We emerge from the train station in Lausanne, Switzerland with our bags and hike up a hill of respectable steepness to our hotel. Dropping our bags on the floor, I rush to the window and throw open the curtains.
Lord, have mercy – Lausanne is drop dead gorgeous!
Have you ever stepped into a postcard? Everything – every little thing in Lausanne is beautiful, from the designer people shopping in the sunshine, to the jumble of medieval and modern architecture, to the elegant curve of fountains flowing with cool water. The fountains are intuitively placed, little rewards for taking the time to explore Lausanne’s back streets and alleys. We wander up, up, up towards the Notre Dam cathedral and are rewarded with spectacular views of the medieval section. Our eyes are overwhelmed with cobbled streets, clay tiled roofs, and glimmering magic.
One word of caution to the frugal traveler – Lausanne is expensive. We share fondue meals and buy our chocolate gifts at the grocery store instead of chocolatiers, which are glorious but outside our budget. I recommend Globus‘ grocery section – great selection of Swiss chocolate.
When you’re tired of wandering, the metro is easy, clean, and will take you just about anywhere. We spend an afternoon in Ouchy, a sweet little beachy area on the lake. Cupped by the French Alps, the Lake Geneva is so wide, you can squint into the mist-shrouded distance and fancy yourself by the sea. We play a bit of chess in the square (with knee-high chess pieces) and feast on Earl Grey flavoured ice cream. Later, a glass of rose in a cafe by the shore. I hold my glass out, enjoying the contrast of pink wine against the sparkling bluey-green water, dotted with white sails. A live jazz band plays in the background, the breeze lifts my hair.
What can you do but grin and sigh?