Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Trip to Switzerland

Setting off from Singapore, the flight took us a total of 12 hours to reach the Frankfurt Airport in Germany. From there, we took another plane and finally reached Geneva after one hour. During this short journey, I experienced for myself how the German airline company made changes in order to cater to the needs of the customers. This was done in a simple way; about 15 rows of seats that belong to the economy class were replaced with those of the business class, creating more space in the centre to place coffee tables.

Throughout the journey, all we saw are mountains that are higher than the clouds. I think they might be the Alps. Upon arrival at the Geneva Airport, we saw nothing special. However, we did not need to fill up forms when we pass through the customs. The custom officers will let the passengers pass through by just taking a glimpse at their passports. Our luggage passed through without any interference as well.

Our accommodation was a 5-star spa resort hotel, which is a 30-minute drive from the airport. The hotel faces Lake Geneva on one side and a garden on the other. The design of its interior is beautiful. We chose a more spacious room that faces the garden because I was sharing the room with my wife and daughter. Although the scenery we saw from the room was not that magnificent, we were surrounded by the fragrance of flowers and could still hear the birds chirping. This hotel houses a well-known Chinese restaurant and France restaurant; it also has the best spa and massage centre in Geneva. The lowest expenditure is 180 Swiss Francs (approximately S$200+) for duration of 80 minutes. One can enjoy aromatic massage and perhaps a free drink. However, I gave up the enjoyment due to the high price. The hotel only serves western breakfast, which costs S$50 for each person. I think it is not bad, as their service is excellent.

There is an ancient touch in the hotel’s design, which makes it classical and elegant. In addition, it has the characteristic of the conventional outskirts in Europe. For me, the most unforgettable component is its library, which has a large collection of China ancient cultural relics.
This hotel is quite far from the city area and it costs S$80 for a round trip, but we also have to consider the traffic situation. The taxi fare in Geneva is as terrifying as that in London. Once you get into the car and the driver asks about your destination, the fare meter will start to run. Not only that, the charges also varies according to the different types of taxi. The most “high-class” charge will come from those branded taxis such as Mercedes.

At the entrance of the hotel, there is an old pine tree. The pines on the tree are as big as rambutans and the branches spiral in a regular pattern, giving the tree a youthful feeling. This is akin to the impression that Switzerland gave me. Although it is an old country, it still keeps up with the times. The management system in Switzerland is also number one in the world.

Most of the time, Singapore is learning from Switzerland but the former looks more like a man-made garden city. It is indeed not an easy task to create a man-made natural landscape without revealing the traces of manipulation.

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