Friday, 27 September 2013

Patisserie De Vermont, Rue de Vermont 3, 1202 Geneve, Switzerland

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Geneva is boring. The downtown is full of boring shops selling expensive watches, perfumes and clothes and there's an air of boredom everywhere. It even filters down to the city's caffs.
Look at the top of the shot (middle). You can see the staff member's foot. 

Take the Patisserie De Vermont: it lacked something. Actually, it lacked plenty of things, like customers for a start, but, like the bigger city in which it resides, it lacks character, personality, humour, everything. People say the Germans are a bit humorless, but they are not as bad as the Swiss. There's an air of misery, a hint of some kind of apathy. I can't put my finger on it, but the place isn't 'alive', unlike, say, Dusseldorf.

Perhaps its all the rich people hiding behind their shuttered properties, hoarding their money and trying to avoid paying hefty tax bills in their own countries. Perhaps it's got something to do with Switzerland's neutral status on the world political stage, I don't know, but if I was Obama I wouldn't come here to discuss nuclear weapons with Iran. It's the sort of the place that might make matters worse and by that I mean it's SO boring he might just say, "Oh, develop your weapons of mass destruction, I don't care, just get me out of this boring city."
The Vermont's interior. It needed more customers if the the truth be known.

As for the Vermont, well, it had round, Formica-topped tables, wood or possibly laminated floors and a servery showcasing a range of sweet and savoury pastries. Oddly, it might be licensed as I can see a bottle of Ricard and a small array of upturned glasses, although this seems common here; most of the small 'caffs' seem to be licensed, but it's understated. All this is tucked away in a corner behind the espresso machine.

There are orange walls and a huge mirror on the wall at the back through which I can see myself sitting alone at a table in the corner. I am the only customer. In fact, the only other person here is the proprietor – or the person who happens to be working here and she's not overly friendly. There's no cheery 'hello' or 'can I help you'. In fact, when I arrive, she's sitting in the opposite corner, by the mirror, reading the newspaper.

A radio is on and there is a Lindt Easter bunny wrapped in gold paper sitting on a high shelf, a reminder that we are in Switzerland, home of chocolate and expensive watches – the former making the place less boring, perhaps.
View from across the street.
I ordered tea and a sweet slice of something, I'm not sure what, but it was very tasty. The tea was served in a tall glass. Or rather the hot water was served in a tall glass and there was a sachet of Liptons tea accompanied by a sachet of sugar on a plate. Sadly, there was no milk as the Europeans simply don't understand tea. I think they turn their noses up at people who order tea, possibly because they find it difficult to serve. So difficult that they prefer to simply fill up a glass or cup with water and provide a tea bag, wrapped in paper, for the customer to throw in. As for not offering milk, well, that's simply unforgivable and I couldn't be bothered to ask as it would have meant disturbing her: she'd gone back to her seat by the mirror to continue reading her newspaper.

Not an ideal experience. It was boring, like the city and I couldn't wait to pay up and leave.

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