After a relatively relaxed start to the morning, we made our way over, by tram, the Palais des Nations where some enjoyed the water fountains a little too much. After taking a few photos of the enormous Broken Chair and the rows of flags, we headed over to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.
We arrived at the museum where we spent a little bit of time contemplating ‘The Petrified Ones’: a statue of a group of people covered head to toe in huge bags. I won’t deny it, it didn’t sit well personally taking a smiley group photo next to something which reflected suffering. A discussion for another time, perhaps. That being said, they were quite effective in delivering an important message which I appreciated.
Inside the museum I found myself having a far more enjoyable time than I had expected. Truth be told, I didn’t know volumes about the organisation so it was enlightening to hear, read and see everything the organisation had achieved since their formation in 1863. The first hand accounts and displays were fascinating to look at and it was a wonderful reflection of the scope of work done by the organisation. I was particularly interested in the number of names the organisation goes by to accommodate all people.
Alongside the main museum exhibits, we were given the opportunity to take a look around the temporary AIDs exhibition. I must admit, some of the posters displayed raised a few questions (I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at yellow coats the same way again…) but, as with the main exhibits, it was an interesting experience.
Upon concluding our tour of the museum, we made our way back down to the Palais des Nations where we made our way to the Botanical gardens for a spot of lunch. Despite the weather being less than extraordinary, it did make for a wonderfully relaxing pit stop. Having been given an hour and a bit to eat lunch, we were left with a fair bit of free time to explore the gardens which proved more interesting than one might think in rather overcast weather.
Geneva’s Botanical Garden boasts a number of large conservatories which provide tourists the opportunity to enter a whole new world (a new fantastic point of view…). The first conservatory wasn’t huge but it’s raised walkway made for great views over the canopy. After some poor attempts at a David Attenborough impression, we made our way up to the considerably larger conservatory which made me regret wearing a jumper. It was like exploring a jungle, not something I had expected to do slap bang in the middle of some mountains. Despite the threat of some nasty plants, a thoroughly enjoyable pit stop all in all.
After regrouping at the entrance to the gardens, we made our way back up to the visitors entrance of the UN building. Upon arrival we had to wait a little bit but we were then given a guided tour of the UN buildings in Geneva. We visited a number of interestingly decorated conference rooms. Some were made to look like deserts, a little bit lost on me but nonetheless amazing to marvel at. One had a delightfully spikey ceiling which generated incredibly vivid images of impaled delegates (Nightmare fuel…). However, the best bit of the UN building in Geneva had to be the views. In its gardens, it houses a number of monuments to the UN itself and humanities exploration of the stars, a personal win-win. The mountain backdrop was equally fantastic.
Before making our way back to the airport, we were given a brief opportunity to explore the shopping side of Geneva. I personally didn’t have much interest in purchases but I did get a chance to explore a comic book shop (No, I do not have a problem…) but alas, they were all in French (Which didn’t disappoint me too much). After buying a few gifts for my family, we made our way to the airport, concluding our visit to Geneva.