It seems as though summer has *finally* arrived in Switzerland, so Guillaume and I opted to stick close to home over the weekend and soak it in. We had a relaxing Saturday that started with homemade brunch (thanks Gui!) and then spent several hours checking out the “soldes” (sales) advertised in the windows of Geneva’s left bank shops. Turns out, those signs are no joke: The usual sky-high Swiss prices are delightfully low right now. Welcome, new 5-franc shirt from Zara!
With more sunshine predicted for Sunday, we decided to walk down to the train station the next morning and take the short journey around the top of Lake Geneva to Lausanne. We bought tickets from a kiosk at 10:45am and were literally on a train three minutes later, thanks to the frequency of connections between the two French-speaking cities. The ride from Geneva can be anywhere from a half-hour to an hour depending on the route.
We expected Lausanne to be quiet – as with Geneva, almost all of the stores are closed on Sundays – but the parts of the city we explored were even emptier than we’ve become accustomed to on the other side of the lake. We started by hiking up through the deserted old town (“hiking” because Lausanne is built on extremely steep hills) to see the largest church in Switzerland: la Cathédrale de Notre-Dame. You can still catch glimpses of what the interior looked like before the Reformation in parts of the church (a lot more colorful) and, outside, enjoy a lovely view of the city and the lake down below. Afterward, we stopped for sandwiches at the first cafe on the descent and – oh my gosh – they were absolutely amazing. We ordered one with goat cheese, olives and tomatoes, and another with gruyère, mustard, tomatoes and pickles, both on fluffy bread, and ended up swapping halves so we could each experience both flavors of goodness.
Bellies full, we walked down to the lake to le Musée Olympique and spent a few hours exploring the museum’s exhibits and sculpture garden (the International Olympic Committee is headquartered in Lausanne). At 18 francs per person, admission is a little pricey, but we really enjoyed our visit. The exhibits are in French and English and are chock-full of information and artifacts from the Olympic games, including my personal favorite: Kerri Strug’s leotard, signed by every member of the Magnificent Seven (12-second refresher for anyone who, like Gui, has no idea what I’m taking about). We also had a lot of fun playing the interactive games – apparently Gui has superior hand-eye coordination – and winding our way down through the sculpture garden, which leads to Lausanne’s boardwalk. Enjoy the photos!