Lausanne & Geneva
So I stayed in an amazingly nice and clean hostel in Lausanne. It was awesome. Lausanne itself is a nice town, very hilly though! I spent the second day wandering around the old town, through narrow cobblestone alleys. I saw the Notre Dame cathedral, which was very nice but not quite as awe-inspiring as the churches in Italy (naturally). It always amuses me when people try flash photography inside churches. Honestly, do you really think that’s going to light up the entire interior? Not to mention, the flash is bad for the art… and it’s distracting and perhaps even disrespectful to the people who are there to pray. *rolls eyes and/or bangs head against wall*
Lausanne also has a separate lakefront village called Ouchy (except it’s pronounced the French way, and not like “ouch-ee”), which has a nice promenade, fountains, the Olympic museum, and a photography museum. The photog museum had an exhibit on teen life, ie photos taken of teenagers to demonstrate the essence of that period of one’s life. The photos were quite good, buuuuuut not exactly my favorite subject to look at. (I prefer pretty scenic photos, of course)
Oh! One of the best things I did there was visit the museum of l’Art Brut. It’s a museum of art done primarily by people with mental problems, none of which have ever been properly trained in their craft but churn out brilliant and unique works. Most of the pieces have repetition of symbols, shapes, or figures. It’s incredible what these people can do… some of them draw the same thing over and over with such precision. One guy made woodcarvings (including an Eiffel Tower statue) while being blind! Another guy made charcoal drawings and always had his face so close to the paper that it became black by the time he finished his work. Etc etc. Seriously, this museum rules, and I can’t recommend it enough!
Ha, when I was in the museum, a guy randomly asked if I was American. I said yes. He then proceeded to babble to me in French about some woodcarving, saying something about how it was done (I could tell by the hand motions). So I smiled and nodded and hoped he would realize I had no idea what he was saying. Except then he kept babbling to me. Yeah, I don’t know either. It’s interesting, I had several people approach me while at Lake Geneva and speak French to me. I guess they’re friendly in this region?
Oh and I tried a classic Swiss dish – the rosti. It’s like a giant hashbrown with an egg on top and some ham and cheese and perhaps a tomato. Except it didn’t feel like a disgusting greasy platter from McDonalds. Awesome!
On the last day on the lake, it was pissing rain all day so I went to Geneva and wandered around the old town. I really liked it actually… it felt very European (but of course). I’m pleased to report I’ve found my go-to coffee drink in Switzerland: the latte macchiato. It’s not overly-milky like the latte, it’s pretty big, and it tastes pretty good to me. In the US I take the regular brewed coffee, in the UK the flat white (at least in London), and in Italy/Australia the cappuccino. Is it sad that I have this all figured out? (Don’t answer that!)
But yeah, I liked Geneva. I saw the giant fountain on the lake (it was crap weather so I have no good photos), and the main church (with a very nice chapel – mostly decorated in the primary colors), and the United Nations complex. I also tried a few Swiss chocolates (holy crap, the Swiss don’t mess around with their chocolate! it’s to die for!) and bought some cheap necklaces (for my ever-growing collection). I only spent about 4 hours in Geneva but it sufficed.
I wouldn’t have minded another day in this region (perhaps for more vineyard/village explorations or a scenic train ride), buuuuut I’m content with what I saw. Lake Geneva is stunning!