The day I played tourist in Geneva

Armed with our cameras, S from Schwingen in Switzerland spent a relaxing afternoon doing a walking tour of Geneva.  I later on found out that if you only have 1 day in Geneva, this is pretty much what you could do in a couple of hours.

We first started here at Lake Leman and the towering Jet d’Eau which happens to be the world’s tallest fountain.  Because I had an errand to run, we then continued across the Rhone River into Geneva’s ritzy shopping and banking district – Rue du Rhone.

This street will hold many memories for me for I spent many an afternoon just roaming along this street, window-shopping and meeting up with friends.

After a trip to the post office, we continued the tour starting from the very heart of Geneva’s Old Town – the Place du Bourg-de-Four.  This has always been a meeting place of many and today people still gather around the 18th century flowered fountain or on the terrace of the nearby bistros to enjoy a chilled beer or gelato on a sunny day.

We then walked on further to the beautiful Bastions Park where I marveled at the Reformation Wall containing the effigies of Geneva’s founding fathers.

S even took time to make a new friend along our walk.

Beautiful chess pieces at the Bastions Park.  A relaxing afternoon spent just watching people playing chess.

Prints Charming

20 March officially marks the first day of Spring and I celebrated the new season with tons of Spring cleaning back at our home in Singapore.  Our 17 boxes have finally arrived!   Clothes, toiletries and knick knacks of all sorts were strewn all over the room.  I spent the entire day clearing it and boy was I tired by 5pm but felt a sense of achievement having organised part of my accessories compartment.

Here are some tips that I’d like to share:

Instead of trashing the boxes, I sometimes like to keep them for you’ll never know when they may end up being useful.  These boxes most certainly came in handy in this case to help organise the belts in my drawer.

I also like displaying my accessories for it’s easy to forget my inventory if they are stored in the dust-bag.  Displaying the pieces helps me to see what I have at a glance and play around with mixing and matching them for my outfit for the day.

When we were living in Geneva, I ended up buying loads of vintage plates and small cake stands to aid me in my food styling.  Instead of chucking them aside in some corner of my kitchen and end up forgetting that they even exist, I decided to turn them into jewellery holders instead.  What do you think?  I think it’s pretty neat and helps keep my little items all organised.  Plus if I ever need to use them to display food again, it will always be within reach.

Lastly, in honour of Spring, I decided to don on this ‘In-your-face’ floral printed pants that I recently purchased from H&M.  Fashion catwalks around the world are clearly fixated on this trend and at CHF 24.90 (I found out its retailing for SG 24.90), it couldn’t hurt the pocket that much to jump on the floral printed bandwagon.  At first, I was a kinda worried that it might be a little too glaring for daily wear but when paired with a simple black studded chiffon top from Zara, the entire outfit worked for an afternoon about town to catch up with pals.

What do you think?  Yay or Nay to this trend?

Out on a walk..

We were blessed with some really wonderful weather during our last week in Geneva, so I decided to ask S from Scwingen in Switzerland out for an afternoon walk.  It was to be my last ‘exploration’ walk of Geneva before we left.

Meeting point?  The famed flower clock located at edge of the Jardin Anglais (English Garden).  You could tell that Spring is definitely in the air with the bright, pretty florals that are used to decorate the clock.  Armed with our cameras, we took a leisurely walk around the lake.

It was such a gorgeous day and I was really pleased to have captured this sight of a beautiful rainbow going through the Jet d’Eau.

S also mentioned that it must be my lucky day for the weather was perfect for the walk that we were going to take.  Well, lucky or not, I’m just thankful that I spent the last week doing this with S.  She really is the perfect companion to hang out with if you’re ever clueless about exploring a place.  🙂  Will share more about what we did for the rest of the afternoon soon.

First up, another kind of walk that I’m going to take with the fur-kid!  We’ve gotten a little pudgy over the past couple of months, the Man’s put us on a strict exercise regime and today is my first day walking the kiddo.  Here’s to better health for us both.  😉

A sweet surprise indeed!

Our final days in Geneva (just 3 more days to go) saw me packing up stuff and passing some of the useful items and/or food over to our friends.  I was feeling a lot better so was out and about making arrangements to meet up with friends to catch up over coffee.

