Personal Random Excerpts and thoughts from the trip, city by city.
Note: A lot of these pics are iPhone only – sorry in advance for the quality!
It all started as the usual talk – My buddy Arling has always used the “When we go to..” even though we probably both figured I wouldn’t be anytime soon – this time around it was about the Geneva Autosalon. “So next year when we go to Geneva, we’ll have to visit some other places too since we’re there.” – one thing leads to another, next thing you know my other friend starts saying “yeah, it’ll be a great trip – I can handle all the little stuff, carry your guys bags LOL” – come late December of last year and we’re actually looking at dates…I still wasn’t fully committed, but to be real honest, the next thing that happened pushed me to go.
On Friday Dec 27th, my brother had a heart attack. He should’ve died according to what the doctors called “the widowmaker”, which I always referred to as the Porsche GT2 personally – if he had waited or any other circumstances took place, he may not have made it. Thank god he did. My Dad had passed away in January, my sister has been fighting cancer, then this happens. Life is short. We all have so much life we all have yet to live, I don’t want to waste time– no regrets, no missed opportunities.
Every conversation regarding the trip after this was about locking things in. Plane tickets, factory tours, etc. We were fortunate that Arling is in Europe pretty much every quarter so we had a man on the ground so to speak to help us layout our travel plans. It was a lot to do in 2 weeks, especially considering we were driving 75% of the trip, which actually ended up being to our advantage in the end.
On March 12th (incidentally my bro’s bday) – we left for Europe.
Last minute run to the important places…
Geneve Day 1:
The airport happens to drop us off at the local train station as which is mighty convenient considering we won’t have a car until Cologne. I still didn’t have any Euro so AW insisted on me taking 100 Euro since I was trying to use my CC everywhere and I hadn’t gotten used to the machines yet. We bought our rail pass and headed off to our hotel.
I actually had a say in this hotel since I wanted to use some rewards points on the trip. Our hotel was quite nice considering the options available. The Hotel Auteuil Manotel Geneva was clean and had great reviews, walking distance from the train station as well.
We got to the hotel, checked in then decided to check in at the auto salon real quick – also Joe was meeting one of his French friends, Sylvain as he was in town for 1 day to checkout the show. “Man this elevator is small” I thought as we all crammed into an elevator that says fits “8” LOL. There were 3 of us with some luggage. I’d find out later, all elevators are small in Europe. We’re just fat Americans LOL.
At the show, we met at Ruf, our hosts for the show and I took a quick walk thru the show to see what I was dealing with for the next few days…HOLY COW, I’ve never been around such an amazing array of vehicles all under one roof. From manufacturer to tuner, they were all here with the best cars and products.
Refer back to my blog regarding the show and cars itself here:
Autosalon: One of the main reasons we came and man, it did not disappoint. Aftermarket – check. Exotics – check. Cars you can’t find in the US from “normal manufacturers” – check. If you’re a car guy, you’ve gotta make it out to this show. Wildest tuner cars were the FAB Design P1 and the Brabus 6×6. Wildest manufacturer cars? RUF CTR3 and P1…can’t forget the Huracan launch as well, although I did see a preview a few weeks before so I wasn’t jocking it as much as I normally would.
Our first night we ate Chinese LOL! Arling had eaten at this place before and it was declared “Albert Safe” – the lady spoke Mandarin and AW ordered for us. Since I “forced” us to eat something basic, I paid – which was sort of funny cuz I still didn’t realize the conversion. That was an expensive Chinese dinner LOL! ($140? For 3 plates? And soup) – food was good though and I was just happy to have landed.
That’s the entire elevator floor LOL.
I decided to head over to the Starbucks near the train station, which was on the way to the show. I stuck the first “Chase” stickers here on the second floor. As I waited for the crosswalk, I couldn’t really tell if it was “walk or don’t walk” but the lady next to me started to walk, so I did to. Then as a car approaches she starts to run and I’m like WTF, so I run too…the irony, I was scared of the flight, but ultimately it was almost a car that did me in. LOL! Once I got my bill from Amex with the exchange rate I should’ve got hit LOL, I was paying $14 for every Caramel Machiatto and Croissant I ate in Geneva LOL! I think I had this order 4 times while I was there? LOL.
Although we had some time to walk around the night before, I figured I could really spend some time with cars today to ensure I got all the content I wanted.
Dinner was pretty good as we tried a specialty hamburger joint called “Holy Cow” LOL. The beef was “different” but not bad by any means and the bathroom was free! Thanks Joe!
Geneve Day 3:
When I arrived at the Autosalon it was PACKED. I mean PACKED like sardines – not to mention it was unusually hot inside as they were not used to the seasonally warm weather(it’s usually snowing). They didn’t make adjustments for the temp inside the center. I metup with a friend quickly then decided to go back to the show once Joe was up, Saturday is one of the more “public” days so I guess I should’ve expected this.
AW had suggested I checkout this fountain thing on Lake Geneva when I left the show. I decided to walk rather than take a taxi since I didn’t want to deal with not knowing exactly where I’m going. I used my maps on my iPhone (DATA!!) which was very accurate. While walking I saw a Ferrari FF and a Mercedes Benz SLS Black Series, well worn and driven daily apparently. I also stopped off at a few fancy watch and high-end brand places.
Fountain of Geneva: Next, I decided to walk out to the other side of Geneva where the famous Geneva fountain is. I placed a “Chase” sticker on one of the electrical boxes in front of the two ladies statue that represent Switzerland and Geneva (or something like that) – lots of fancy shops, mostly high-end watch places, Rolex, Hublot, AP – my watch buddies would be in heaven. It makes sense I suppose since it is GENEVA LOL. I found an apple store while wandering around and drank another $11 caramel machiatto so I could use the free wifi LOL. I ran in to see if they had anything out of the ordinary but they didn’t. There was a cool toystore that I visited but it didn’t have anything I couldn’t find online and at this point of the trip I was still trying to “conserve” luggage space – LOL. Yeah, that would be a pretty funny joke later.
For lunch I tried McDonalds; it was actually pretty good, although it was EXPENSIVE! I also happened to see that they still fry their apple pies, which I must say was mighty tasty. I ate these fried chicken strips since they didn’t have nuggets – they were well done with some slight spice to them. Pretty sure my combo was $16 and that was before the apple pie LOL. I also noticed that the CC machines here prefer the “chip” card although they do swipe as well for the US CC’s. I ended up eating on the second floor – interestingly, when you request “take away” which is “to go”, they really pack your stuff well. I had my drink and my food all in one nice package that would’ve allowed me to get it back to the hotel in one piece, not so much that way here in the US LOL.
Back at the Autosalon, I tried to wrapup any shots I may have missed the previous two days.
Last dinner in Geneva was at this cool Italian place that we happened to stumble upon with a woodfire pizza oven. Yes, Italian in Switzerland, this theme would continue throughout our trip…
Next up: Brussels! [Insert Van Damme jokes]