Not love, actually

Geneva is very beautiful. So why have I had problems falling in love with it?

After four years of travelling to Geneva – to visit Daughter after she moved there – I haven’t really taken to it. Yes, once you get to know it a bit, and you know to turn left when exiting airport arrivals, and you can find your way around, and you know to say bonjour all the time, except when you should say bon soir, it feels, well, familiar, on a limited basis.

And it looks so good. The lake. The mountains. The jet. Lots of things look good. The view from Daughter’s balcony of the steamer on the lake.

I kept thinking the love would come at some point, and then I realised Daughter was about to leave and I still didn’t love it. Nothing had popped up that was love. Like a little, yes. Because it’s beautiful.

The penny finally dropped, just before what I think might have been my last visit a few weeks ago. Geneva is like Karl in Love Actually. That impossibly handsome man, who nevertheless left me totally cold. Because good looks do not equal love. I’d prefer Gavin, the PM’s bodyguard, who sings Christmas carols so beautifully.

It’s funny, though, because you can fall for a place, even in the first minutes there. Take Llandudno. Or you love the place because you belong there, or you’ve spent much time there and learned to love it.

And it doesn’t help how many times the Swiss say they don’t speak English – is it possible to go through school in a western country and not study the language for at least a few years? My non-existent French does not suddenly spring into full-on French when they say no. The wise among them then decide that their English might be poor, but not as bad as the French I don’t speak. I was informed at school that they all speak German, too. Seems not.

But it is beautiful there. And I’m glad I’ve been. It’s just not love.

Lake Geneva

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