who sounded like he had just woken up (he had just woken up, despite my strict instructions to be up and awake so he could talk me through things give me an idiots guide to boarding a plane) “You’re in the wrong car park!” He snapped, grumpily. Aware that time was ticking by and I had a plane to catch, I quickly reversed out of the car parking space.
My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach as I realised I had reversed into ….the car behind me! In a panic, I did what any other – poor person with Christmas knocking at their door – would do, I put my foot on the accelerator and without a 2nd glance, sped off as quickly as I could!
In my defence, it was only a bump (one that most probably did more harm to our little car, than their massive fuel-guzzling *coughs* bad-for-the-environment 4×4!) and I have lost count of the amount of times people have scratched, dented or bumped our car, without leaving their insurance details! Revenge, let’s just say! Revenge that will most probably bite me in the arse, because what goes around COMES AROUND!
With all the possible scenarios plaguing my mind, I parked in what I thought was the correct car park. I reluctantly called my husband to explain what had just happened, and soon after, wished I hadn’t. His incoherent instructions went into one ear and out of the other, and all I could think was “Geez, my body feels like jelly, a big plate of wobbly jelly!” As I walked through the airport, I was half expecting a posse of policemen to come charging over, grab me by my quivering arms and throw me into the airport prison!
Fortunately, there was no airport prison. However, this didn’t stop me experiencing extreme pangs of paranoia. I felt like some sort of drug mule smuggling drugs into Geneva! Every time I saw someone who looked remotely like an authoritative figure, I’d hyperventilate, sweat profusely from every pore on my body and avoid eye contact at all cost. How I managed to get through customs without being pulled up on suspicion, I will never know!
As I waited for my plane, I just wanted to fall to my knees and sob uncontrollably. The guilt was eating me up, and quite frankly, it put a real dampener on the whole trip. Finally, I boarded the plane and managed to get to Geneva in one piece – no arrests, no dramas…and only a few tears!
Okay, perhaps more than a few!
“Where are you?” My husband questioned, a concern in his voice. He had every right to be concerned, I was lost in this gigantic alien world, called Geneva airport!
I had been walking in circles for what seemed an eternity, growing more and more agitated.
“I’m stood by two gigantic f***ing M&M’s!” I shouted. For a moment, the airport fell silent, and all eyes were on me.
It was true. I was stood next to two giant M&M’s. But perhaps I didn’t have to shout this to the world. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t have a clue what I was talking about, or if I had truly lost my marbles.
My marbles were still intact, but my patience was wearing thin. In the end, I found my way to the carousel (with help from the friendly airport staff…who didn’t suspect a thing! *Mops brow*) and waited for my suitcase.
I waited, and waited, and waited some more.
Sure enough, the last suitcase on the carousel was mine. I angrily tugged it off and begun my quest to find my husband. A couple of wrong turns, dead ends and walking in circles… and alas, I ran romantically into his arms grunted, “Well, that was f***ing stressful!” Shaken, hungry and a little bit emotional, we stopped for a cup of tea (and an overpriced croissant!) A cup of tea makes everything better! Well, that is until …I remembered I just crashed into a car and left it for…errr…dead!
After a quick prep talk, I convinced myself that all will be okay. The cameras probably weren’t pointing towards the crime, and if I’m really lucky I might just get away with it!
The trip didn’t start in the greatest of spirits. Mystic Meg was right, something did go horribly wrong! But surely the only way was up, right? Wrong! As we all know, life doesn’t always go our way!
Geneva, land of trams, mountains and Swiss Army Knives… really EXPENSIVE Swiss Army Knives! In fact, Geneva is one of the most expensive places in the world (pretty much!)
How do I know this? Because my husband has been living on tinned soup for the past 4 months and is quite literally bankrupt!
An overpriced Toblerone too many, we waved au revoir to Swiss chocolate and army knives and said bonjour to the French Alps. We rented a car (a sporty Porsche!) …which just so happened to end up on my husband’s Christmas list!
As we headed towards the beautiful French Alps, we hit a thick mist. Suddenly, I could see the mountains no longer. All I could see was this thick mist, that seemed to linger throughout our trip. It was like a scene out of a horror movie. I was half expecting some staggering zombies to appear before us and give us the fright of our lives!
The view of the mountains before we hit the mist!
After an hour’s drive, we arrived in Chamonix, Mont-Blanc, a ski resort located in the French Alps. Mont-blanc (otherwise known as White Mountain) is the highest mountain in Europe. It rises 4,810m above sea level and is ranked 11th in the world in topographic prominence <- yeah, I copied that from Wikipedia.
Chamonix is a flourishing commune surrounded by a backdrop of picturesque mountains (As pictured to your left) Unfortunately, the mist ruined this for me and I couldn’t see diddlysquat!
