During the February half term, we took a trip to Geneva, Switzerland, primarily to CERN, "Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire" (European Council for Nuclear Research). We set off on February the 17th with a fairly early 6 am start, once we arrived in Geneva, the fun began, we received our Geneva public transport travel cards and took a short train ride into the main city, we then took a short walk to the hostel that we would be staying at for the next two nights to drop our bags off, and proceeded to find our way to Lake Geneva waterfront, and then found somewhere for lunch. We went to, what we soon discovered to be, the normal cafeteria type set up restaurant, there are many different stations, you grab whatever you want a pay for it, sounds simple, however, in a very busy area, where everyone else spoke Swiss-French, this was hard to figure out.
We then took a tram ride to the United Nations building, which at the front had a display of flags, the most beautiful array of colours. Once inside the building we received a tour of the main building. The meeting rooms we extravagant and each had a different story behind them, most of them included art which were gifts from various different countries.
After our tour of the UN building, we went to an ICT museum, which featured a tablet, interactive self-tour, we learnt about how ICT has helped us make breakthroughs in technology, from the invention of radio to sending someone into space, it was very interesting. Much to all our enjoyments, we headed back to the hostel, after a very long day.
We had a few hours to chill before heading back out that evening to enjoy a Swiss food staple, cheese fondue (yum). The restaurant looked like the kind of place you would expect to see a young girl with pigtails churning butter, while her father was loudly yodelling away, it was very cute. Now, a cheese fondue is basically a bowl of hot cheese that you dip bread into and eat, it was my first time trying it and I would definitely try it again, it was delicious. The fondue was followed by sausage and chips and then the creamiest ice cream I have ever tried in my life, it was brilliant.
At the start of day two, we took a short walk, got on a tram and off to CERN we went. Before our tour of the Hadron Collider experiment, we went to an exhibit which told us about CERN, a facility the uses the most advanced scientific equipment to try and discover the fundamental particles to life and the beginning of life itself, what they had discovered there and what they hoped to achieve, all if this in an amazing 360° view. We then had lunch which featured the same setup as the previous day where I had the most amazing chocolate ganache tart ever, it was so shiny, I could see my face in it (no exaggeration). We then had a talk and then a tour of the main experiments of the hadron collider, which included us taking a short trip into France (which borders Switzerland) the purpose of the hadron collider is to send particles around in a opposite directions in hopes that something happens and at each experiment they analyse different data and take different tests to study what happens to the particles, it was very interesting. At the second experiment, Atlas, we experienced some scientists work behind a glass window, almost like a zoo which was strange but they didn't even seem to notice us stood there, we also saw a very cool lego model of the experiment. On the way back to the hostel, we had an opportunity to stop at Lidl and buy food which was very exciting for some of us. At the hostel we had a lovely dinner and then had some hours to relax before bed.
On the final day, we had the option to go shopping in the morning or to stay at the hostel before the boat trip. I decided to go shopping, we headed over to the old town to proceed with our morning. After that, we joined the rest of the group at Lake Geneva for the boat tour. The hour and fifteen minute long tour included many sites such as one of the largest water fountains in the world the shoots water out if its nozzle at a speed of 200 km/h (124mph) and view of the surrounding mountains. After the tour, where fortunately nobody was sick, we took a nice walk back to our hostel, which wasn't too far from the waterfront. It was time to collect our bags and leave.
We then went to the train station, got to the airport where we checked in and then had lunch.
It was an amazing trip, full of lots of fun activities, it was very worth it and I would definitely go again (the hoodies were awesome too) !!!
By Ashli Lawrence