I’ve been meaning to catch up with L over at the Swiss Watch Blog after her surgery but had been too ill to do so over the past 2 weeks.  So, I was really glad when I received an email from her last week asking if I was free for tea before our departure from Geneva.  Yay to an afternoon out, for I really wanted to could catch up proper with her.  I asked if it could be a bigger gathering asking if the other gals were free, I knew I wanted to meet with A (The Switzerland Hughes) to pass her our rice-cooker.  L said she would arrange, but I thought no one else other than A could make it.

Boy, was I wrong!  I rushed in carrying 2 heavy bags filled with stuff for the pair but as I stepped in, I was greeted with shouts of ‘Surprise’ by familiar faces!  So it seems that L had been planning this surprise and I was not to know that the rest of the girls were going to be there.  Must say they were pretty good at keeping me in the dark for I met with S from Schwingen in Switzerland earlier that morning for coffee and she gave me a quizzical look when I asked if she was going to join us for tea.  I also met with N at for a morning session yoga but there was no mention of the party.  L, you certainly did a great job on planning this little surprise!  Thank you!  😉

That’s not all!  A lovely spread of afternoon tea delights (they knew I was crazy about making macarons) were prepared in my honour by these superb ladies.

It was indeed an afternoon that got us all on a sugar high – macarons from Laduree from A, home-made peanut butter cookies by N, home-made pumpkin brownies by L, home-made matcha (green-tea) tiramisu by T, chocolates and other treats from S and L.  We had girly conversations and stuffed our faces silly with the sweet treats.  The girls also compiled a little online album filled with the adventures that we had taken during our stay in Geneva.  Aww.. thanks ladies for everything!  Once again, am really touched.

Prior to moving to Geneva, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make any friends and I’d probably become a hermit by the end of my expat journey.  Honestly, making friends from scratch can be rather challenging but looking back, I most certainly did not become a hermit for I’ve gone on to make this small but amazing group of friends.  How?  One of the ways was through blogging.  It has really opened doors for me here and after that, we kinda expanded the group further by pulling people we knew separately into the group.

Thanks again ladies for the wonderful memories and the great times that we spent together exploring Geneva.  It was short but I’m thankful that our paths crossed.  It’s goodbye for now but hopefully we’ll get to see you real soon.  And be sure to give us a shout-out if you ever come to Singapore.  🙂

[All photos courtesy of L over at the Swiss Watch Blog]

P.S: Vain me talking here but I wished I put on some make-up before leaving the house.  And let’s not talk about my bad hair day!  😉

Au Revoir Geneve with Whisky

The men talked about a whisky night last year during this party. We never really gotten round to planning it proper, it was supposed to be in January and then it went all quiet because of our crazy traveling schedules.  In the end, we decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone – combine the whisky night with our farewell party.

We invited friends we’ve made during our course of stay here in Geneva.  The apartment wasn’t too big so the party of 14 people suited us just fine.  Friends bought along bottles of whisky to share and even helped whipped up some of the food.

Prior to hosting this party, I ran off to the whisky guru – the Imp – asking her for help with what type of foods I should serve up for the party.  She gave me a couple of tips.  Apparently, smokey types of food, cheese, chocolates and even gummies would pair well with whisky.  Not too difficult, so we cooked up a little storm and served our guests these simple dishes – Teriyaki Drumlets, Char Siew Ribs, Truffle French Fries, Baked Mac & Cheese Cups, Crab Rangoon Dip with veggies sticks and Cherry Tomatoes with Prunes topped with plum powder.

And for the fun of it, I even got the friends to chip in and bring along a dish that they think will pair well with the whisky.  L from the Swiss Watch Blog whipped up an absolutely delicious Bourbon Bread pudding that went down very well with practically everyone at the party.  A from the Hughes made a refreshing cucumber salad along with home-made salsa and Tortilla Chips.  Talented T from Sirenatoco in Europe made a huge platter of Chirashi Sushi.  S from Schwingen in Switzerland kindly brought a box of gourmet chocolates from Stettler.  N also contributed a cheeseball that she made from scratch.  The food spread looked amazing thanks to the additional contributions from our friends.

