CERN and Geneva

20 Sep

Last weekend I went to Geneva with friends. Geneva is about a 3 hour train journey from Zurich. We got the train on Friday night after work and stayed over until the Sunday.

The main purpose of the trip was to visit CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Reasearch. CERN was in the news a lot last year, or maybe the year before, because there were fears that the experiments that they were doing was going to create a black hole that the universe would disappear would into. Obviously that didn’t happen in the end because we are all still here. Most of the research that happens there is to do with particle physics; a little bit too technical for me but interesting nevertheless.

The tour was a little disappointing. We were shown some videos which were obviously out of date (they only mentioned things that had happened up to 2004, so about a decade behind their current research which made the news recently). The main experiments were in maintenance mode while the data that has been gathered over the past few years was being analysed in more detail. The tour lasted a hour and a half. Our guide was actually a person who worked at CERN who volunteered at the weekend to show people around.

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After the tour at CERN (which is in Switzerland but extends to France underground) we headed back to the city to look around.

I have never been to Geneva before. It was very strange that when we got off the train all the signs were in French and there was no German around. It was hard to believe that it was the same country. The feel of the place is totally different too. I’m not sure that I liked it all that much to be honest. Geneva seems to be a bit dirtier than Zurich. Maybe it’s because I have been living in Zurich for so long that Zurich feels like home and anything else feels different.

We walked around the Old Town which was nice and had a seat on the longest wooden bench in the world. We knew this was true because a old man came over to us and told us this. He first asked if we spoke French, we said no, and then he carried on talking to us in French anyway. I managed to understand what he was telling us. Seems like GCSE French was useful in the end.

Geneva was interesting for me because when I was at university my specialist theologian was Calvin who was based in Geneva during the European reformation. There were lots of monuments dedicated to him. There was also a museum dedicated to him, which we didn’t get to see because we ran out of time.

We had a lovely meal at a very posh and expensive Indian restaurant. It was worth the expense as it wasn’t type of place that you would eat on a normal day out and as Geneva is 3 hours away and it might be a while before we go back, it was justifiable!

On the Sunday the weather wasn’t good and I was starting to come down with a really bad cold so we got an early train back home. All in all another great weekend exploring a city I don’t know. There seems to be a lot of things to do in Geneva that we didn’t have time to do so maybe there will be another trip there next year sometime.

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