Swiss Miss

I know. I am a big liar. We've been all through that. Really, it should no longer be a surprise to you.

Let's be frank: anything clever or witty I might have had to say about my seemingly distant vacation has long since evaporated from my brain. Still, I will soldier on and try to catch up.


LAUSANNE

I went to Lausanne from Geneva by boat. It took about four hours. When I later recounted this to someone in Lausanne, he looked at me blankly for a minute and then said "What was it doing?"

Turns out that Lausanne is really not far from Geneva. In fact, on the train it's about thirty minutes. Therefore, it would appear that any boat that took four hours to make the journey must be doing figure eights or deep sea diving or some such. But no. It went at a pretty good clip, actually, it's just that it made the journey in a sort of zig-zag fashion, stopping at small (and ridiculously picturesque) towns on either side of the lake. Sometimes we were in Switzerland; sometimes we were in France. Frankly, I never noticed the difference. I bought a fancy first-class ticket and sat in a canvas deck chair on the top deck like a lady of means from a bygone era, only more poorly dressed. I tried to be consistently in awe of the view, but awe is difficult to maintain for four hours straight and I might have fallen asleep. Just a little.




The morning began in a very dark and rainy fashion, such that I seriously considered not putting on any sunscreen. I know. What can I have been thinking. Finally, the weight of my skin-cancery Irish heritage was too much too bear and I dug the sunscreen out of my suitcase and lathered it on under the lowering skies. Upon arrival in Lausanne, I discovered that the almost perfect circle of my right ankle bone was lobster red and stinging. I missed a spot, apparently. But let us take a moment to be grateful that it was such a small spot. I might well have been bright red and in agony from head to foot. I have (again) learned a valuable sunscreen lesson. May you learn from my example.

Swiss children are smarter than I. They travel with hats.



Lausanne is a very steep town. I don't have, nor can I find a photo which makes this clear, so you'll have to take my word for it. I arrived, obviously, at the lowest point of the town at lakeside. But when we then got in the subway to go to my friend's house, it immediately started going straight up hill. A peculiar sensation. In fact, at his stop, the station platform is steeply inclined. There are benches, but they are at precipitous angles. Hmm. Surely it is possible to make a flat bench even on an inclined surface, no?

There is a parking garage on the street behind my friend's building. Mind you, it is in no way related to his building. Still, his system is to enter the garage at street level and then take the elevator to the top floor where you are able to exit at what is essentially an entirely different section of the town. I initially thought this was a little ridiculous. That is, until we didn't do it one day. Um. Wow. The citizens of Lausanne must be the fittest people in the world. It was about 90 degrees out the day we did the climb, which certainly didn't help anything, but I really wonder what they do in the wintertime. It must be a dangerously slippery town indeed. Maybe they just toboggan down to the train station to go to work. On the bright side, there is a lake view from almost anywhere you might happen to be. Did I mention that Switzerland is not ugly?

Other things.

1. We went to the Montreux jazz festival, at which there was no jazz (at least none that I witnessed) but there was plenty of Bb Marley playing through the speakers (why? why?) and a great deal of smoking. Oh, the smoking. Swiss people: I thought you were all sporty and brimming with wholesome health. Ha. I say to you. Ha ha.




2. It is possible to purchase a sort of pre-made chocolate ice cream cone (produced by Nestle, as is everything for miles around) that has some sort of chocolate covered nuts on top, a small chocolate bar buried somewhere in the middle, and a cone that is coated with chocolate on the inside. This was clearly invented by a genius.

3. There are croissants available that basically have an entire chocolate bar melted into them. This is a breakfast pastry. Thank you, Lausanne.

4. I can't vouch for all restaurants, mind you, but at least one of them has a menu that involves ridiculously adorable snacks.



5. That horn from the Ricola commercial? It's a real thing.





6. Not to be bested by the smoking festival, Jules and I did go back to Montreux with actual tickets in hand for something called the Jazz Boat. I bet you can guess what that is. My favorite part was singing along with a Canadian swing band to "Just a Gigolo" while drifting past various Alpine vistas. "IIIIIIII ain't got no buuuhhhdy (nobody!) ... Oh. bonjour beautiful view."


7. We played quite a lot of Scrabble (Jules is totally cut throat. Beware of him) and I had a birthday. See?




And then...to London, to London to buy a fat pig. Well, that wasn't actually a goal of my visit, but I did go there. I will tell you about it. Sometime. (See how I didn't say tomorrow? Thus setting myself up to commit yet another falsehood? I'm getting so crafty in my old age.)