There is such a large contrast between life in London and the village where I grew up in Switzerland. In one place you can walk for kilometers before getting to the shops whilst in the other going down the street is enough. In one place there is a 24hr a day life going on outside your window and in the other you hear children playing and you hear the birds tweeting whilst water flows in a river next door.
It’s amusing to sit in a house in Switzerland rather than a flat in London because of how much space there is. The entrance hall is as big as London bedrooms. The kitchen is as wide as the house I’m living in in London. There are basements in Switzerland whereas in London those are rare. You find that the people wake up far earlier in switzerland and are so tired by the evening that they loose the motivation to go out. In London you can start the day at 9 or 10am and leave later.
By 10pm you should be quiet in Switzerland whilst in London noise starts at 1am and sleep is not attainable till about 3am but this depends on what you’ve been doing before attempting to sleep. You’d pay 14CHF to go back and forth to Geneva whilst in London you’d pay around that price and have access to over a hundred stations for at least one day. That’s quite a contrast.
There aren’t as many people. In Switzerland minorities are small enough not to be noticed whilst in London they’re large enough to take large swashes of London over. Go around North West london and you’ll understand what I mean.
I can walk from one country to another from where I’m sitting. If it’s foggy I can go up several hundred meters and arrive above the cloud layer and see the Mt Blanc and blue sky. I can also go for an hour’s walk and walk through a few villages. In London I’d have to drop by a number of parks, three of which are conveniently on the tube line I live along.
Food shopping is more fun in Switzerland because I’m brought up on this food rather than that found in England. It’s fun to get fresh pasta with meat in the tortelloni rather than vegetables for example. It’s nice to have arrabiata sauce. It’s nice to find European food, whether French, Italian or other.
It’s nice to have international news, news that focuses around UN organisations since the TSR is in the same town as the broadcaster.
Another thing that changes is driving. A few months ago two close friends of mine and I decided to meet at a drive in McDonald’s and we were all in different cars and this struck me as odd, as though we were in America. Driving is an integral part of life in Switzerland for those who live in the countryside rather than towns like Geneva. It means that we’re comfortable behind the wheel and think nothing of driving back and forth from Nyon to Geneva several times a day. It does get tiring and boring after a while, especially with four or five road radars trying to catch and fine you.
We know where all the radars are but this does not take away the nuisance that they are.Â When there’s a lot of traffic it doesn’t matter but if it’s 3am and you’ve been with friends the whole night all you want to do is open up the throttle and race down the motorway and get home to sleep. Instead you’re coasting at 120km/h. It’s frustrating.
To add to this over the years I’ve learned that Genevans hardly ever leave the city. It’s always up to the rural people to make the effort and that’s often frustrated me. As a driver you need to put up with congestion, increased fuel costs and parking fees. It’s also time consuming. When there’s no traffic it takes 20 minutes to get to Geneva, when there’s traffic then the time doubles.
Once you get to Geneva people will want to drink whilst you’re having ice teas. They’ll have glass after glass whilst you’re no longer on the same wavelength. After a while it gets extraordinarily tiring. That’s why my dislike of the city of Geneva grew worse and worse.
Nyon is a small town set in a beautiful surrounding. You can cycle, you can sail, you can pedal on a pedalo, you can swim in a swimming pool with the Mt Blanc within sight and the CGN boats passing by. It’s a really nice town. It’s close and has good transport connections with Geneva. It’s got everything you’d expect to do in Geneva but without the hassle. I’ve hardly ever known Genevans to come to the town though. They think it’s too expensive and there’s nothing to do. That’s what I think of Geneva ;).
That’s one reason I love London. Everyone has an oyster card and everyone moves around the city. If you meet with friends they travel some distance as well. They will catch the tube as will you to meet in one place or other. You have such a wide selection of things to do. Go to Covent Garden and you’ve got the street performers, go by the Tate Modern and you’ve got the guy with the birds, go by the Film theatre and you have the street painter doing famous painters. Find an arch on the Thames walk and classical artists are performing as a quartet, as operatic singers and more. Go to other parts of London and you’ve got a huge selection of international foods. It’s got so much to offer and once you get to know the city you can easily walk from one place to another.
(just got a phone call… to be continued….)