The weekend of May 12th, 2018 we took a side trip from Dijon to the French-speaking city of Lausanne, Switzerland. The two-hour train ride took us by villages, farms, meadows, and bright yellow canola fields in bloom. Since the scenery was so beautiful, if the trip had included only this train ride, I believe I would have been satisfied. Here are a few pictures of the journey taken from the train window:
However, this side trip was much more than just a train ride. In Lausanne, I gained an appreciation for Switzerland, with its hearty potato-based delicacies, wine, dramatic topography, and architecture. More importantly, I now have a better understanding of its neutrality and commitment to fostering peace, particularly through the lens of its central role in the Olympic movement (Lausanne is home to the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee).
Strolling Around Town
During our two days in Lausanne (pronounced, roughly, “LOW-ZAN“), we walked its steep streets and enjoyed the waterfront area of Ouchy (pronounced, roughly, “OO-SHE”).
The hills are extremely steep. The city is built onto a hillside rising from the shores of Lac Léman (a.k.a., “Lake Geneva”). We even saw signs explaining how to park your vehicle in such a way that avoids catastrophe. Thankfully, we had no car—just our feet to move us uuuuup . . . and doooowwwn. . . .
This is by no means a complaint. This topography means fantastic exercise and even better views.
Tour of Lac Léman / Lake Geneva
Walking down to the waterfront from our hotel, the first time we saw a view of the lake, we were awed. We made it a priority to get on the water. We booked a three-hour cruise of the northeastern coast of Lac Léman / Lake Geneva that started in Lausanne, made a u-turn at Chillon Castle in Vaytoux, and returned back to Lausanne.
Here are more views of villages and towns from the boat, as well as views of the terraced vineyards of Lavaux.
And here are views of Chillon Castle, our turnaround point. The oldest parts of the castle date back to Roman times.
Last, but not least, are views of the Swiss and French Alps from the boat.
International Olympic Committee Headquarters
“Olympism is a destroyer of dividing walls. It calls for air and light for all.” —Pierre de Coubertin
Pierre de Coubertin of France is the person responsible for reigniting the Olympic movement in the 1800s. Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters used to be in France, Coubertin moved them to Lausanne in 1915.
We were fortunate to see the outside of IOC headquarters and visit the expansive Olympic Museum.
Lausanne was one of our favorite stops on this trip so far. It truly is a hidden gem of Europe.