Lausanne Travel Blog

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We woke up anticipating our first breakfast of the trip and it was very continental in style with baguette, croissants and other breads being presented alongside cereals and some meats with the usual tea and coffee. We loaded up as we wanted to head to Lausanne on a full tank to make the most of the day. We arrived by bus at the central train station and purchased the tickets at 40 francs a pop. The Swiss trains defitnitely lived up to their names being both spacious, and well aired and clean. We grabbed a seat and got comfy for the 45 minute ride along the lake to Lausanne the next big city on the route. The journey took us close to the water which was lined with vast farmland and the occasional village with stunning views of the mountains in the background. We arrived in Lausanne with a map handy and headed up to the action area of the city up the hill. We arrived at the Cantonal museum of archaeology, history and money hoping to learn a bit of the city’s history sadly they only provided in French so we merely admired the building and continued on up the steepest of hills. We walked on and came to the Chateau St-Maire a bishop’s palace built between 1397 and 1427. We headed south towards the cafes and main streets and this took us to the Anciennce Academie which was built by the Bernese after the reformation in 1579 to train pastors.

We had been walking in the sun for a while without any real success before we came to the stunning cathedral. Again named Notre-Dame it was built between 1150 and 1275 and contains a 232 step walk to the belfry (this was closed at our visit). We took a look around and although it was no Paris Notre-dame it was still stunning and again testament to the Christian churches ability to construct awe-inspiring and enduring designs. Next to the cathedral was the history museum we decided it was time we should take in some history of the region. We managed to scam student tickets here (an enduring theme of our trips so far!!). The exhibition contained a model version of Lausanne which provided with a voice commentary and a light display a clear history of the region as the home of the Calvinist contribution to the reformation. Switzerland was home to Protestantism at the time. The museum also offered amazing views over the city. We headed on our way and found Parc Mon repos which contained an archive of the Olympic museum and housed the federal tribunal. We strolled through the gardens enjoying the weather and making the most of the time to take in the fresh air.

We decided the waterfront would be another source of beautiful views and also the sight of the Olympic museum. It was a good 30 min walk in the sun and so we paced ourselves stopping for a sandwich en-route near the station. We took a stroll along the waterfront again admiring the views of the alps and taking in a refreshing chocolate ice cream en-route. We arrived at the Olympic museum and it was a sight to behold. The city has been the Olympic capital since 1994 and host many sporting organisations within its vicinity. The grounds were perfectly manicured and contained art sculpture like displays of some world records in existence. Me and Kae gave the high jump a shot but even touching the bar proved effortful. Pierre de Coubertin was responsible for reviving the modern Olympics and located the site in Lausanne due to its neutral status as World War 1 raged. He sought to educate and civilize mankind through the principles of the Olympics namely honour and humanity. We managed to get a free ticket at the door as a tour group had an over allocation and a nice American? Lady gave me a free ticket for entry. This saved us about 6 francs and put us in an extra good mood for the tour. The museum was partially closed at the time due to a conference but we both left with a vast knowledge both of the history of the games and its original intentions which seem to have deviated with the money and drugs involved today!!

We waltzed back up the hill to the Place De la Gare and joined our train for the short trip back to Geneva. We had enjoyed a great day so far but the best was yet to come and definitely a true Swiss experience. We got back into Geneva at around 6pm so had an hour to kill around the marina before the Cheese fondue cruise began. This involved me pestering Kae to pick up the tickets way in advance of the boat!! Anyway the boat departed from Pier Mont Blanc and we were shown to our seats. We ordered a glass of wine and a ice cold Swiss beer to help us relax!! The boar began to fill up and the atmosphere was buzzing even romantic for the couples present!! We mulled over what to order as we struggled to decipher the menu. Luckily the waiter spoke English so we proceed with a pot of cheese to share and a plate of Swiss beef to mix with the cheese and bread. Neither of us had knew what to expect so were pleasantly surprised at just how tasty about 3 kgs of cheese could be. We were given two cheeses though never thought to ask what types!! The cruise was around 3 hrs around the lake and with the mountain views was like a scene from a 50’s romance movie!! We both indulged more cheese than any human ever should and were more than satisfied with the meal. We enjoyed a short stroll around the boat taking in the still warm evening air and admiring the whole ambience of the experience!! What a day!!


Again we rose early determined to make the most of the beautiful weather. We devoured another tasty breaky of cereal and croissants. We jumped on the bus to the city without paying as we had done before and shortly arrived on the outskirts of Geneva city. We jumped off at the Red Cross museum (Geneva is known as the city of peace and it is clear why with all the UN headquarters here!). The museum was very leafy and presented an interesting study of humanity. We learned of its origins around the time of Florence Nightingale when a war ravaged Europe began to put more care into the treatment of those displaced by war namely soldiers and refugees. Today every country on earth has a branch of the Red Cross and it is a universally supported institution which remains uniquely immune in times of war. Having enjoyed and learned a great deal appreciating the efforts of our fellow man we proceeded to the other major institutions. We arrived at the Place Des Nations which stood out due to the giant chair which sat in the square. It was missing a leg to represent those maimed by landmines and stands 12 metres high. We stood outside the UN building taking pictures of the chair and UN HQ but we realised the tours were 2 hours and that constituted too much of our day to justify it. We kept on towards the city and passed the UNICEF building and into the botanical gardens were mountain views ( a great theme!) provided the backdrop. We headed across the Pont du Mont Blanc and on to areas still unexplored. We did a quick lap of the shopping district before locating St. Pierre Cathedral in the south of the city. The cathedral was quite small by European standards but the climb up into the towers offered stunning views over the urban area. We explored the tower climbing ridiculously tight stairways but the photo ops were well worth the grind!! We walked down to the ground level and further south through lovely narrow streets that make Europe so charming!! We arrived in an urban park to find the local Turkish community enjoying some markets and playing traditional music. We grabbed a lovely Turkish kebab (nothing like the greasy variant you get in town at 2am!!). We decided we were in the home of the watch-making industry and so had to take in the Phillippe Patek museum which documented the development of ever more luxurious (and expensive!!) watches. Ironically Patek and Philippe were Czech and Polish refugees who had escaped persecution out East. My attempts to prove I was a student had again failed and so we paid our ticket and skimmed the history section. Seeing a watch worth 100,000 Euros does make you wonder who could spend that kind of money. After a good hour we headed to the west side of the city and found a quiet little coffee shop that did lattes (hard to find in milk starved Europe!!) We felt back to the city centre it was so we hit the marina again and grabbed an ice-cream and churros to enjoy in the mid afternoon sunshine!! We were feeling good and had one last skim of the tourist shops before finding a restaurant to set down for dinner!! We hit the main commerce area and found a nice Chinese restaurant. We enjoyed a beer and wine to pass the evening by and take in the constant streams of people walking the streets. After dinner we strolled the streets before retiring to bed for the night.


Sad as were to leave we had really enjoyed this trip and felt a quick stroll on the French side of the border was warranted. No wonder the hotel was listed in Geneva and not Ferney as the town was quite lifeless aside from the cows strolling the fields. We decided we had made a great decision to visit and were sad to leave. The bus to the airport was a mere ten minutes so we headed on ready for home.
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photo by: puttyland