Doing what the ‘locals’ do is tricky in a city like Geneva, where everyone seems to be from somImageewhere else. Coming from a New Yorker this may sound silly, but in New York those that have transplanted themselves there do so at least semi permanently. Geneva is home to a large diplomatic culture and everyone tends to keep on moving.

But there is, in fact, a local population and while I could have very easily sat in my beautiful hotel room all day, my fellow trippers find activity much more interesting. (I do this for you people, I really do.)

After much research on sites like Lonely Planet and SpottedByLocals.com, I was led to Bains des Paquis, a public bathhouse/cafe that sits directly on the lake. According to several sources, this is quite the local hangout, and fortunately for me, it was directly across the street from my hotel.

In this less-than-impressive structure, local Genevans can have massages, take tai chi, relax in the saunas and hammams and even take a naked dip in the lake. The outdoor cafe serves light salads, sandwiches and (at night) fondue. Geneva is an expensive city, so do not be put off when a Greek salad and small cheese plate comes out to CHF16 (approximately $20). This is one of the cheaper meals you can get in Geneva, and the view of the mountains surrounding the lake make it worth it.

The clientele is…mixed. There were couples canoodling lakeside, elderly gentlemen reading the paper and then a whole contingent of the unwashed youth. Typically I’m not really into the granola/”I make my own clothes” scene, but it was nice to pretend for the day, and when you are by yourself in a foreign city, you really can’t afford to be choosey about whose company you keep.

I’m off to Crans Montana in the Swiss Alps this evening. Until tomorrow, my friends.

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