I have my own method for falling in love with a city and it involves a great deal of strolling and reading in public spaces. Pick a book that had been on your list for a long time, or perhaps a new release you are very curious about and indulge yourself in daily guilt-free reading sessions.
Because you will have a book with you, you won’t feel too self-conscious sitting there at the park as retirees, parents with strollers and joggers pass by. And let’s be honest, reading is not a top priority to most of us, despite our best intentions, so this is the perfect opportunity to catch up on that front. It is also a fantastic way to escape homesickness for a moment.
When I arrived in Geneva, it was spring. I would sit at Jardin Botanique and read on the bench near the pond. Over a decade later, it is a cherished memory, blending the book plot, the setting where I read it, the longing for my family and friends and the excitement of starting a new chapter in my life, plus the joyful oddness of being able to read all morning on a weekday.
During the winter, you can undertake a favorite local café quest (Starbucks doesn’t count!). Start with the ones in your neighborhood and move towards the city center, or the other way around. Reward yourself with a carac (chocolate tart covered with green fondant), one of my favorite local delicacies.
Another idea that fits every budget is visiting public libraries. They all have at least one reading room where you can sit quietly to read (or write, if you’re that type, like me). Many have a section with books in other languages, including English. And you get to see different parts of the city too if you undertake a Geneva public library tour.