Life in Lausanne

Lausanne Travel Blog

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Ariane, ready to attack her massive plate of venison
Friday, 10/23/09

I went to lunch with Ariane and Saby and Ariane's colleague, Corinne. Ariane picked me up and drove me to the suburbs, where apparently the absolute BEST restaurant for La Chasse is. It was indeed, the best. I've had it 3 times in Lausanne, and the meat was the best here, although also the most expensive. I got venison again, but from the back of the animal this time, and it was cooked perfectly - rarer than the other places. I didn't order it "a point" this time, but "saignant" (rare), and it was perfect (but for the same result in Paris, I would use "a point"). One order of this came with 2 full plates of food. And I ate most of it!

I had planned to go shopping, but was exhausted, and I just went back to the hotel and updated my blog here and Facebook.
Joey, Mark, Zoey and Zoey's mom on the terrace adjoining Mark's hotel room.
Mark called - his friend Zoey and her mom had arrived from England, and he invited me up to his room for some snacks and wine, and also 'cuz he needed my Swiss army knife with the wine opener! I brought up some cheese and crackers as well, and then at 6:30, a big group of us (me, Mark, Zoey, Zoey's mom, Joey, Ariane and Saby) went to see the film Julie and Julia in English with French subtitles. I'd seen it in the US, but it was fun to see it with a French-speaking audience - they were just cracking up over Julie and Julia's horrible French pronunciation. I grabbed a kebab from a street vendor near the theatre, Mark grabbed some fries, and we ran off to do the show, getting there just in time.

The Friday night show was fun, and after we went up by the cathedral to Le 13éme Siécle (the 13th Century) bar for a beer/cider with Mark's friends Ashley and Celine (? - spacing on her name), who are both nannies.
Place de la Riponne, a block from my hotel
Love that place because it looks like a dungeon...arched stone rooms that you meander through. It's changed a bit since the non-smoking laws kicked in here about a month ago. My favorite place to sit was one level up, and that's now a smoking area, and they took the bar out of there. There's still the dance area downstairs, but I just like to go for a drink. We got the booth right by the front door and hung out talking for hours.

I can't believe my trip is almost over. I leave in 2 days. 2 weeks is certainly not enough time in Lausanne...I feel like it's a second home, and I didn't have enough time to hang out with everyone I know, and see (and taste) all the things I wanted to. But I know I'll be back. Gotta get dressed for the show tonight. A tout!

Saturday, 10/24/09

I woke up too late to get the hotel's breakfast again, so I got dressed and walked down to Globus and went downstairs to the gourmet food hall, sat at the coffee bar and had a sandwich and some coffee.
Looking up at the cathedral from Place de la Riponne
Walking around the aisles of food almost made me want to cry - in the U.S. we just don't have the same stuff available, or as readily available. The style of life is just different, and I wish it was less fast food oriented. It's just about impossible to get a really good coffee and a croissant anywhere. Hell, just even a good loaf of bread. Couldn't buy anything because I knew my luggage was already filled with the gastronomic delights I bought in Italy, and the few things I'd already bought (or been given by Ariane) here in Switzerland.

I spent the afternoon shopping and walking around town. I was desperate to find a new outfit because I'm so sick of the clothes I've been wearing for 5 weeks, but I realized if I bought any of the lovely woolen things I saw that I would never wear them in California.
The gang at King Size

The show last night was a lot of fun. Slow to get going, as usual, but a lot of our pals showed up, so they got the crowd rowdy. My friend Julien, a former bartender at King Size, showed up during the middle set to say hi. After the show, we went back to the Trez for a drink, along with Mark, his friend Zoey and her mom. It was much more crowded than the night before, so they didn't stay long. Julien sounds like he's got his life together, which is great to see. He was homeless and jobless last time I saw him. Now he's a naturopathy practictioner, and has a place to live. He says he doesn't go to bars much anymore, but he did want to catch up with the rest of the bartenders from King Size, and they all hang out at Le Zinc after work, so although I was tired, I said I'd grab one drink there with him.
One of the incredibly strong security guys at King Size - picked us both up - twice, 'cuz the shot didn't work the first time!
We started walking over towards St. François (the way the city is laid out, it felt like we took a tour of the whole thing), but when we got close, I realized I was just too tired, so I bid Julien goodbye and went back to the hotel.

