Sunday, January 15, 2012

A sunny, cold weekend

We didn't get out of town much this weekend, but we had an awesome time in Geneva.  Saturday we went shopping at the big Migros grocery store in Annemasse (just outside Switzerland, in France).  We rented a Mobility car (short term car rentals, like Zipcar) to get there, and stocked up on some things.  Next time I'll try going a little earlier, it was quite crowded when we went, and by the time we left there was someone waiting for our parking spot.  That's the thing when you limit the store opening hours as dramatically as they are here (usually places close at 6:30 PM, and are closed all day Sunday), people have to do all their shopping during very limited hours.

Maybe I'll try online grocery shopping here.  I did check out the Migros online shop, and their selection seems a lot more limited than it is in the stores.  Grocery shopping sure can be a hassle, though, when you don't have a car.  Perhaps I'll look into some of the other online shopping options.

Saturday afternoon we took our scooters (Kenny and Peter have their own scooters, and Eric and I shared one) up to the Geneva Plage ferry station, and took the ferry across the lake.

 The kids LOVED it because it was very windy, and the ferry was tossed around by the waves.  I immediately started imagining that I was feeling seasick, but luckily the ride wasn't very long.  We scootered up to the World Trade Organization, with cold wind from the lake finding every little gap in our clothing.  On the way back down, we stopped off at the History of Science Musuem (one of the many free museums in Geneva) to warm up.  I like going back to these places again and again - every time it seems like we discover something new.  We took a different ferry on the way back, and Kenny in particular was very disappointed that we weren't tossed around in the boat as we were in the previous one, because the ferry didn't go so far out into the lake.  Then home and hot chocolate!

Sunday we went to the kids school (very close by) to test out the ping pong set we'd bought in France the day before.  There's a ping pong table right at the school, in a little wind-sheltered corner.  It appears that the school playground is a teen hangout (or some kind of hangout) on the weekends, there was trash everywhere!  It was a little too cold in the shade to play ping pong, but we'll definitely go back for it.  One thing that struck me in looking at the playground is how efficient they were in using the space.  They squeezed in a small sized soccer court, small basketball court, of course the ping pong table, and lots of of playground equipment in a very modestly sized playground.

After lunch we walked to the Parc de Bastion, which has a free ice skating rink.  Kenny went there last week with his class, and really wanted to go again.  The ice skate rental was only 2 Swiss Francs each!  That's shockingly cheap for Geneva, and would be quite cheap in the US too.  I'm sure it's subsidized.  After a few rounds around the rink, I got used to it again, and Kenny got better too.

Then we went to the Tavel House museum, another a free museum.  This one is a house which is supposed to be one of the oldest (or THE oldest?) in Geneva.  It was a fun walk through, there's a lot of interesting maps and models of Geneva.  The most interesting thing I learned is that Geneva, up until around 1850, had an elaborate system of earthen fortifications for protection against attack.  They also had a huge elaborate cellar with all kinds of passageways and chambers.

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