Sunday, 4 March 2007

SWITZERLAND - Geneva & the lake

Flying from Bournemouth airport makes for a pleasant trip as the drive to the airport is so short for us. Flying with Easyjet to Geneva for peanuts is great to.
We arrive mid-morning on a rather overcast day and after the short train trip, quickly find our hotel near to the rail station, Hotel International Terminus. Check in, dump the ruck sack and we're off. A short stroll down the road to the lake sees the tremendous fountain - Jet D'Eau rising 450 feet at 125 mph, visible from all over the town. The lake is unbelievably clear - the bottom can be seen 9 feet below us. Using the floating bridge to avoid the traffic, we stroll up in to the town centre, climbing the hill into the old quarter. We stop for a beer before ascending the cathedral bell tower. Even at the top of the tower, on top of the hill, the fountain still reaches above us. Surrounded by mountains, the view would be even more amazing.
Descend into town and walk the side of the lake for a mile or so. Catch one of the yellow water taxis across the lake and find a bar to relax in. At night fall, return to the lake side to see the neon signs atop the high rise buildings. We enjoyed an Italian meal before turning in.

After breakfast, we catch the train (superbly clean and on-time) to Lausanne, the home of the Olympics. Glimpses of the lake as we travel. Once off the train, stop for coffee before walking down the the port. Spy the mountains on all sides. Visit the Olympic museum - many exhibits, but most impressive is all the olympic torches, summer and winter olympics through the last century. After, catch one of the CGN cruise boats and head off across the lake to France and Evian, famous for bottled water, Mont Blanc in the clouds behind. Only a 30 minute crossing and stroll the town and lakeside. Forgot to bring euros (Swiss francs not accepted) so no beer! After two hours, return to Lausanne. Bus to the top of the hill and town centre. Stroll the pedestrian precinct and enjoy a beer in one of the bars. Catch the train back to Geneva and out for dinner at a chinese restaurant next door.

Early start: train back to airport and fly home. First time we are above the fountain. Remarkable that in the space of 24 hours, we travelled by foot, bus, train, boat, plane and car.
It also showed us that Switzerland was great for walking and train travel...

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