I mentioned in an earlier post that old Lausanne is partway up the hill/mountain – that when the Roman Empire collapsed, the remaining people moved up the hill for safety. So the old town, which is very picturesque, is also very hilly. Be prepared for a walk.
This is the view outside the Cathedral, looking back down towards Lake Geneva.
The Cathedral itself is very plain on the inside. When the Calvinists took over in Lausanne, they destroyed the decoration inside the Cathedral. Which isn’t to say it isn’t still lovely. Just lovely in a different way.
After we visited the Cathedral, we walked down a covered stairway (that is part of an official pilgrimage path) that had this little park off to the side about halfway down the hill. It was a little gem that we just stumbled across.
This was a square that we came across, very colorful. It’s near City Hall, and this was the neighborhood fountain, where you would come to collect the water you would need for the day. It was hot the day we were there and I filled up my water bottle at this fountain.
Durig Chocolatier has delicious, yummy chocolate. Would recommend.
All in all, this was a good, albeit short day. We rounded it out with a good long lunch, and it was a relaxing vacation tour.
I enjoyed The International Olympic Museum more than I expected to. Lausanne is where the IOC is headquartered; ergo, the museum makes sense. (Lausanne in general is a very sporty town, we found.)
This is one of two olympic flames that never goes out. The other is in Greece.
This is the entrance to the museum; it’s also the current high jump world record. That is, someone has jumped over this bar (that most people can easily walk under) without anything like a pole or trampoline to help them along. It’s 8′ 0.25″, and the record hasn’t changed since 1993, according to Wikipedia.
There is a lot to the museum, like the history of the Olympics and what its goals are, the torches that have been used – the design retrospective through the years is fascinating, how different body types are good at different sports, but my favorite is the costumes. These are the costumes that Torvill & Dean wore for their famous Bolero routine.
This is Jim Craig’s sweater from the Miracle on Ice in 1980. (This is when a team of college kids from the US beat the all-professional team of Soviet hockey players in the 1980 Olympics. You can assign all the Cold War significance to this event that you want.)
A basketball that every member of the 1992 Dream Team signed. That’s the year that the US finally sent its professional basketball players to the olympics – the team that included Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson – and won their games by an average of 44 points. (Dream Team was a fun book to read about their journey, but the narrative arc – the golden team that stayed golden – isn’t the most interesting.)
Jessie Owens‘ shoes from the 1936 Olympics, when he definitively proved that Hitler was a racist asshole. (I mean, didn’t everyone already know that? But still, keep shouting down racist assholes.)
The gardens outside the museum were full of statues (as well as Olympic sports to try, including a 100m dash course), mainly of sports. But there was this tribute to abs, which I found amusing. Yes, it’s all about power and performance. But also: abs.
This was the most out-of-place sculpture – it’s a gentleman holding an umbrella that’s made of water. It is whimsical, if a bit out of place in a place that is a tribute to sports.
The Olympic Museum is a bit on the expensive side, as is most of Lausanne, but it was totally worth it. I really enjoyed the visit. But then: the Olympics has so many good stories, and I am a sucker for a good story. Recommended.
We went to Europe! Our family (me, my husband, our daughter) traveled in Europe for two weeks. First, we went to Lausanne, where it was hot and we had a lovely 4th floor apartment near Lake Geneva. The view was great, and being near the water kept things a little cooler than they might otherwise have been.
The first morning there, while my husband and I were up and ready to go and our teenaged daughter, um, wasn’t, we went for a walk to see a bit of the city. We actually mostly stuck to the shoreline. It was lovely.
I personally enjoyed this fountain of three horses fighting over who has the best access to the water.
This is apparently the hotel you stay at in Lausanne if you are royalty, rich, and/or famous. We did not stay there.
There were lots of wild swans. I chose not to get to close. Swans are dangerous.
There is a lot happening on the shoreline at Lausanne. When the Romans founded the town, this is where they started things. But after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 400s CE, the people remaining moved up into the mountains. (Lausanne is incredibly hilly. Being in the Alps will do that.) So the Old Town isn’t here, and there was plenty of room for development when the time came around.
I’ll be spacing out posts from our trip, with a different thing to do on different days. I’ll post restaurant recommendations as I come across them. Enjoy!
After we went to Victoria, BC, we hopped the Washington State Ferry to travel to the San Juan Islands, specifically, Friday Harbor. We didn’t have a car, so the biggest town made the most sense. We spent another three relaxing days, one of which was even sunny!
Look, coffee and books are two of the things I really associate with Seattle. It has the most coffeeshops per capita in the US, and there are lots of bookstores and local authors. But we really didn’t do a lot of coffee and books.
I did read a lot on the trip though. In Friday Harbor, we went bike riding around the island on the beautiful day and to the Whale Museum on the day that was gross and rainy.
I got A LOT of reading done on the trip and we ate VERY well. Overall, it was lovely and relaxing.
I expected Victoria, BC, to be more like Seattle, honestly. Vancouver and Seattle are so similar in many ways. But Victoria was different. It’s smaller, and I think because it’s the capital of BC, it’s definitely got a touch of old world glamour, as evidenced by the parliament building above.
It was a good walking city – a small city, but a city nonetheless. We ate very well.
Three days was about the right amount of time to spend. We saw the Royal BC museum, hung out in some of the city’s parks, went shopping, and watched A LOT of hockey.
Overall, it was great for a long weekend. And hey, I only bought one new book – from Munro’s Books, a lovely local bookstore. No pictures of the store, though. I was too busy browsing.
Deserts are about getting rid of what you don’t need – you travel through them and leave behind whatever isn’t absolutely necessary. They whittle you down to your bare essentials, and leave you a better, if more battered, person afterwards.
Let me tell you that a long weekend in Death Valley is neither so romantic nor so transformative. It was lovely and I learned a lot about the different types of deserts, but I also learned that all those rocks and so very little vegetation gets me a bit down.
The desert, the National Park Service would like you to know, isn’t desolate. There are lots of forms of life there, and they are just as deserving of protecting as more verdant areas, like jungles or forests. This is true. But it just seems so damn barren. It was a beautiful place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
Am I a better person for having gone to the desert? I believe that travel always widens your perspective on the world, both in terms of what’s possible to do and what’s out there. But it’s not like we were roughing it. The National Park has a lodge, and we stayed there. It was lovely.
There’s nothing like seeing the barrenness to understand why those literary metaphors of sloughing away what’s not important exist in the first place. You can’t have anything that isn’t necessary if you’re going to survive there. The land can’t support it.
I would absolutely recommend a visit, though. The land is striking, you can channel your inner geologist, and maybe even pretend that you’re Gertrude Bell or Lawrence of Arabia.
Stockholm was the last place we visited on our Scandinavian journey. It was a good almost-three-week trip. It spanned the summer solstice, so there was plenty of sunlight. Just look at the color of the sky in these photos – it’s amazing.
The cruise stopped at other ports too – we explored a number of towns. I’ve narrowed the photos down to a couple of the larger cities: Stavanger and Molde. Molde was the furthest north we went, and we were there only a day or two after the summer solstice. The sun rose at 3:30am and set at 11:30pm. How did we sleep? Blackout curtains.
We also visited Alesund, which has lovely art nouveau buildings. Wilhem II used to vacation there with his family; there was a fire in the early 1900s that burned down about half the town. So Wilhelm foot the bill for rebuilding it, hiring the best European architects. The result is a fabulous art nouveau city. But I was sick during that port visit, so I didn’t get to see it. My husband and daughter tell me it was very pretty.