While the memory of the unforgettable media trip to Zurich, Bern and Lausanne paradoxically begins to fade and look like a thing that happened far in the past I will not let it vanish before I finish writing down these memoirs.
Lausanne is the third and last destination on the list and the only French-speaking city we visit in Switzerland. The moment I get off the train I feel a totally different vibe. The city feels a little less organized, slightly chaotic even for a Swiss town; people look younger and a bit more relaxed; and the town is very hilly – the streets are much steeper than in Bern and Zürich, although those towns were surrounded by mountains as well.
The hotel we stay at, Lausanne Palace & Spa, is nice, but not impressive. Following our stay at the Dolder Grand in Zürich and the Bellevue Palace in Bern, it is difficult to feel excited about any hotel, no matter how comfortable and exquisite. In these last few days I have become a spoiled rich girl, I realize.
Before going for dinner – the last with our guide, who will return to Zürich that evening – we get some time off, which I enjoy in the hotel spa and swimming pool. Again, it’s nice, but I feel hardly impressed by the indoor pool, the sauna and steam bath, and the whirlpool.
Dinner at the Jardin Coté restaurant is quite fancy though, and the hotel boasts of several other, even more exclusive, restaurants. That night we decide to explore the city’s night life, which is rather active for a Wednesday. We end up at a bar with nice music and are back at the hotel around 2 a.m.
The next morning we have to be ready at 9 for a guided tour through the city. Despite the drizzle, Lausanne is actually quite nice. Built on several hills, the city offers stunning views over the lake from many different places.
The Notre Dame Cathedral, built on one of the hilltops, is an impressive Gothic building. Its interior is equally interesting, filled with statues that have largely remained intact, a modern organ, and a beautiful rose window dating from the 13th century (only the central piece is not original).
Later that morning it is time for some much-needed flavonoids: we head to Durig, an organic and fair trade chocolatier. Here, we get to learn the secrets of how to create our own chocolate. We make our own decorations from white chocolate and choose our filling – cinnamon, chili, ginger, orange, toffee and ganache, among others. And, needless to say, we try various types of chocolate this tiny yet prestigious shop sells.
Luckily, the weather clears up that afternoon, and I enjoy the boat trip after lunch to Cully.
On the way to and in Cully, we will see the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. The Lavaux Express, a touristy train, takes us from Cully up the imposing landscape and terraced vinyards, which date back to the 11th century.
The last evening we dine at Le Nomade, a trendy restaurant in the hip Flon area. I try a traditional Swiss dish made with dough and vegetables. I totally forgot to write down the name, but here’s a picture of how it looked:
The next morning – we have to check out and take the train to the airport – I finally get to enjoy the view from my room, as the weather had been pretty grey the previous days.
This Friday is a beautiful day, and it is very unfortunate I have to spend it all in the train, airport, and plane. It is like someone is trying to wake me up from my fairytale dream and drag me back into reality, which is, I conclude once I have landed at King Abdulaziz International Airport and reunited with the love of my life, not that bad. At all. Being – or at least living – like a rich girl is nice for a while, but, as the song by Gwen Stefani already says, “All the riches baby won’t mean anything […] your lovin’ is better than gold and I know.”