Door Pushers

For an American, living in Geneva comes with a number of obvious adjustments, chief among them that whole speaking French thing. But many of the other differences are much more subtle – nothing you would find explained in the latest edition of your Switzerland guidebook – and for me, those have been the most fascinating.

Take the doors here, for instance. Many of the shops have automatic sliding doors that are constantly opening and closing as pedestrians trigger the sensors walking down the narrow sidewalks. But it’s the stores with old-school doors that give my husband and me trouble, and it took several days for me to realize why: While in Washington we typically pull doors open to enter a shop, here they push.

So a pro tip for any Americans headed to Geneva: If you want avoid raising eyebrows with that loud glass-slamming-into-metal sound, be prepared to push!

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