June was a busy month. For the second time this year I had back-to-back meetings on different continents. My first week away I was back in Geneva. This was my third trip to Geneva so I decided to explore a little outside of the city and booked a day tour to Annecy, France.
Annecy is described as the “Venice of the Alps.” Now I’ve never been to Venice, so I can’t confirm the accuracy of this claim. What I can say is that it is a quaint medieval town about 45 minutes from Geneva.
We had about 2 hours to wander around town. I ate some crepes and browsed the shops and enjoyed the scenery.
Then I was back in Geneva where I met up with colleagues from Global Affairs. We had dinner and then I convinced them we should ride the ferris wheel that was set up across the bridge in the English garden.
It was a very warm evening and the view from the top was really nice (although in true Geneva fashion, I seem to have blocked out the price of the ticket).
After five days in Geneva I boarded a plane to Montevideo via Madrid. I was excited to be leaving the 30+ degree weather behind and heading to the cool winter weather of Uruguay. I arrived in Montevideo early in the morning and dropped off my bags at the hotel. I then headed out in an Uber to go find the hop-on, hop-off bus and see the city. It was nice to sit back and just take in the city, which had some beautiful landmarks.
Unfortunately I was a little too exhausted to enjoy the tour and after almost falling asleep on the bus I decided to get off close to my hotel and hit the grocery store for some food and water. The next day I did a full-day tour of Colonia del Sacramento, a village and port that was originally established by the Portuguese and then conquered by the Spanish. It is now home to a new lighthouse, built in the ruins of an old lighthouse.
An old church (which goes without saying).
The most intense cobblestone streets I’ve ever tried to walk on.
And some very quaint streets and old buildings.
I had lunch and browsed the shops then got back on the tour bus for the two hour drive back to Montevideo. The next several days were filled with meetings and a little bit of sight seeing thrown in where we could. The hotel I was staying at had bicycles you could borrow and since the city is built along the coast, they have a very nice path along the ocean where you can ride a bike or walk. And seeing as it was winter, the path was relatively quiet.
I also managed to check out one of the street markets that was incredibly busy and requires you to hold on tight to any valuables.
However, maybe my favourite experience of the whole trip was during lunch hour one day, the delegate from Uruguay offered to take us on a private shopping excursion. We were taken to the workshop of a woman who makes colourful sweaters and scarves out of wool, cotton and alpaca and were allowed to sift through everything she had and try things on, all the while having our own personal translator. Needless to say, it was well worth her while and we shopped like under-dressed Canadians who suddenly found themselves in winter weather (even though we knew what to expect, and have no excuse, except to say that I guess you forget what 8 degrees feels like when you’re packing a suitcase in your 35 degree bedroom).
I have to say, out of all of the trade meetings and work trips I’ve done, this is truly an experience I will never forget.
Having said that, when it’s all said and done, there’s nothing like being reunited with my favourite boys.