July 11, 2013.
Day 1 Arrive in Geneva, Switzerland.
When I was planning my trip to Provence and the Alpes for the 2013 Tour de France with Jennifer Sage and her company Viva Travels she advised me to fly into Paris or Geneva Switzerland since our meet up point would be in Avignon, France. I had been to Paris before, but I had never been to Geneva, so that settled it for me! I decided I would fly into Geneva and see a new city. But where to stay? What to do there? I wanted to spend at least two days in the new time zone to get my body accustomed before I embarked on what was likely to be some very challenging bike rides. I described my planned trip to my good friend and co-worker, Mirjana, and she was very excited for me. When I mentioned my intention to fly into Geneva she said “I will introduce you to Gemma! You will love her!” Mirjana was right.
Gemma is Mirjana’s longtime friend and colleague who works at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Immediately Mirjana put me in touch with Gemma, and as promised, she turned out to be incredibly generous and kind (and adventurous, but more on that later). We communicated via email and I heard from Gemma that yes, I should stay with her at her apartment and yes she would meet me at the airport when I arrive in Geneva. How wonderful to have a friendly face waiting for me when I got off the plane! So as promised, Gemma was there to greet me at the airport even though my plane arrived late and she accompanied me via bus/tram to back her apartment. After quick introductions her plan was to go to work as usual, let me sleep a bit, and then we would meet up later for dinner.
When I woke up I ventured out to see the city a bit. I walked along the Promenade du Lac and had a late lunch at a cafe. This was the first place where I discovered free WiFi so I took the opportunity to check in with my family and friends back home. After that I returned to the apartment to wait for Gemma. We had a lovely salad and melon dinner and I went to bed as early as my body would allow to prepare for the long week ahead.