In Geneva, women ride bicycles in high heels. And why not? Along the promenade, against the backdrop of a mountain landscape, across a lake on which sailboats tilt with the wind, white sails held taut. Between the buildings, not skyscrapers, more squat, regulated and even in their ascendancy skywards, more elegant and curlicued than steel and glass and concrete. Through the parks, where monsters frozen in time and wood, stand ready to be looked at, climbed on and played in.
In the large spaces of Geneva’s underground carparks, elite sports vehicles park at angles alongside large executive limousines, sleek to mimic the hairstyle of the decision-maker, clean efficient business-purpose cars of all shapes and sizes and motor types but always clean, and the occasional more regular automobile of, say, the visiting family of tourists. And the price, you could buy a Swiss watch for the same amount.
Around Geneva, along the shores of the lake, particularly on the north, the land stays relatively flat, that’s to say, hilly, instead of mountainous, and here, in what is in fact France, rustic villages, and slightly larger towns, dot the landscape and provide a cheaper alternative accommodation to that of the city and immediate surrounds.
The overbearing sense of Geneva is of calm, of order, of relief from the madness of a world beyond it only interprets.