I usually ignore weather forecasts because they are so often wrong—especially in Calgary. But in the Geneva region, the forecasts were for rain starting from Wednesday until we leave. We thought we should be cautious and take advantage of the predicted dry weather. Instead of attempting a day trip on Thursday, we decided to head to Lausanne on Tuesday.
Of course, on Monday night, without sleeping pills, we both woke at 1:30 am and struggled to sleep after that. Despite sleep deprivation, we still headed out.
One of the main reasons for a day trip was to acquaint ourselves with the route to the train station. On Sunday, Maria had explained how we can bus to the train station, but on Tuesday, we were leaving from a different stop and on a different route than what we had travelled on Sunday. Relying on mere verbal memory without the actual experience is becoming a challenge as we age.
Getting the first bus worked smoothly. The buses are so frequent, once you know the stop, it’s pretty easy. But, as it turns out, we got off one stop too soon and spent a good 15 to 20 minutes finding the right stop to make the connection.
We made it to the train station almost an hour after we left the apartment. It should have taken 15 minutes according to Google maps. Google maps often underestimates the time it takes us, but allowing for our slow walking, this was pretty bad. We seem to have a talent for getting lost. But now (we think) we know where we’re going so we should do better time when we leave Geneva later in the week.
At the train station, finding a train to Lausanne was no problem at all. They leave about every 20 minutes. Better than the bus service from our house to downtown Calgary.
Because we have a Swiss rail pass, we don’t even need to make a reservation or buy tickets. We just get on and show our pass. I added the pass QR code to my phone but the code wasn’t reading properly on the train attendants’ machines. Luckily, I also had our paper copies of our pass. Technology is great until it doesn’t work 😦
The train had second level seating for better viewing.
Maria told us to go to visitor information to ask about getting to Lausanne cathedral or Notre Dame de Lausanne. She said the distance is not far, but very steep, and we may not want to walk it. No kidding. We took the metro. The metro station floor was at an angle to accommodate the steep ground.
Three stops and then, to avoid too many stairs, we crossed on a bridge to get to the cathedral side and walked up a very short, very steep sidewalk to the cathedral. Walking the 1/2 kilometre or so would have been too much for the sleep deprived.
A lot of the 11th century cathedral has been restored over the last century as it has suffered from neglect. It was built on the highest point in Lausanne providing good views of the city and lake.
Inside had some old but mostly modern stained glass windows.
Some original paint survives on the stone sculptures over the original entry door, and now preserved by no longer opening it to the outdoors but encasing the doorway area with a plexiglass door.
After I had a good look around, we left and tried to find somewhere for lunch but nothing nearby appealed and the lack of sleep left us with lite energy for wandering. Having figured out how to ride the train, we caught the train back to Geneva.
I tried to take a photo of the many vineyards along the way but this was all I managed before giving up.
We checked out the hotels along the lakeside as we assumed they would be most likely to serve late lunch. We went to Windows in Hotel d’Angleterre. We could see Jet d’Eau from the opposite side from which we had looked yesterday.
I tried a Lake Geneva fish called Fera, which according to Wikipedia is extinct, but the food fish served as Fera is a related whitefish. It was served with peas, mushrooms, onions and a mushroom sauce. Scott had a club sandwich. Not a very fancy lunch but very expensive. That’s the trouble with luxury hotel restaurants: even simple dishes are pricey.
Another Swiss white wine:
The table next to us had a diverse group of men from different countries. We heard talk of financing from someone who was from Brussels. Another guy had just arrived from Dubai. Scott was convinced we were witnessing an international arms deal 😮
We headed back to our apartment by taking the 36 bus, or little van to be precise. It drove into a nearby area we had not seen before and then dropped us at Place Bourg-de-Four, steps from our apartment.
Scott went to a ring store while I went to a wine store, Cave du Palais, which is on the backside of the Palais de Justice, formerly courts and a prison. I bought a different label of Petit Arvine and a Geneva pinot noir. We’re accumulating a little cellar at the apartment.
The alcohol percentage in Swiss wines is surprisingly high—the lowest we have seen was 13% and up to 15%, which is very high for unfortified wine. Usually cooler climate wine areas produce lower alcohol wines.
On the other hand, the retail price is quite inexpensive, especially in comparison to the cost of most other things here. Yesterday, our four bottles totalled 106 Swiss francs. Today, the guy at the wine shop warned me that the pinot noir was expensive—29 Swiss francs. That seems laughable compared to French pinot noir, i.e. Burgundy, which is hard to find for less than $75 Canadian.
The Swiss franc is about the same as the Euro or about 1.33 Canadian. The bills are colourful and I like the four official languages on the bills. We recognize the French, German and Italian, which leaves Romansch as the particularly interesting fourth language.
For dinner we went to a Michelin recommended restaurant which is casual but innovative, Osteria della Bottega. The staff all spoke Italian so Scott thought I was cheating by speaking Italian. We’re supposed to be trying to speak French but the staff were happy to discourse in Italian.
The food was excellent.
Not a Swiss wine
Lamb ragout with green tagliatelle in a cheese sauce
The food was unbelievably good and left us too full for dessert. The cost was about the same as lunch 😦
We hope the food, alcohol and activity helps us have a good sleep.