This is for Thursday, September 2. I’ve started writing this around 9pm Switzerland time Friday, September 3. Hoping to finish this entry tonight and then will just be one day behind instead of two!
We were up later than usual after the opera Wednesday night, decided to do most of our packing when we got in. In bed after midnight and up just before 6am. We ate a light breakfast with some coffee, finished packing, and took an Uber to Gare de Lyon to catch our train to Lausanne, Switzerland.
I do love the train stations in Europe and was happy so much of the next legs of our trip would be centered around trains.
As you can see it was just after 7:30am, and our train left about 8am right on time.
There were plugs by the seats and free Wi-Fi so I was hoping I could get caught up on the blog and in fact made quite a bit of progress in the almost 4-hour train ride.
This was your standard train. Notice the lighting above the seats and luggage storage above that. The next one will look quite different.
I took this screen shot about 10am probably, about halfway there.
There was a lot of pretty farmland in between.
And lots of not much, too, except for this bridge!
We got to Lausanne on time just before Noon. We stored our luggage in lockers at the train station. While Ash was exchanging our Euros for Swiss Francs, he tasked me with finding a place for lunch someplace with a view of Lake Geneva. And I did. Note that at that time I didn’t know that one of Lausanne’s claims to fame is that it’s the home of the International Olympic Committee. It was about a 20 minute walk to lunch
Our first glimpse of Lake Geneva entering the top of a park from the road.
There’s an Olympic Museum here and lunch was in a restaurant on the second floor. (Which in America would be the third floor – in Europe the ground floor is 0.) These steps take you down to the lake and we went there after lunch.
Me looking back up at the Olympic museum, to find Ash taking a photo of me taking a photo of him.
There were some nice bronze sculptures of athletes throughout the park, as well as these fun ones.
This was our view for lunch. I did good, no?
The menu had, surprise!, an Olympic theme to it.
Ash had the tuna tzatziki bowl.
I got the burger because I figured the fries would be amazing. And they were. Double fried as they should be!
Ash had the “coffee gourmand” for dessert, which is coffee served with 4 pastry samples.
I had the strawberry tart, which was excellent.
We walked down the bottom of those steps to see Lake Geneva up close, and came across the official entrance into the museum. We’d come in the back way. As you can see from my dress, it was great weather – probably about 75 degrees, clear skies.
Ash wore the jacket just because he doesn’t like to get a lot of sun.
Looking directly out onto Lake Geneva, with the French Alps in the distance.
Looking up my left side.
Ash must’ve snuck this in as we started our walk back to the train station.
We boarded our next train at 3:20pm. Note the difference in the train car: no storage for baggage up top, just more windows. We were headed deep into the Swiss Alps and they’ve accommodated that with lots of viewing space.
Initially it was just vineyards….
…but adorable vineyards.
The train made several stops along the way, at places I couldn’t pronounce. At least this one was familiar. But zentrum typically means “central” or what we would call downtown. Could also be what they call the train stations in these parts – like bahnhoff in Germany. At any rate, it’s a cute name for a cute place.
I tried taking photos of some of the mountains as we passed but none of them came out, mostly because of the glare from the lighting of the train. So eventually gave up and just relaxed watching the lovely scenery. It was about a 3 hour train ride to Zermatt.
The street our place is on was just a few hundred meters from the train station. The blue sign on the right points you to the path we walked behind that white building to get to our entrance. Our balcony is one of those on the 2nd floor.
Although the sign says “Reception” the Airbnb instructions were clear not to enter there, but to go around back.
It’s a nice and comfortable room on the 2nd floor. There’s that balcony out there.
With a functional kitchen and a drip coffee maker. Cool. We went out for a few groceries at the market across from the train station, dropped them back off here, and made our way out to walk around town a bit before heading to dinner.
Zermatt is a very charming town with a population of about 6000. At an elevation of about 5500 feet, it’s well known for skiing and mountaineering. Note the lack of vehicles, again. There are no cars or buses allowed in the town. You can park on the edge of town but after that everything is walking or biking. They want to preserve the clean mountain air. There are little electric cabs used for taxis and hotel resorts and that’s about it. The people seem very nice, and very earthy – everyone walking about with trekking poles and thick legs. But it’s super laid back and casual which works for us. I wore the same yoga shorts and t-shirt I had on earlier, just added a hoody because it was getting chilly as the sun went down.
It’s biggest claim to fame is that Zermatt is at the base of the Matterhorn. This was our first sighting of it. And you thought it was just a ride at Disney! It’s height is 14,692 feet and straddles the border between Switzerland and Italy.
Many of the buildings here have these flower boxes hanging from several floors, adding to the charm.
We had dinner reservations for 7:30pm so started making our way in that direction.
Getting to dinner was a literal hike – about a mile to get there, and according to Apple, we climbed about 30 floors.
But great views along the way.
Dinner was the restaurant at a hotel and apartments called Sonnmatten. We didn’t think we’d ever get there, for a minute thought Google was fooling us. It was pretty far off the beaten path.
But what a view we had at dinner.
They brought bread and bacon with fresh horseradish just after we sat down.
We shared this delightful dish with very fresh mozzarella, grilled peaches, fennel and these tiny red peppers, with a teeny bit of mint as well. Packed with powerful flavors yet somehow refreshing.
Ash had their chicken which came with a nice salad.
The waitress said they had “the 3rd best Weiner schnitzel” in all of Switzerland – #s 1 and 2 being at German restaurants – making this the best for the Swiss. Well then I must have it. Wow. Thin, crispy, juicy. I ate every bite. Picked at the potato salad, which was warm and mustardy as German potato salad is, but didn’t want to fill up on that because that schnitzel was amazing.
Dessert was a coconut milk panna cotta with passion fruit that was also amazing. It was just a little jar of it and somehow I forgot to take a photo of it.
One final shot before we headed back down the mountain. It was pretty cold by then and I was terribly grateful bought that hoody in Paris. Although only 55 degrees, it felt much colder once the sun went down.
We stayed up a little bit, Ash watching some TV while I worked on the blog, but were in bed probably by 11pm.
I’ll get this posted about 10pm on Friday and will be very happy about that!