Thursday, February 19, 2009

Swiss Trip: Lausanne!

Right now I'm pretty tired, but I'll forget about that and blog!! lol

Today one of my English assistant friends and I went to Lausanne, Switzerland. I really wanted to travel a bit and was so glad that she came along! Our day started really early ... I took the 6:35am bus from La Motte-Servolex to the train station in Chambéry (Gare Chambéry Challes-les-Eaux). About 15 minutes later I was at the station, waiting patiently for the 7:09am train to Geneva. My friend arrived a while after I did and then we hopped on on our train, yay!! As can be imagined, we were both really tired so early in the morning ... resulting in the conductor poking my friend to wake her up haha when he came to check our tickets.

About an hour and a half later we were in Geneva. Instead of waiting 10 minutes for the Geneva-Lausanne train we booked, we hurried onto another train to Lausanne that was about to leave. Yes, we were excited about the trip! But before that, of course we had to take free newspapers offered in the station (Le Matin Bleu and 20 Minutes). 40 minutes later... Lausanne!!! and boy was in COLD!!! Yup, like -2°C. I remember looking out from the train and saying "Oh no, why is there snow!!". Fortunately, it was a sunny day!

First stop: McDonald's for some hot chocolate. I didn't bother to buy any because I forgot my swiss francs in my apartment and didn't feel like using my card/euros to buy hot chocolate lol. After that, we made our way up a steep hill !!! Surprisingly, at around 9:30am it was just sooooooooooooo quiet!!! I must have said that a million times today! "It's soooo quiet! Where are the people?" haha. Anyway, our morning adventure took us to a tourism place where we got maps (very handy!) and some brochures.

Next stop: Lush. As we walked past Lush, I thought it was a candy store!! To make a long story short lol, we went in and spent like an eternity in there! It was fun though! The "candies" were really soap, shampoo, massage oil, etc. The sales girl was very friendly (the Swiss are really nice!) and it kinda took me by surprised that she addressed us using the tu form. After getting our hands washed with some moisturizing soap, hearing about a block of shampoo that apparently lasts for 80 lavages, and basically just smelling around the whole shop lol, we eventually bought some stuff (couldn't resist!).

At around 11am (we spent a long time in Lush!), our tour of Lausanne really began. We walked up a lot of steps to visit the Cathédrale de Lausanne which was built in the 13th century. Then we decided to walk to a nearby "green area" that we saw on the map. While it looked closeby, we took quite a while climbing uphill!!! The "green area" was also covered in snow!!!
We walked:
  • past the Petit Château (which looked more like a regular house!),
  • through some snow to the Hermitage (which seemed to be closed),
  • past the Tribunal Cantonal,
  • up some snow covered steps/thin winding pedestrian walkway to the Signal de Sauvabelin (640 metres, lovely views which compensated for the energy involved to get there!),
  • along the road until we eventually reached the Lac de Sauvabelin. Funny thing though, the little lake was frozen lol. Some of the animals looked so cold, on the ice, motionless... I had to wonder if they weren't real haha. Part of the lake wasn't frozen though, and some ducks were enjoying the water.
There's a little restaurant next to the Lac de Sauvabelin. Clearly after all that early morning exercise we were quite hungry and after checking out the menu, decided to get something to eat. Well we were hoping for a chocolate place, thanks to the Chocolatière signs, but we found no such thing, hmm. Maybe chocolatière has nothing to do with chocolaterie? Anyway, at the restaurant by the little frozen lake, we ate lightly. I had a cheese sandwich (Gruyère cheese, thickly sliced bread, some green veggie) and a glass of sparkling apple juice in a Nestea glass (reminder of being in Switzerland: Nestlé).

After lunch, the walk downhill was a breeze! This time we walked along with road/pavement, which turned out to be not as steep as our pedestrain path uphill. Back in the centre ville, we walked past the Château Saint-Maire (which actually kinda looked like a castle, unlike le petit château. According to my tourist brochure, the Saint Maire, not Marie, is the current seat of cantonal government.). Anyway, we just walked past and took some quick pics. We walked around a bit of Lausanne and actually saw some people after a while hahaha, ok that might have been an exaggeration. Sure, there were people in Lausanne, but it just wasn't as busy as I expected it to be. We got some crêpes as well (sucre, cannelle, & citron). I liked seeing the crêpes being made. The crêpe man was friendly/chatty, and thought it was crazy that I left the warmth in Trinidad to come to Switzerland!

Soon we made our way to the lake, the big, real, unfrozen lake lol, Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). There, Lausanne began to look like the bustling student town that it supposedly is. There were some guys on unicycles, some teenagers skateboarding/trying to do tricks, and some little children playing in a park. I had a strong urge to go down one of the slides!! Lol, those little kiddies looked like they were having so much fun and my inner child wanted to have fun too. So you know what, when I saw an adult going down the big slide with a child lol, I couldn't resist! My friend and I climbed up the thingy lol and yes, we conquered the slide lol. I went first. When I sat at the top of the slide, eagerrrr to let go, the little girl who had slid before me kept standing at the bottom of the slide! She was just looking at me lol, while I just wanted her to move because obviously I didn't want to kick her by accident. Lol, anyway, she eventually moved and I had sooooooo much fun taking that one slide! *grin*

Lausanne is the Olympic Capital. As a result, we just had to browse the olympics stuff. There were some nice statues and of course museums (e.g. by the Parc Olympique Lausanne, there's the Musée Olympique and the Musée de l'Elysée, which is a photography museum). Well, we didn't visit the museums, nor the Swatch Store. We had about an hour and a half before our scheduled train was supposed to leave. However, we decided to take an earlier train back to France! As a result of this last minute decision, we got a whole lot of exercise!! as we hurried to the train station to get the 4:17 train from Lausanne to Geneva. Guess what, we got it!!! We arrived a little less than 5 minutes before departure.

30 minutes later we were in Geneva. Again, we hurried to get the train to France. I got a much needed nap on the train.:-) The train was going to Lyon Part-Dieu, so we had to come off in Culoz, France (which seems like the middle of nowhere). However, the train was running 10 minutes late, so when we reached Culoz, we just ran out the train straight into the train for Chambéry which was opposite. 2 minutes later lol, our Chambéry train left, and 30 minutes later, it felt so good to be back in Chambéry!!!

My two weeks vacation had its ups and downs (beginning right after the drama at the collèges, I destressed in Lyon, then I still had uni for the first week and the flu was unbearable!!!! (I eventually just had to stay indoors for a few days straight), and I also had a visit from the Jamaican assistant I met at the stage in September). Lausanne today was great, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of my vacation (especially since teaching/uni resume on Monday, *sigh... ok, let me try to think happy thoughts!*). Tomorrow--> lunch with the English teacher who hosted me when I first arrived, and personal weekend trip to Lyon :-). I really love all these holidays!!!!

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