There are many reasons I love coming back to Geneva, where I just spent three days. Family. Friends. And the inescapable feeling of being home. Still, even though it has been almost 20 years since I left.
I was struck during this visit by all of the things that make Geneva, Geneva… Perhaps not even the things, but the subtleties, the behaviors. Here’s how to tell you are in Geneva.
1. Everyone still wears a watch. Usually a very nice watch. Which means no one is constantly looking at their phones to figure out the time.
2. Everyone and everything is on time. All the time. Perhaps this is related to wearing a watch.
3. Geneva is a walking city. The alternative is to take the bus (manufactured by Mecedes-Benz, always clean and on time) or the Tram. If you must drive, you can always take out your Ferrari or Aston Martin. I rarely see as many fancy cars as I do here… (perhaps I need to go to Monaco).
4. You run into three people you know, on average, during a 5 block walk. Geneva is small, very small…
5. Everyone is well dressed, elegant, and thin. Perhaps it is because they know they might run into their former beau at any time (refer to point 4 above).
6. And everyone’s hair is always perfectly done. According to my BFF Erin who pointed this fact out to me earlier today, this is even more the case here than New York (she has lived both in the Big Apple and in Geneva).
7. While all black is known as New York women’s preferred wardrobe, women here wear a lot of brown on brown (during the colder months) and beige on beige (when the weather is warmer). This is somehow more conservative, more understated, yet more regal than black on black.
8. Lunches (including during the week) typically involve either a glass of champagne or wine. This is considered normal and lovely.
9. People do not walk and sip coffee at the same time. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen someone sipping anything from a travel mug or go cup.
Geneva, I love you… Don’t ever change!