I may have been unimpressed by the mountain visibility, but I was impressed by the hotel. We stayed in the Mercure, a contemporary chalet with a wood-cabin-meets-farm twist.
Our room looked fresh out of an IKEA catalogue, complete with a balcony overlooking the mountains and two of the most uncomfortable deck chairs known to man.
And my husband and I
After we dropped off our suitcase, we took a stroll around Chamonix. I was hoping to take some snaps, but my camera lens had broken and sadly ALL my pictures were blurred. It didn’t stop me trying, though…
Chamonix centre is a typical skiing town. People dressed in…
It was like jumping into a time machine and travelling back to the 1990’s. Puffa jackets aside, everything seemed to be closed. My husband had planned for us to take a tram into the mountains, but, unfortunately, this was…you guessed it…closed. Disappointed, we went in search of somewhere to eat and ended up in a swanky restaurant called Le McDonold’s. All those lovely french restaurants and my husband decide’s he wants a Big Mac! Hungry and tired from the trials of the hours before, I just went with it. The McChicken sandwich was actually quite tasty, and funnily enough, I was LOVIN’ IT!
Afterwards, we went to a more upmarket cafe for a spot of tea and cake. The problem was, we weren’t alone…
Defeated by a bird in a staring contest, we decided to go for a walk. Well, I say WE, it was more my husband’s idea.
Me: “How much further?”
Husband: “We’ve only just started walking!”
Five minutes later…
Me: Are we almost there yet?
Five minutes later…
Me: How long would you say there is left to walk?
Husband: 2 miles.
Tired of my lagging behind and generally being a pain in the a***, my husband snapped, “Mandy, these are some of the most beautiful walks in the world!”
*looks around at the mist, no mountain in sight*
Me: “Beautiful? All I can see is bloody mist!”
We approached a deserted village, where this train was supposedly meant to be. It was like some scene out of a horror movie. I was half expecting a deformed chainsaw-wielding killer to make an appearance from behind the abandoned tavern…but perhaps I watch too many films?
Sure enough, the train station was there. But whether the train would arrive or not, we weren’t quite sure, and in all honesty, this place was giving me the creeps!
After waiting awhile, my husband suggested we should walk all the way back.
I took pew, as if to say, “If you think I am moving from this spot, you’ll have to grab me by my legs and drag me!”
He got the point, and we waited some more. Finally, we heard a jingling from afar! What sort of train is this? Whoever heard of a jingling train?!
It stopped with a halt and we jumped on board. The train ride was pleasant. We travelled up into the mountains, over bridges and through tunnels. After a couple of stops, we thought we ought to get off somewhere. We got off at Gare De Saint Gervais Station but were disappointed when we realised this was yet another ghost-town. We had a WHOLE hour to wait before the train returned, so we decided to find a place to have a cup of tea. This proved quite problematic in a town so empty even the tumbleweed had no friends.
After much searching, we found a cafe. Two ladies behind the counter almost choked on their baguettes, as they realised we were NOT locals. They seemed pleasant enough, but we did do a double check to see if they had spat in our tea.
Tired of wandering around this ghost town for an hour in the freezing cold (my husband was right about that dress!) we climbed on board the train and headed back to our hotel.
christened the bed had a long nap, we enjoyed a lovely meal and a bottle of rosé. I was a little grumpy, the day hadn’t exactly gone according to plan, but I guess that’s life and in the end after a few glasses of wine, we enjoyed each others company once again. I even began to enjoy this French way of living (Or perhaps those bubbles just went straight to my head?)
And yes, that wine glass was almost as big as my head!
By half past 11 we were back in our hotel room and I don’t need to tell you what happened next…
The next day, after our French croissant breakfast (Well, it would be rude not to!) we packed up our suitcase and headed back to Geneva. My husband was keen to show me where he has been living for the past 4 months, and most importantly, to show me the UN buildings where he works.
Geneva – land of trams, Toblerones and Swiss Army knives! Surrounded by a backdrop of scenic mountains, it’s easy to see why Geneva is a winter wonderland favourite. Sadly, Amanda doesn’t like snow, and she certainly doesn’t like the cold. Shivering like hairless penguins in a snowstorm, we hit the Geneva city centre for a spot of sightseeing and a bite to eat, but first…
We stopped off at the prestigious Palais des Nations (Or in other words, The United Nations) where my husband had been working for the past 4 months. The buildings were grand. In fact, the United Nations Office at Geneva is the second-largest of the four major office sites of the United Nations (second to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City) <- Yeah, I just Wikipedia’d. As we walked by a flock of happy-snapping tourists, it was clear to see why my husband grew to love this place so much. He explained how he would get ‘papped’ on his way into work by enthusiastic tourists. I didn’t want to burst his ‘celebrity status bubble’ by telling him that it was most probably the buildings these tourists were snapping, not him!
