Delicious Chocolat, the Alps, Banks, autonomy, multilingualism and high cost of living this is what the tiny little country of Switzerland stands for. All that and even more can be found also in the area of Geneva-Lausanne in the french part of the Swiss Confederation. I had the chance to stay at Dave's Place for the weekend and in the end i think i found one of those Destinations in the world which is just perfect to settle down and enjoy life.
I got to know Dave from a Pubcrawl in Hamburg and as luck would have it we met twice after just exchanging our Facebook contact details: in Munich and Hamburg. Dave is an expat from the U.S. living and working in Lausanne and invited me to also visit him over there. We figured out the first weekend of September for my visit.
Getting to Swiss from Hamburg is pretty easy if your Destination is Zurich or Geneva, like in my case. After just one and a half hours our tiny plane touched the ground of the Canton of Geneva, a few minutes later i met my friend and host for the next days and we catched the train to Lausanne in the Canton of Vaud.
As you maybe knew it before Switzerland is consisting of 26 cantons and comprises three main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, and Italian. As said at the begining i stayed in the french part and were suprised by the ability of the people to speak many different languages. Nevertheless this area felt a little bit like small france – beside the official 1st language you see a lot of french influence there: the Crepes Stands around, the Croissant for breakfest or the Outdoor Lifestyle with a lot of Cafés around to name just a few things.
The City of Lausanne has a population of only about 125,000 – i was very suprised that such a small city has a metro! Like most of the places it was very clean and seemed to be pretty new (the newest -fully automated- “M2” began operation in 2008) and modern. At this point i have to say that the whole public transportation system is just perfect, including the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) connecting the citys down there.
We used the Saturday to discover the city and started our tour at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, located in the centre of Lausanne. We went inside and admired the monumental architecture and afterwards enjoyed the spectacular view from the viewpoints in front of the church. The location of Lausanne is just perfect: directly on a lake with an alp-panorama behind it – on clear days you have a very wide view from the point we were standing at. We made a walk through the innercity and of course we visited a chocolate store (it was hard to stand when you have so much good smelling and good looking chocolate around ;) ) before having a break at one of the Crepés Stands (delicious!).
Our next stop was the beautiful waterfront at “Ouchy” – here i realized how relaxed this area is: people where sitting on the water/on chairs of little Cafès, reading or just talking and enjoyed their day, music was playing, little and big yachts were moored in the harbour. Because it was still warm enough to go for a swim we went to the beach and some pools not far away from the harbour.
If this wasn't enough relaxation, we then headed to the Bruxelles Café near Riponne Square, a quick 7 minute ride on the metro from Ouchy. We sat on a raised deck attached to the cafe where we had a cappucino and some dessert while looking onto the square, which has a farmer's market every Saturday…
(In Part 2 i'll introduce you to the nightlife and the tour to Montreaux, coming soon!)