OUR EXPAT OF THE MONTH: OCTOBER 2020
by Alexandra Osváth
This month’s featured Expat talks to us about secret spots in Geneva and the city’s connection with great Latin American artists.
Name: Andrés del Castillo
How long have you been in Geneva, and what do you do here?
I’ve lived here for over 8 years. Mostly I have been working for the UN, a Swiss Foundation for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and since May 2020, I am the Senior Attorney for the Environmental Health Programme of the Center for International Environmental Law, where I am supporting the legal aspects of a global campaign for the negotiation of an international treaty to address the impacts of plastic production, use and disposal worldwide.
It depends on the day. For fast food, BELGA, the best Belgian fries and beer in Geneva, on Rue Dancet. For a nice place to meet friends, the Centro Asturiano on Boulevard de la Cluse.
Favourite outdoor thing to do?
In summertime, I like to go to the Plage du Reposoir and to do stand up paddle. In winter I like to visit the Buddhist Monastery Shedrub Choekhor Ling, 20 minutes’ walk from the upper station of the Salève.
Best secret place in Geneva?
There is an inner Mediterranean-style courtyard in Carouge, the Piedmont-Sardinia town of the Canton of Geneva that I really like. But my secret place is not a secret, it’s the Musée Martin Bodmer in Cologny.
Favourite Sunday morning thing to do in Geneva?
Visit the Plainpalais Market and the Geneva Ethnographic Museum with my son… There is a nice playground in front of it 😉
Something you love about Geneva?
The connection with great Latin American artists: Geneva was the first European city visited by Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian novelist awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, when he came in 1955 as a foreign correspondent to cover a UN conference. He spent several nights at a hotel in front of Cornavin and he decided to send back some invented articles to be published, where he highlighted the peacocks of the Palais des Nations. He nicknamed this place as the “city of illustrious strangers”.
In Geneva little by little you discover that writers such as Jorge Luís Borges lived here and his grave is in the Cemetery of the Kings in Plainpalais. Another example is Violeta Parra, a Chilean singer, who composed part of “Gracias a la Vida”, one of the most important songs in Spanish, when she was living at the corner of rue Voltaire and rue du Vuache.