mont salève

A little background before I dive into my trip to Mont-Salève   All these posts, recapping the trips we take, are written by Tessa and edited by me, her fiancé, Matt.  Right now I am in Geneva, Switzerland without her (only until mid September!) interning for a UN agency and even though I have to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world (unpaid at the moment) I do get to visit some pretty amazing locations during my downtime. I've never been as much of a journal keeper at Tessa, but I do occasionally find it cathartic and at the very least it will be amazing to look back on these posts someday. After editing Tessa's posts for a while, I'm excited to contribute some experiences of my own!

As Geneva essentially sits on the Swiss border to France, a friend recommended I cross the border and hike Mont-Salève.  I was told the views are spectacular (spoiler: they are).  The top of the mountain looks over Geneva and the neighboring lake.  So last weekend I took a short bus ride (on bus #8) to the last stop on the line – I knew I was on the right bus when people with impressive hiking gear kept getting on the bus after me. I got off the bus at the edge of the Swiss border and followed the more experienced looking people across the French border (no one asked for a passport).  I followed signs to the gondola lift (or funicular, or cable car, or whatever you wanna call it) and found out you can ride it to the top for 9 francs round trip or hike for 2.5 hours up the mountain. Because Tessa and I always choose the cheaper option I chose the latter; also, what's the fun of being on top of a mountain without climbing it?

Fun (nerdy) fact: at one point in Mary Shelley's book, Frankenstein's monster scaled the nearly perpendicular cliffs of Salève... but instead of trying to recreate that, I followed the red and white signs from the gondola lift to the base of the mountain to begin my gradual upward ascent. The hike was steepest at the base, which was good because that’s when I had the most energy. There were plenty of places to sit though, and even a quarter of the way up provided beautiful views over Lake Geneva.

(random puppy I saw because I miss Zelda)

(random puppy I saw because I miss Zelda)

There’s also a wonderful little town named Monnetier halfway up the mountain. Apparently people have been living at that spot in the mountain since 300 B.C., but today the town is composed of quaint 19th century buildings.

I was exhausted by the time I reached the top, but there were plenty of places to sit and eat lunch overlooking Geneva.  I was wary of the incoming rain, so I didn’t sit for too long and instead hiked a bit more around the top of the mountain.  Walking even 20 minutes from the gondola lift provided much more expansive views of the valley, as I could walk to the edge of the cliffs. There was even a large area of astroturf looking over the valley, normally used for sunbathers on nicer days than mine. 

I couldn't have been more tired, so I took the gondola lift down (5 francs), but I also couldn’t have been happier. Only way it could've been better is if Tessa could've joined, but that'll happen soon enough.