Travel Suisse: Lausanne/Montreux

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For our weekly adventure, we decided to stay within our own little region and took a leisurely tour around Lake Geneva (also known as Lac Leman). I don’t really know how to say this, other than: it’s stunning here. The lake, the mountain, the vistas, the beautiful bridges and the gorgeous villages that dot the coast are all designed to be breathtaking. We didn’t really have much of a plan in mind, other than getting around the lake. We began by heading up into France along the southern coast. Evian-les-Bains, of bottled water fame, was a spot that caught our eye. While we didn’t stop to poke around, there is a boardwalk-type development right at the edge of the lake, with casinos and glamourous hotels … looks like a place we’d want to visit without the toddler.

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There was a mild moment of tension at the border crossing where we reentered Switzerland from France, since Z likes to live on the edge and doesn’t travel with his papers. This was the first border crossing we’ve come to where there were actual officials, or anyone looking like they might care that one of us didn’t have any kind of travel documentation with him. Luckily, we were waved through and we all breathed a sigh of relief. I kind of feel like that kind of thing wouldn’t have happened at the US-Canadian border.

Our stop for lunch was Montreux, a Swiss town on the lake famous for an incredible castle. We took one look at the 50 tour buses lined up in front of the castle and kept driving. We’ll be back … when the tourists have gone. One of the huge benefits of living an hour and a half away!

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Montreux is also famous for Freddy Mercury, apparently. He made a second home here, I guess. It is that beautiful of a kind of place that if you’re rich and famous, you might want to spend a significant amount of time here.

We ate lunch at “The Garden of Eden,” a hotel restaurant lining the lake that isn’t far off from it’s namesake. After that we spent two hours or so taking photos of X in front of the lake, because that’s what you do with your time when you’re a parent.

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Next on our trip was Lausanne, a simply gorgeous town quite close to Geneva. It has the central ferry station on the lake – all ferries lead to Lausanne. It’s also famous for being the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, and Coco Chanel’s refuge after getting kicked out of France.

We avoided the Olympic Museum this time because our toddler was looking suspiciously grumpy, but it’s definitely a place I’d like to check out. Instead, we wandered around the lake and had ice cream. It was the high point of X’s day. Mine too, to be honest. Some of the old buildings and churches were just incredible.

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Also kind of cool was a steam paddle boat permanently docked next to the lake. I had to look into this, but when the Olympic Museum was closed for renovations, a temporary exhibit was set up on the boat. I think this space is pretty picturesque – I mean, look at it on that lake – and should definitely be used for something. A restaurant, maybe? Someone should get on that.

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And for the most random part of our day: A country and western festival in Lausanne’s square. There was twangy country, food booths serving sausages and pulled pork, beer stalls everywhere and lots of line dancing. The whole thing just seemed so unlikely. I felt like I’d tumbled through a wormhole, back into Calgary. I’m guessing this had everything to do with the large expat community that lives here? It’s a mystery, but one that made me laugh, so that’s okay.

Now that I had seen everything, it was time to leave, since suspiciously-grumpy toddler had turned into tyrannical toddler, and it was time to get him safely asleep in the car seat. Another beautiful European adventure, all in the space of a day! Still loving where I live.

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