The day after Central Perk was The One Where We Walked Round Carouge. Geneva is in many ways a bit like the Crystal Maze – you’ve got the Lake Zone, the Fancy Shops Zone, the Where The Cleaners Live Zone and Carouge could be the Really Expensive Antiques Shopping Zone.
Here Carolan and I loafed for a few hours, buying a charming little woven basket of strawberries from a street market after some discussion between Carolan and the woman on the stall in skilful French about the virtues of outside strawberries versus greenhouse strawberries. There was really only 70 pence in it, and I think that she was showing off. At any rate, the outside strawberries were particularly delicious.
We did some window shopping in cute stationery places and emporia full of fascinating knick-knacks, but we bought neither knick-knacks, stationery nor windows, because they were all so expensive. Those prices really flabbered my gast, but who needs to buy things to enjoy shopping? It’s time we pared the experience back, it has become too commercial.
We descended down into the city like a warm front, hoovering up the atmosphere. We stopped for a drink and sat outside on a delightful terrace – un café noir pour moi and a GCSE-spec citron pressé for Carolan. We enjoyed some licentious ice cream with impossible flavours, like pineapple and basil, biscuit and popcorn and we scared the hell out of ourselves at the most health and safety unconscious fun fair in all Europe. As if the danger of death wasn’t enough, we risked interrupting the important mating rituals of 15-year-olds on the bumper cars.
Carolan had filled me with horror stories of Geneva’s relentless dreariness, but I had brought with me something else – the relentless sunny heat. The place had come alive, making the switch from winter to summer like changing from slippers to walking shoes. We toasted the weather by drinking an amazing organic apple juice next to The Lake and then taking a pedalo out on those tranquil, soothing waters – the real Geneva conventions.
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