Europe Switzerland Travel Diary

A weekend in Lausanne

Sitting on the shores of Lake Geneva, you get to look at the French Alps all day.
Sitting on the shores of Lake Geneva, you get to look at the French Alps all day.

 

You know that moment when you realised that you’ve just filled your entire camera’s memory on the same back drop over and over again? I had that moment on the weekend, sitting on the lake shore being mesmerised by the snow dusted mountain peaks directly across the water from us.

Lausanne has plenty of beautiful surprises around every corner.
Lausanne has plenty of beautiful surprises around every corner.

 

I don’t live in Lausanne. I wish I did. It’s a beautiful little place on the shore of Lake Geneva facing the French Alps. It’s the mountains that keep beckoning my attention, right across the lake, majestic in their nature and grand in their frame. It’s hard to believe that as you sit there on the gentle lake shores that you are simply just looking right out to France, in Switzerland.

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I am here in Lausanne for work, and seeing that meetings bordered a weekend I couldn’t resist to come earlier and enjoy a bit of sightseeing. At this point in the seasons, (and warmer than usual this year as well) the leaves are still in the process of turning their shades of orange and red, and the sun still warm on the touch and nights just mildly cold, the conditions are absolutely perfect.

Steep hills, up and down, all around Lausanne
Steep hills, up and down, all around Lausanne

 

Lausanne is relatively small, with only around 100,000 inhabitants, the streets are never that busy and the pace of life without rush.

How fantastic are colours of autumn!
How fantastic are colours of autumn!

 

We are naturally drawn to forests and headed towards the massive green patch marked ‘Parc de l’Hermitage’ on the map, and enormous area of forest and parkland that was perfect to visit in autumn. Various different trees turning various different shades of red, and the sun reflecting off the brilliant evergreens that stand out from among the sleeping shrubs. Climbing up the Sauvabelin Tower was a highlight. At 35 meters high, it provided the panoramic view of our surrounds is one of the ‘hidden’ attractions of the city.

The Sauvabelin Tower
The Sauvabelin Tower

 

I say ‘hidden’ because everyone knows it’s there. It is clearly visible on the tourist map. However, very few tourists make it that far up into the forest, with most visitors preferring to stay close by the waters or only as far as the historic cathedral on the hill top.

Yes, Lausanne is rather hilly, and there is said to be as much as 500 meters variant between the low parts of the city and the tip of the hills that roll between them. Walking around town can certainly get you fit! But never fear, there’s also an efficient transport system (and free for tourists to use if you get a transport card from the hotels) that can take you up and down, from side to side!

Happy forest elf :)
Happy forest elf :)

 

There is never enough time to experience everything about a place, even a small place such as Lausanne, but there was one thing that we didn’t want to miss, and that was the Olympic Museum.

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Lausanne is the location of the Olympic Committee headquarters, and the well designed museum provides the backgrounds to the games, the timeline of all the Olympic games and their locations as well as interactive displays and games to keep the visitors entertained.

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The museum was very inspiring. The Olympic Games have always been a symbol of international friendship through sport, and the spirit of the games have always been about a world united by friendly competition. Being reminded and seeing the photographs of the different nations standing side by side for the games made me think about the recent events in Paris, in Beirut, in Syria and everywhere else, where acts of evil have been done by one human being to another, under misguided pretenses… and there it was, in front of me, proof that we can in fact all get along in the name of sport!

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That’s a pretty sunset

 

That let us with food for thought, as we wandered back to the waterfront for some hot chestnuts and coffee, and for that hard to beat sunset and pondered: what a beautiful city. What a beautiful world. Too bad we let a couple of nut cases ruin it for all of us.

Share your thoughts below!