Banking On It
Jul 20, 2009
|Getting from Edinburgh to Geneva should be, in this day and age, a relatively easy thing. Both cities are of a manageable size, both have international airports very close to the centre unlike Tokyo, Rome or New York and both are used to, or should be used to, handling a number of visitors far in excess of their populations.
We hadn’t counted on EasyJet. EasyJet, more aptly named PainInTheBacksideJet, was selected for a very good reason; it ran the only direct flight between Edinburgh and Geneva on the day we needed to travel. Their one way price was outrageous.
The check in at the airport was a disaster zone. We arrived 10 minutes after check in opened and EasyJet had three counters going for three flights. People were lined up in a hap hazard sort of way stretching this way and that whilst a totally incompetent staff member attempted reorganisation of the mass of humanity to everyone’s anger by allowing later arrivals to ‘jump the queue’ with his ineffective traffic control. People everywhere were lambasting PainInTheBacksideJet, vowing never to travel with them again.
We finally boarded our flight at the very last minute and then sat on it for a further 40 minutes before takeoff just to keep us on our toes.
The good thing though is that the airline had arranged adult entertainment for us on 90 minute flight. Seated in the row directly in front of us, corralling the unsuspecting young lady who had the misfortune to take the window position, a couple began their smooching at the instant they had secured their seat belts.
A young lady, sitting across the aisle reading a book on Africa and bursting into tears every now and then, saved herself from more severe attacks when she discovered this stage show. As the plane entered the air I suspected that the two had somehow melded together since the guy had clearly swallowed most of his partner’s face but then, just as I was about to summon medical aid, they separated and she revealed a mouthful of braces. Perhaps he had just been accidentally hooked, I thought. Not so, as she loosened her seat belt and moved into a more intimate position with legs flung over his lap and recommenced her passionate display. Oblivious to the voyeuristic embarrassment of their fellow passengers, the show continued for the whole of the trip.. Embarking down the stairs at Geneva and directed to a bus, there they were again, oblivious to all around them, blocking the doors as they stood locked lip to lip in their continuing fever, These guys needed a bed, not a flight, and they needed it in a hurry.
Switzerland is of course efficient and after barely a glance from the immigration official we grabbed a free train ticket to town and headed off arriving barely 10 minutes later to be soon after attempting to store items in our room at the adequate, but tiny, Hotel St Gervais.
Our prime reason in travelling to Geneva was to catch our tour which was to follow the last few days of Le Tour de France. It was here that we caught up with a number of our friends who were doing the same thing so naturally there was the bonhomie and fun and excitement that comes with such reunions occurring in far flung lands.
Geneva sitting on its lake drained by the Rhone and surrounded by mountains is a pleasant expensive city with a compact ‘old town’ worth spending a few hours discovering. The flowers are out and the GFC seems to have made no impact on the ‘locals’: a term hardly appropriate since 40% of the population are foreigners serving one of the many multitudes of international organisations such as UNESCO, The Red Cross and the ILO that are based there.
The thing about the Hotel St Gervais is that only three small rooms populate each floor together with a share bathroom. Our room on the 6th floor and directly opposite the miniscule European paced lift heats up during the day to an extent that when doziness arrives minimal or no clothing makes sleeping more comfortable.
After an excellent pasta meal with some of the mates accompanied by some nice cold beers the next stop was the sauna box on the 6th floor. Sometime during the dark hours the beer had worked its way through my internal plumbing so I headed off to the communal bathroom having left our door unlocked as the opening of the heritage lock would waken the dead. Returning to bed relieved I promptly went back to sleep to be disturbed by noise somewhat later that I eventually identified as coming from the corridor rather than outside as it had done the previous day. The noise seemed very close so I looked around at our door to see a young man, awaiting the arrival of the lift, staring into our room and being educated into the anatomy of a middle aged woman lying naked with the map of Tasmania firmly on display. Our voyeur quickly averted my eyes, the lift arrived and he departed as I, this time, firmly secured the door.
Ah, the joys of travel; for some lucky, or perhaps unlucky, folk!.