He had worked his arse off to get this job, so his enthusiasm was quite understandable. Even his suitcase full of what must have been every souvenir in the UN gift shop (I know what I’m getting for Christmas!) was plausible. From cheesy caps (which now take pride of place in our trophy cabinet!) to mugs, keychains and life jackets!
Me: Erm, when are you going to need this?
Husband: During a disaster!
Me: Oh, of course. Why didn’t I think of that? *Sarcastic undertone*
As I contemplate where I am going to house all of
this junk these high-quality and perfectly practical mementos, my husband mourns his impending last days of working for the United Nations. In fact, when it’s time for my husband to finally hang up his UN badge, I know there will be a few tears.
Okay, okay! Lots of tears.
I imagined this scene of my husband, clinging reluctantly to his desk while security prise him away with great difficulty! It didn’t quite play out like that. My husband left on healthier terms, with yet another souvenir to add to the ever-growing collection (For those of you who haven’t already guessed, it was a Swiss Army Knife!)
Tears and crappy souvenirs aside, we spent our last few hours exploring the bitterly cold Geneva. We saw the famous broken chair monument. This impressive chair statue, designed by Swiss artist Daniel Berset, stands 39 feet high and is constructed from 5.5 tons of wood. When my husband told me about this chair, I was like “Great, my legs are pretty tired, I could do with a nice sit-down!” but there was no chance of a rest on this chair! For a start, it only has three legs! I wondered why it only had three legs, and later discovered it symbolises opposition to land mines and cluster bombs, acting as a potent reminder to politicians and others visiting Geneva.
Next up was the renowned Jet d’eau (Which is French for water jet) Sure enough, it was what it said on the label – a water jet. It’s one of the largest fountains in the world and is also one of Geneva’s most famous landmarks. It is visible throughout the city and even from the air.
We walked through a delightful Christmas market…and straight out the other side… when we realised how shockingly over-priced everything was! With empty hands and growling stomachs, we stopped off at a
posh restaurant fast food joint that served burgers larger than my head and claimed to be healthier than Mcdonolds. Who were they trying to kid? Fizzy apple juice? Iced tea? I hated every damn mouthful, and that apple juice did some strange things to my stomach!
With a belly so bloated it looked like a puffa fishes cousin, I hinted that I had seen quite enough of Geneva now. I could tick it off my list and say “been there – done that, but I didn’t buy the T-shirt because it was too damn expensive!” But I didn’t come back completely empty handed. Nope. I not only came back with a guilty conscience but also a STINKING COLD!
As I waved Au revoir to Gevena and endured a pretty turbulent plane ride back to England, I felt relieved to be going home. But most excitingly, to be going home with MY HUSBAND! His role at the United Nations was done and dusted, and before he flies off to Palestine *said with an unenthused undertone*, he will be spending the holidays at home. It was like Christmas come early to walk off the plane, hand-in-hand and very much in love…
Our ‘love bubble’ soon burst when my husband turned around in confusion and asked “Mandy, where did you park our car?”
“Well, it was dark at the time and I can’t quite remember…” I muttered, quietly.
“I’m not sure, but I may have parked the car in that car park over there!” I continued.
“The drop off?” My husband snapped, a shocked expression upon his face.
“Maybe” I shrugged.
Sure enough, I parked in the drop-off car park (which is the WRONG car park!) You see, my husband doesn’t respond to CODE PANIC situations so well. He has this habit of putting the fear of god into me…and well… making a mountain out of a molehill.
“Do you know how much this is going to cost us?” he shouted. “Thousands! Thousands!”
And if this wasn’t enough to send me into a panic, he continued… “Our car has most likely been towed away!”
At this point, tears were trickling down my cheeks. I had already crashed into another car, and I now assumed I would have to fork out thousands of pounds to get our car back! Just as I was beginning to wish I had never jumped on that plane in the first place, I could spot our car. “Thank goodness!” I thought, so pleased that we hadn’t lost it forever. My grumpy husband begged, pleaded and kissed the shoes of the car park staff to have our ticket wavered. Fortunately, they let him off the hook…
As we drove through the car park barrier, I clocked our not so hefty fine of £100, and thought “Are you kidding me? All that palava over £100!”
As I lay awake in bed that night, I wondered if Santa will take pity on me, or if will he send me a big bag of coal and a hefty fine this year. One thing is for certain…I definitely don’t want any Toblerone!
Have you ever been to Geneva?
Have you ever experienced a holiday gone wrong?
Have you ever hit and run? (Please say yes – so I don’t feel so bad!)
Have you ever parked in the drop off car park? (Please say yes – so I don’t feel like such an idiot!)
Feel free to discuss below 🙂