Eurotrip, Part III: Lausanne

April 9th

Considering it was a travel day, it was a pretty eventful one. We woke up at around 4:30 and got to the train station a full hour and 20 minutes before our 6:20 train -- taking NO chances! So we got to sit in the freezing cold station for ages, which was, ya know, fun. Or not.

But we got on the train with no problems, and I had a breakfast of a tasty croissant filled with jam and some disgusting Italian tea before napping a bit. When we got to Milan, we found out that our train to Zurich was delayed by about half an hour. It turned out that it had broken down, so we were all crammed onto a much smaller substitution train (there were compartments and cushy seats and a food trolley! But it was so small that there were people sitting in the hallway) and taken to another station, where we got on another train.

And then we were taken to another station, and got on another train. On this leg, Amanda and I sat across from a lovely Swiss couple who are not only my new relationship inspiration, but helped us figure out at which station we had to transfer to get on another train. This one was super crowded and I had to stand for awhile, but it took us to Zurich. FINALLY. By then it was well into the afternoon and I was starving, so I got a salami and butter sandwich in a pretzel instead of bread for lunch; it sounds like it shouldn't be delicious, but it was! Our sixth and final train of the day got us to Lausanne, and I actually registered for my fall classes on it. How weird is that?

We got to our hostel (after deciphering some unclear directions incorrectly, but somehow getting there anyway) at around 5. It was actually quite wonderful! Jen and Cynthia went to Geneva instead of Lausanne, so Amanda and I were in a four-person room with one other girl. Our room had a balcony with a spectacular view:

There was free wi-fi that actually worked on my phone, a kitchen, a lounge, laundry services, etc. It's actually exactly what I imaged hostels to be like, with lockers and communal bathrooms. I didn't imagine the vending machine with beer in it, but hey, it's Europe.

We hung out on the balcony for a bit and did some planning (and I sort of fixed my foot a little bit?) until about 5:30, when we left to go find dinner. Apparently the day after Easter is a big deal here, because almost everything was closed. We ended up going to a pretty cool place and splitting a delicious three-cheese pizza (that we thought was fondue when we were ordering it... oops!) and an apple tart with ice cream. Let's not talk about the fact that my Coke cost 4.50 CHF, okay? Okay.

April 10th

Although we both passed out before midnight, we still couldn't manage to get ourselves out of bed before 10. We'd bought groceries the night before, so we had our pre-purchased breakfast down in the kitchen before heading to the train station to make our reservations to Munich. They apparently weren't necessary, but paying 5 franks for the peace of mind that comes with a ticket was totally worth it.

We wanted to walk along Lake Geneva by the Olympics Museum, so we attempted to catch a bus down the mountain. After accidentally going up the mountain and out of Lausanne (and coincidentally seeing this:)

...we finally ended up near the lake, close to the International Olympic Committee headquarters. We stumbled across some Roman ruins (lol, seriously) before finding the IOC. We weren't sure if we were allowed inside or not, but it was still SO exciting! There was a ladybug hanging around while we were there, which is definitely a good omen. :) The building is right on the lake and it's absolutely beautiful. I'm not sure why Lausanne is significant enough for the headquarters, but I can certainly see why they would want to put it here!

We spent some time letting our inner children out in a playground before starting our walk around the lake. It was gorgeous out and we were surrounded by Alps, so we ended up walking for hours. At one point we stopped to eat lunch -- bread and cheese and an apple each. Such simple food should not be so delicious, but it is! :) We walked far enough around the lake to enter a little Swiss town before turning back and walking through the whole park area, including stadiums named for Pierre de Coubertin and Juan Antonio Samaranch, which was really exciting. I'm such a nerd! There was also a giant loop with info stations with Olympics tidbits on them. Obviously I took a picture of each one we passed.

By the time we got through the park, it was almost 5 and drizzling, so we went back to the hostel to sit down and plan dinner. We hung out there until about 7, and by then it was really raining, but we went out to get fondue for dinner. It was really expensive, but you can't go to Switzerland and not get fondue! Especially when traveling with Amanda the foodie! It was quite tasty, but my body had begun to reject bread and cheese by this point. :P

Afterwards, we got the next day's groceries and came back to the hostel to do laundry. However, after finding out that it's not free, that plan was scrapped. Instead, I washed my socks and underwear and in the shower with me. THAT was an interesting experience, especially since there was no stall space outside the actual shower.

...And we went to sleep with a new roommate and our underwear and socks drying all over the room. Backpacking, man.

April 11th

We managed to get out of bed earlier than we had the day before, and for good reason! Our new roommate had told me that she'd been to the temporary-Olympics-museum-boat already, so that was our plan for the day! We had a quick breakfast and attempted to go to the museum. It was quite the adventure -- we got on the wrong bus, of course, and ended up back where we had been the day before. After transferring a time or two, we finally got to the Musee Olympique stop. But from there, there were no directions. We just knew we had to get down to the lake, which actually took some adventuring. But on the way, we passed tons of fancy houses and parked cars with slips of paper that said "CIO" (the Swiss abbreviation of IOC) on the dashboards. LE EXCITEMENT!

We eventually did find it, and it was so worth the difficulty! There were a bunch of London posters on the path down there, and we may or may not have found Queen Mary in one or two. :) We went into the gift shop first. It mostly had London and Youth Olympic Games stuff, and they didn't have the Torino sweatshirt I've wanted for like three years. Alas. But I still managed to spend ages in there and spend 30 CHF. I got a four-DVD set of Athens 2004 highlights for 5 CHF! Best. Purchase. Ever.

The garden was our next stop, since we didn't know how much longer the sun would be out. We took some jumping selfie pictures in front of the fountain, and three Asian men asked to take pictures with us when we finished -- we became part of the attraction! lol. The garden was really nice; the museum must be beautiful when it's not under construction!

The boat museum, however, was actually really great. There were three levels, and a lot of it concentrated on "the best of" the last 20 years. That worked out really well for me, since Amanda could see things she actually remembered watching and getting excited about, hence me feeling less bad about dawdling over absolutely everything. :) Hah. Same goes for me, actually. I love the history of things, but seeing something and remembering when I saw it for the first time on TV was awesome!

There were torches and medals, costumes from ceremonies, sport equipment, athlete highlights, a giant timeline, an exhibit on the impact on host cities, info on the various art involved, and a video package with ceremony highlights. It made me rather misty-eyed, but does that surprise anyone? :P

By the time I finished, it was 2:30 and we were rather starving, so we went back to the hostel (on the CORRECT bus this time!) to have our delicious bread and cheese for lunch. We ended up staying there until around 5, when we went to pick up Jen from the train station. Cynthia left Geneva for Spain, so Jen paid for a night in the hostel with us.

After getting that all situated, we went into town to go see the big cathedral. It was up the mountain and had awesome views, and the church itself was beautiful. There was a really cool photo exhibition inside, plus the organist was playing, which made for an awesome atmosphere. It takes a lot for a church to feel special to me, but this one definitely was.

We took Jen to dinner at the place we went on the first night, and we split two pizzas and the same dessert. I tried peach beer, too, which was... interesting. And cheaper than my Coke! Ugh, Switzerland. But on our walk there we found the most adorable winding cobblestone streets, so I really couldn't be TOO mad!


As Amanda would quote Bloomability and say, "viva, viva Svizzera!" I absolutely loved Switzerland. I mean, okay, we spent the entire time doing Olympics things and looking at the Alps -- what could be bad, right? Everything was heinously expensive, which was unfortunate. But as an obsessive Olympics fan, this was like making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

If you ever go to Switzerland, though, just don't order Coke. 4.50 CHF still makes me want to barf.

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