Rise and Shine its CERN Time

cern trip blog
April 12, 2016

Okay,  so this all started when two of my colleagues who had previously visited  Geneva a few years ago highly recommended me to go there.

It made perfect sense as Geneva is one of the main destinations that I am  responsible for operating when a school group has delightfully booked with  us…………..the question is what was stopping me?

I already know the most popular excursions that my groups do when out in  Geneva, there are a handful of UK airports that fly daily to Geneva and I am  aware of the free public transport card that allows me to travel around the  city, plus I get the added bonus of creating my very own itinerary for  myself!

After asking myself this question multiple times, I realised that the only  thing that was stopping me was deciding when to go!!! Geneva in the summer  time looked breath-taking, however it was looking at images of the city in  winter that took my breath away- it looks truly magical! I chose mid-December  as my preferred time to go so let my itinerary commence...

Day 1

Hand luggage packed and itinerary in hand we headed straight to Birmingham  Airport for our 12.45 flight departure. Within a few short hours, we were  through airport security and collecting our free 80 minute transport cards  and catching the train to Geneva Central (Gare Cornavin).

Walking to our first tram journey of the trip, we were surrounded by  spectacular Christmas lights which really started to stand out as night time  drew in. Tram 15 is located in front of the main train station and within 3  quick stops plus a brisk 5 minute walk we arrived at the Geneva Hostel ready  to drop off our bags, freshen up and head out to our evening of bowling and  pizza.

We hopped back on to Tram 15 and made our way to Bowling de Meyrin, a  common trip that our school groups make. After 2 competitive games ending in  a tie break, hunger STRIKES and we stepped into the bowling’s Italian  inspired restaurant for an amazing pizza. We had the enjoyment of watching  our pizzas being freshly prepared in front of our very eyes and cooked to  perfection in the restaurants stone oven. The quality and size of the pizza  were definitely worth the wait. The pizza was very filling and was a great  way to complete our first day in Geneva.

Day 2

Rise and shine its CERN time!

CERN is the main reason why groups book their school trips to Geneva with  Adaptable Travel so I was very intrigued to see what the fuss is all about. I  must admit, physics was not one of my favourite subjects at school but after  visiting CERN it made me see physics in a new light. It is one of the largest  and most well-known scientific laboratories in the world and is also the  European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Unfortunately I was not able to  see the Large Hadron Collider or the inside of the Globe of Science &  Innovation area on my visit, but our amazing CERN guide allowed us to spend  more time at the other buildings. He took us to the ATLAS mural wall and the  ATLAS visitors Centre. Inside the centre we were able to see the detector  parts and the control room. To conclude our visit we were given a 30 minutes  Detector Slideshow by the guide who helped us understand more about the  mechanisms of ATLAS so we could build up a picture of them in our  heads.

Our next two visits of the day were museums- The Red Cross Museum  and The Natural History Museum.

Located in Geneva's International area (opposite the main entrance to the  United Nations), the Red Cross Museum is recently renovated and offers a  unique opportunity to explore humanitarian history in further detail. With  the museum consisting of 3 different parts (defending human dignity,  restoring family links and reducing natural risks) there is just so much for  you to see and learn. The real life stories and interactions made me feel  like I was there with them in that moment of history which was very  heart-warming. With each person having a different story to tell you can get  lost in there all day but unfortunately I couldn’t as we had another museum  to visit.

We made it to the Natural History Museum with just 30 minutes to have a  look around before closing time. As it is the largest natural history museum  in Switzerland, we knew as soon as we entered we would not have enough time  to browse all four floors but that didn’t stop us from trying! By closing  time we managed to see just 2 floors which where so fascinating that I wish  had the chance to see the rest. The first and second floor that we saw were  filled with stuffed and preserved animals such as giraffes, lions, different  types of birds/ sea creatures and a massive elephant! There were even animals  there that I have never even seen before.

After a day full of learning about animals and scientific stuff, I think it  was time for some fun! I have always wanted to do outdoor ice skating like  you see in the movies so we took a nice walk to Parc des Bastions taking in  the sites of Geneva before darkness fell. It was 6pm when we arrived at the  outdoor skating rink and although the night was dark, the beautiful Christmas  lights which surrounded the ice rink lit up the night sky. It looked truly  amazing and so was the price. At 2CHF to skate (including skate hire) Ice  Skating is probably the cheapest activity Geneva has to offer and is  especially fun, fitting perfectly in with the Christmas spirit! We skated for  around 30 minutes before temperatures got too cold and we decided to head  back to the hostel for our hot evening meal. We had a very filling pasta dish  with a soft drink and then a small desert to finish off the evening.

Day 3

The end is near!

Our last day in Geneva was also my birthday so we got up early, had a quick  breakfast and checked-out, leaving our luggage in the hostel’s secure  lockers so we could make the most of my birthday. We only had 2 excursions to  go to which means that we could spend the afternoon shopping.

Our first visit of the day was to the ICT Discovery Centre. As we were not  in a group as such, this was a self-guided visit and we walked around the  centre learning more about information and communication technologies from  the very heart of the ICT industry. We were both given a tablet and  headphones so we could interact with the exhibitions the around the centre.  It was very fascinating being educated on the evolution and exciting future  of ICT and the role of the ITU that has changed people’s lives everywhere.  It really makes your question how would you live without the internet!

The History of Science Museum was our last and final visit in Geneva.  It’s perfect for any science lovers and is perfect for anyone looking to  understand the basic principles of science. The museum overlooks the  beautiful park of La Perle Du Lac and looks like a mansion from the outside.  We saw a variety of old scientific measurements apparatus such as  microscopes, telescopes, clocks and much more from the 17-19th century. There  were so many different kinds of the same apparatus from various ages in time  to look at.

With just 3 hours to spare before we needed to head home to the airport, it  was time for our shopping trip to Balexert shopping centre. Both Tram 14 and  18 stop within walking distance of the Shopping Centres. There are 3 floors  inside with many shops from high street stores such as H&M and Zara to  designers stores such as Diesel and Lacoste. The whole shopping centre is  immaculate and was filled with elegant Christmas decorations from head to  toe-a mini merry go round and tea cups for the kids and Santa was also there!  After purchasing more than what could fit in my hand luggage we returned back  to the hostel, collected our luggage and headed straight back to the airport  for our flight home but not before thanking the staff at the hostel reception  for making us feel very welcome.

After looking back at the last 3 days I can happily say, my liking for  Geneva grew to love. Geneva is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and I  would recommend anyone to visit, even if you are not a physicist like  me.

Written by Tour Co-Ordinator Ayesha Williams

If you are interesting in visiting Geneva and exploring CERN please contact  Adaptable Travel today for further information.