An American’s observations of, and recommendations for, traveling to Switzerland and visiting CERN.
Switzerland and CERN use the Swiss franc (CHF), the value of which is currently just above that of one U.S. dollar. The bills are colorful and of slightly different sizes that correspond to their value, the smallest bill, or “note”, being 10 CHF. Any currency below 10 CHF is traded in the form of a coin, the size of which also decreases corresponding with its value. Consumer prices are often adjusted such that coins with values less than 20 or 10 “centimes” are not needed.
More information: http://www.currencyworld.biz/articles/chf/
The hostels at CERN are modest but clean and adequate rooms, and they’re also quite affordable in contrast to most hotels in Geneva. Some of the rooms offer peculiarities to everyday aspects that Americans might expect in their rooms. For example: some showers feature a hand-held shower head, but no mount on the wall to which to attach it; some windows open inward, but with a hinge at the bottom of the window instead of the side; and you won’t find certain amenities like washcloths or shower gel in the rooms.
Swiss electrical receptors expect a “Type J” adapter, which differs from much of Europe. CERN facilities often accommodate both European and Swiss style adapters, but you may want to pick up a Swiss adapter to ensure compatibility with receptors in most locations.
This site offers a U.S.-to-Swiss adapter for $7: http://www.walkabouttravelgear.com/9G.htm
To depart from CERN to the airport in Geneva via public transportation:
If you’re leaving CERN early in the morning or late at night, be sure to exit the site from Gate B, and not Gate A, which is locked to all auto and pedestrian traffic overnight.
At the bus stop, which is at Gate B, wait for either of these two bus connections:
- Y to Avenue du Jura (goes non-stop to the airport)
- 56 to Meyrin-Village
Make sure your bus is heading in the right direction: it should have the above final destination shown on the front of the bus.
If you take the 56 bus, you will have to get off at some point in Meyrin in order to change buses and wait for the 57, which goes to the airport. You can change at either Vernes or Meyrin-Village, but beware that the bus stop for the 56 is not at the same exact spot for the 57 at either location: you’ll have to walk a bit to the 57 stop. The 57 route eventually ends at the airport gates.
Detailed route and transportation information is available on the TPG site.
To travel from Newark International Airport to Long Island via train:
- From the main airport level, take the AirTrain to the last stop, which is called Newark Airport Station.
- From there, take either a New Jersey Transit train or a PATH train. For NJ Transit, you can buy a ticket either at the airport or at the train station; take the train on Track A through New Jersey Penn Station and two other stations to New York Penn Station.
- From there, walk from the New Jersey Transit area to the LIRR area and take any appropriate train back to Long Island. I am told that the PATH train from NJ is much cheaper than the NJT train, which was $12.50, but I haven’t verified that yet.
The CERN restaurants (or cafeterias) are cost-effective places to get three meals a day: they offer a wide range of hot and cold choices, are open early and close late, and they serve spirits after 5 PM (and sometimes earlier).
This page is a work in progress. Please feel free to add comments, or to suggest additions and corrections. Thanks!