Geneva: CERN and Mont Salève

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Hello everyone. Welcome to day two in my Geneva Diaries. This was our first full day in Geneva and one of the most exciting ones. We had decided on going to Geneva so that we could see CERN and luckily we managed to get ourselves booked in for the 11am tour on the Wednesday of our trip. Which was a week ago today. The time has gone so fast! 

We arrived at CERN and were given little passes to say that we were part of the tour. Then we went into a room and sat and watched a short video about CERN and how it started. Then our group was split into two and we both went to different parts of CERN. We were on an individual tour so unfortunately we didn't get to see as much as you would see if you were touring with a school or university. On the tour we got to see the ATLAS control room and the first particle accelerator built at CERN in 1957. The first for us was the ATLAS control room which is where the Large Hadron Collider is operated from. There was a little viewing window where we actually saw the people working. This was a little bit weird as I don't think I would want people watching me as I worked! It was interesting to see however and we were given a little chat about how it works and how the detectors tell the differnce between different particles.

We then crossed over to the first particle accelerator. They show this in a really interesting way that I don't really want to spoil as it's pretty amazing when you actually see it in person. So I'm sorry but you'll just have to go and see it for yourself! But all in all I found it to be very inspiring. The first accelerator was huge and it's still tiny compared to the LHC! Plus it was  built without the use of calculators which is mind blowing to a Generation Y girl like myself. We were then taken back to the reception at CERN were there was an exhibit and a gift shop. The tour was absolutely amazing and very inspiring and informative. I learnt a lot! Even if you don't have much on an interest in science I'm sure you would enjoy it anyway although you might have to ask some questions. Our tour guide was very helpful when people where confused by the physics and I think he did a great job at explaining things in really basic terms. The gift shop wasn't as big as I was expecting but I did buy some postcards and a keyring!

We then caught a tram back to our hostel(free public transport made getting around Geneva so easy) where we relaxed for a bit before getting another tram out to the French border. From here we walked across the border(actually really easy we didn't even get stopped) so that we could go up the cable car on Mont Salève(information here). Fortunately despite it being in France we could pay using Swiss Francs which was very helpful! It cost 9.10 CHF or roughly £6. The cable car goes up the mountain in about four minutes and offers an absolutely amazing view. It takes you up to 1'100 metres and our ears were popping the whole way up! The view from the top was absolutely stunning. People were paragliding off the mountain which was amazing to watch. I think I'd definitely do it if I had the chance! You can then walk further up the mountain to reach the summit. We walked up to the Mont Blanc viewpoint(it was unfortunately covered by clouds) and then stopped at an area for paragliders to watch them jump. We didn't actually make it to the top but the view from where were was amazing. I actually found it quite a difficult climb, I was very wheezy! I've climbed Arthur's Seat before  no bother so I don't really know why I struggled so much! We then got the cable car back down the mountain and caught a bus back into the town.

On our way back to the hostel we went into an Italian restaurant and got three takeaway pizzas between the four of us to share. They were 12 CHF each which ended up costing us 9 CHF. Dinner was the biggest cost in Geneva and it's easy to see why people consider it to be an expensive city. We were very careful but the majority of restaurants were charging about 25+ CHF for simple dinners like pasta! After dinner we hung out at the hostel for a big and played a lot of card games. Then we went and got ice cream from Gelato Mania and walked down to the water front. I had some passion fruit sorbet which was lovely! I didn't take any photos as I had left my DSLR at the hostel but the Jet D'Eau was lovely at night. I will share some photos of it lit up at night in my day three post!

So that was how we spent our second day in Geneva! Pretty busy right?

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