Tuesday, November 07, 2006


So, I'm starting to realise that this blogging business can take up quite a bit of time! I'm finding it difficult to update in in time; especially since having something to write about generally means having gone somewhere, and having gone somewhere means that I'm too tired to write about it when I get home! Oh, the ironing!

I had two trips in the past few days, firstly, Lausanne:

This was somewhere we'd been meaning to go to for quite some time. My indispensable Rough Guide book waxes lyrical about it, and we had heard about it from other sources too. I think the fact that it was so close actually worked against us: we knew it was inevitable that we were going to go, the problem being that it was so assumed as inevitable that we never bothered to actually make a plan. Eventually, we got around to it, however.

The journey is just under an hour; a journey I'm getting very acquainted with these days! I don't think I mentioned, but the temperature took a dramatic turn downwards on the first of the month. It's almost as if whoever is controlling the thermostat suddenly realised that it's winter. It's bizarre to think that just a week ago we were walking around in T-Shirts in balmy 25 degrees weather, as now scarves and gloves are the norm. It does feel more like Switzerland now however. This is what we were expecting before we came over.

Lausanne is dubbed the 'San Francisco of Switzerland' by many, due to the steepness of its streets. They might be steep, but they definitely add to the character of the place. We walked from the train station into the old town, through buzzing streets with people relaxing and talking; something that is sorely missed in Geneva on a week-day - everyone is all about business until the weekend:

People taking it easy in the Old Town in Lausanne. Nice to know the Swiss aren't all work.

We made our way to the Cathedral (why is this always one of the first things you do when you go to a new city?) which was pretty impressive; I would imagine that the view from the top of the tower is one of the best in all of Lausanne - we didn't realise that we could go up it unfortunately!

The tower of the Cathedral in Lausanne - I think!

The main door arch is adorned with figures - about as fancy as Swiss cathedrals seem to get. 'Less is more' is definitely the motto.

The inside is also impressive - it's definitely a nice space to be in. In any cathedral I've been in, both in Ireland and in Europe, the... gravitas has always been ruined by the presence of a gift shop or a video of the cathedral's history, or something. Please, cathedrals are impressive enough on their own - you don't need to add pointless tourist attractions to them!

The inside of the cathedral in Lausanne.

Opposite the Cathedral was a museum documenting Lausanne's local history, from the stone age, through Roman occupation, and up to present day. The museum was actually rather good - museums featuring just local history can often be a bit uninteresting, as you would often not know anything, nor really care, to be honest about it, about the place the Museum featured. The museum in Lausanne, however, had plenty of exhibits, and plenty of information about not only Lausanne, but the whole of Switzerland (which has had a surprisingly turbulent past!) as well. It was well worth a visit for the most part, even though by the end we were a bit weary and impatient to leave.

From here we walked down to a 'Palace' - another large building housing a multitude of museums and I think a library:

From here, we walked about fifteen minutes to the 'Collection de l'Art Brut'. This is an art gallery displaying pieces by 'non-traditional' artists, usually people with psychological problems (or outright mental illness), or prisoners and homeless people etc. I've never really been in an art gallery that I actually enjoyed - up until now. The stories were often fascinating, and some of the pieces were pretty amazing, all the more because you know the story behind them. The human mind is krrrrrrazy.

Next on our city tour was Ouchy; Lausanne's own lake-shore resort. It's actually a separate area completely, but it's grown into the town. It's got some fantastic views of the mountains across the lake, and a beautiful red sunset made for some excellent photo opportunities:

At first glance, Lausanne seems just like Geneva or many other Swiss towns. The impressive train station, clean streets, the ubiquitous Migros supermarket chain, are all present. There is however a difference - a real atmosphere prevades the place. People are more relaxed, there seems to be a proper sense of community and pride in the city. Definitely somewhere to go back to.

Well, another short post - time has gone by to quickly as usual. I really wanted to write about my trip to the Lauterbrunnen valley, but it'll have to wait for another day.