ImageIn the movies, when a girl goes off to Europe by herself she ends up exploring city cafes and shops and encountering local (handsome) ruffians who whisk her off on Vespas to have all kinds of ridiculous adventures, only to bring her safely back to her hotel. So naturally I assumed this was how my two days in Geneva would go…

Turns out that only happens if your name is Mary Kate Olsen or Mandy Moore. Reality, please meet Meagan. Meagan, reality.

After landing in Geneva at 9:30 yesterday morning (following a kick-ass flight in Business Class on SWISS, might I add), I hopped in a cab and headed off to the Beau Rivage, a hotel that is nothing short of Grande Dame status as far as European hotels go.

I could tell you about my suite with the expansive bed and windows that open up to views of Lake Geneva, or the steam room built into my bathroom, or the Jacuzzi with the LED lighting (which I couldn’t figure out how to turn off last night and it kept refilling and whirring periodically)…but instead I’ll just tell you that I am no movie heroine, unless of course, she is Janeane Garofalo.

On a quest for fondue, a Swiss specialty, I wandered the streets of Geneva’s Paquis district. It was a Sunday night so not much was available. After about 45 minutes I managed to stumble upon a quaint coffee shop with what looked like Europe’s equivalent of a hipster so I ventured in. To sit myself or to wait to be seated? That is the question. So I lingered in the doorway for a minute and attracted several odd grimaces. Eventually the barista, who didn’t speak a lick of English, sat me at a table with a rugged looking gentlemen reading the newspaper, cigarette lazily dangling from his lip. “Aha!,” I thought. My European adventure was about to begin..

…that is until he barely even glanced at me and sighed a very huffy sigh for having been interrupted by the American rube.

I downed my coffee faster than you can say Toblerone and got the hell out of there. Still starving, hopped up on caffeine, I attempted to make my way back to the hotel, but, you see, the streets of Geneva are more Medieval than you might think and suddenly I found myself face-to-face with hookers.

Yes, Geneva has a red light district. Six or seven whores stood out in front of the sex shops, thigh-high boots about the most conservative articles they were wearing. When I passed a voyeuristic-looking shop with ladies in the window wearing just bras I decided it was time to get out of dodge.

ENOUGH! Back to the hotel I went. Cranky, hungry and jet-lagged I put on a robe, ordered a Croque Monsieur and some wine from room service and scanned the television channels looking for one of those movies I was speaking about before so I could live vicariously through these women and tell people I did it myself.

Tomorrow is another day.