[Photo credit: L from the Swiss Watch Blog]

All in all it was a very good night.  The alcohol flowed, everyone ate merrily and pockets of conversation took place throughout the evening. Think the guys did pretty well, finished close to 3 bottles of whisky with the Yamazaki being the whisky of choice for the night.

Thanks all for coming to our little farewell soirée!  Thanks for your wonderful gift of friendship for it definitely made our stay in Geneva a lot more memorable.  Au Revoir Geneve, it’s been one amazing roller-coaster ride, thanks for the lovely memories and till we next meet again… 😉

Side-note – Whisky or Whiskey?  It’s kinda like you say Tomato, I say Tomatoe type of argument.  Did a little online research and here’s the explanation why it’s spelt differently.  The Scots spell it whisky and the Irish spell it whiskey, with an extra ‘e’. This difference in the spelling comes from the translations of the word from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic forms. Whiskey with the extra ‘e’ is also used when referring to American whiskies. This ‘e’ was taken to the United States by the Irish immigrants in the 1700s and has been used ever since.  Scotland, Ireland and America all have a rich heritage in the whisky industry.

What next?

[Image source]

I can’t believe in just less than 2 weeks, our lives would change again.

We’re heading back to a life that we’ve known a good part of our lives, a life that I’ve been so looking forward to return but yet I can’t quite describe how I’m feeling as I write this post.

I wonder where this chapter in our journey will lead us.  I wonder what I am to do with my life back home.  But most days, I honestly just wonder where I will go from here.

Friends asked me at our farewell party, what are some of the things I’m looking forward to in Singapore?  I say we’re definitely looking forward to spending time with our beloved fur-kid, Sparky; to meeting up with our family and friends; for the Man – saner working hours and for me, to be gainfully employed soon.  But beyond these, I’m also looking forward to things that I’ve taken for granted back on our tiny island.  For instance, safety – I’ve heard too many cases of pickpockets in trams and unfortunately for us, the Man fell victim to this petty crime recently in Paris.  To stores opening on Sundays – don’t think I can deal with wondering what to do on Sunday if we’re staying put in Geneva or rushing to the grocery store on Saturday just to stock up on food.  And knowing where to seek medical attention when needed – now that I’m super duper sick, I want to be able to walk into a doctor and ask him to give me antibiotics for a quicker recovery.

They also asked what I will miss about Geneva?  I paused for a while trying to think of what are some of the things I would miss about this place.  The list ain’t too long but given that we’ve only been here for 10 months, I think it’ll suffice.  I say I would miss the four seasons.  Having four seasons make dressing up a little more fun.  Also, I’ll definitely miss the traveling.  Geneva is really the perfect springboard to travel and see other parts of Europe.  I’m grateful for the many weekend trips that we’ve taken.  Lastly, I will also miss the friends and the wonderful people that we’ve met during our stay here.  They definitely make life in Geneva a little more colourful.

So, what’s going to happen next?  Honestly, I have no clue.  But stick around, won’t you to watch the story unfold?

A quick tour of Lausanne

Since we were expecting slightly warmer temperatures last weekend, we decided on a whim to make a short trip to visit Lausanne.

Lausanne (pronounced as loh-san) is Switzerland’s fifth largest city.  This hilly city enjoys a spectacular lakeside location (which we didn’t get a chance to see because we didn’t have enough time).  Other must-sees in the city according to my new-found friend, Shinn include heading over to Ouchy to see the Musee Olympique and Lake Geneva, visiting the Eglise Saint-François and for a bird’s eye view of Lausanne – the Lausanne Cathedral.

With only about 2.5 hours in the city, we arrived to a some-what grey Lausanne and did a leisurely walk around the Rue de Bourg and Place de la Plaud where boutiques and shops lined the narrow and hilly streets.

With my fave gal!  Check out how we have matching bags with our some-what matching leather outerwear.  I didn’t know if the leather jacket was going to keep me warm, so I decided to layer my faux fur-vest over the jacket for good measure.

Then, we took a leisurely walk to visit the Cathedrale de Notre Dame.

My fave pic of the trip where we took a snapshot of our shadows as the sun slowly set behind us.

I guess this marks one of our very last excursions with one of the closest family that we’ve grown rather attached to during our stay here in Geneva.