I ride public transportation in Geneva virtually every day. One of the things that users of the system soon learn is that they will frequently be “entertained” and subsequently solicited for donations by a variety of musical acts while riding the trams (Geneva’s light rail network). These acts typically involve some combination of guitars, accordions and/or stand-up bass fiddles, along with some vocal accompaniment. I’ll be honest, when I see a group filing onto the tram with their musical instruments, I generally groan, but I do reach into my pocket for a franc or two figuring that if someone has the stones to wake up in the morning and decide they’re going to spend the day riding around town on the city tram playing an accordion for donations, that’s worthy of a small donation.
So I’m riding the tram to work last week, and two guys climb on board, one with an acoustic guitar, the other with an electric guitar. Now I’m somewhat intrigued. They spend a minute or so tuning up, and I start thinking to myself, “this is different… I wonder what these guys are gonna play?” Next thing I know, they start in on a classic tune from my favorite 1970s rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. (Not to be confused with the current, fraudulent version of Lynyrd Skynyrd.)
As they played the opening riff and as the tune’s first lyric, “Big wheels keep on turnin…'” wafted down the length of the tram, I said to myself “Hey, that’s Lynyrd Skynyrd!” So I jumped up, started my phone’s video, and made my way down the aisle to get a front row, standing room only view that was only temporarily obstructed by some dude walking to his seat on the tram. And I coughed up a full 5 francs for the privilege!
Note: This post is dedicated to my friend Ed, and my son Pat, fellow lovers of classic Lynyrd Skynyrd.
One of the things that Chris introduced us to when he was in town was to wander in front of the Four Seasons hotel which always attracts an array of very awesome and awesomely expensive sports cars. For whatever reason, there appears to be a strong correlation between people in Switzerland who like to dine or stay at the Four Seasons Hotel and people who own really sweet sports cars.
Here are some of the cars you are likely to see when you walk past the Four Seasons Hotel. Continue reading
There are essentially three different kinds of trains that one can take to get from place to place in Europe – or I suppose anywhere else, for that matter. These are, in ascending order of speed and “fun factor”, 1) your basic urban “tram”, as it is known in Geneva; 2) your somewhat more exciting regional commuter-type rail train; and 3) your super duper “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” bullet-type train. In this post, I hope to give you a first hand look at what it feels like to ride each one of these trains. Continue reading
Ever wonder what happens to a virtually useless 20 cent Swiss franc coin when it gets run over by a really heavy light rail train? Well I do. And I figured, rightly I’m sure, that other inquiring minds would want to know. So I conducted the scientific experiment depicted in the following video. Continue reading
My hometown of Minneapolis/St. Paul is regarded as one of the top cities for biking in America, (the Twin Cities and Portland,Oregon seemingly always take top honors) but they’ve got nothing on Geneva. Yes, there are more cars than bikes in this city (I think) but the transportation infrastructure has clearly been designed and constructed with the cyclist as well as the motorist in mind.
Chris and I set out for a ride recently from our apartment in Geneva to a town called Hermance, which is about 20 kilometers up the south shoreline of Lake Geneva, or Lac Genève in French. Continue reading
I have been driving in the US since I was 17. I’ve gotten used to driving in the US. To borrow from David Letterman, here is my top 10 list of “Things an American Driver Has to Get Used to While Driving in Europe”: (Not including the price of gas, which I covered in a previous post.) Continue reading
Lots of places claim to be have multimodal transportation networks. Much of the time, the truth is that cars still dominate the system, but some accommodations are made for other modes of transportation. One of the first things that strikes you as you travel around the city of Geneva is that the system has developed to accommodate the transportation needs of all types of people. Continue reading