Sunday, 10/25/09

AGAIN I got up too late for the hotel's breakfast, but I was dying for a cup of coffee. I threw some clothes on and started walking, forgetting that it was Sunday and just about EVERYTHING is closed. I found myself at St. François and looked up to see that the Starbuck's was open, and packed, with a line. I went in and stood on the line, and then remembered that the latte I had there last week sucked, and it was $7 for a small, and if I could just find an open café I could have a GOOD coffee, plus I could have American coffee when I got home.
Lausanne cathedral
So I walked out and kept walking, and found myself at the train station, where I figured things would be open, and I was right. I got a coffee and a croissant, but the croissant was disappointing. Ah well - I'll just have to come back to Lausanne, and go to the GOOD cafés (not on Sunday!).

I got onto the metro and decided what the hell, let's see where it goes, and I decided to go up the mountain several stops. The Lausanne marathon was going on, so there were loads of runners on the metro. I followed it up part of the way, and got out and looked around, but it was overcast and there didn't seem to be much there, so I figured I'd head back and get ready for the show at 4.

The show was quiet and uneventful. Ariane and Saby came with Ariane's co-worker Corinne, and Cédric and Christine, Giovanni, and Mark's nanny friend Celine (?) and her boyfriend Davy.
View from the cathedral to old town
Crazy Ray, the British guy who sounds like Michael Caine and absolutely loves Frankie Flame, had said he was going to come with a big group of friends, but that didn't happen. Tortue, my friend the 1664 beer distributor said there was a possibility he would be there, but he ran the marathon, so no guarantees, and he didn't make it either. But I did "My Humps" (twice) for Saby, who now just calls me "My Humps" and Pearl Jam for bartender Cédric (so many Cédrics in Lausanne - I met a few others in the audience).

Ariane and Saby had to leave, but the rest of us went to Les Brasseurs (Alsatian restaurant) afterwards for dinner. I really wanted the mussels, but they were out! Mark and I split a steak tartare, and the flammeküche with Reblochon cheese, and a tarte tatin for dessert.
Waiting for "le guet" (the town crier)

We said goodnight to Gio, Celine(?) and Davy, and the rest of us walked up to the cathedral to watch the town crier. Lausanne is apparently the last city in Europe that still has one. Between 10pm and 2am, the town crier apparently comes out of the bell tower and yells out the hour, and that all's well. Davy said that after he cries out, "C'est le guet - il a sonné minuit," that if you yell it back to him (or something similar like "Le guet a sonné) that he will drop a key down on a string, and you can open up the door and come up the tower.

We waited and had the video trained on the bell tower at midnight, but...he never came out. Maybe it was a vacation day for him, or he was sick or something. We were yelling for him, but no dice. I said goodnight to Joey and Mark as they were heading over to gay night at Mad, and I said a bientôt to Cédric and Christine, went in my hotel room and tried to cram everything in my suitcases.
Already in the Halloween spirit
Leaving first thing in the morning.

A la prochaine, Lausanne!

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Ariane, ready to attack her massiv…
Ariane, ready to attack her massi…
Joey, Mark, Zoey and Zoeys mom on…
Joey, Mark, Zoey and Zoey's mom o…
Place de la Riponne, a block from …
Place de la Riponne, a block from…
Looking up at the cathedral from P…
Looking up at the cathedral from …
The gang at King Size
The gang at King Size
One of the incredibly strong secur…
One of the incredibly strong secu…
Lausanne cathedral
Lausanne cathedral
View from the cathedral to old town
View from the cathedral to old town
Waiting for le guet (the town cr…
Waiting for "le guet" (the town c…
Already in the Halloween spirit
Already in the Halloween spirit
Me and Mark
Me and Mark
The statue at La Palud, and the an…
The statue at La Palud, and the a…
photo by: puttyland