Lausanne – the Olympic Capital
January 1, 1970
The way to Lausanne
Switzerland is a small wonderland that has lost somewhere in the mountains, it knows a lot about chocolate and watches, it breathes alpine air and it is stuck somewhere between stability and progress. Now I have an exclusive opportunity to explore this mysterious world.
Getting to know Switzerland
I got my first impression about Switzerland from the air, approaching the Geneva airport. My plane was slowly flying over a huge lake, called the Geneva Lake, or Le Léman in French. The lake looked so magnificent and endless, illuminated by the evening sun. A lake is not just water, it is a small world that exists only due to the nourishing power of this water. It attracts cities and villages like a magnet, and they cling to the slopes of the mountains, they build the ports, and freeze in bizarre figures…
What is Lausanne
Once in Geneva, I did not have time to discover this famous UN capital, so I hope to visit it soon. My path went to Lausanne. It is a small lovely city, and if you have not heard of it yet, it’s time to think about visiting this paradise. The railway route along the Geneva Lake is itself an exciting journey. Take a place near the window and enjoy the landscape. What is Lausanne? Being the center of the canton of Vaud, this is a quiet, well-organized city, full of opportunities for development, work, and leisure. Located on a slope, it is pretty well adapted and could provide comfort to its residents.
Levels of the city
Lausanne is really unusual: just imagine that it is a multi-level locality. The city also extends in width, but its main attractions are located along the central line, which is connected by the subway line (M2). This subway deserves a special respect, and it moves obliquely like an escalator. You wouldn’t see anyone driving it, though there is no wheel and driver’s cabin. A mysterious train is driven by an accurate program and it stops at the stations at a clearly defined time. Moreover, at each stop, you will be woken up not by the boring voice of the speaker announcing the stations, but by the hilarious march, the buzzer, the twittering birds or the bloat of water.
So, let us down to the lowest floor, to the picturesque lake, and let’s start our Lausanne journey from here. This area is called Ouchy. It has access to the lake and to the port. Besides the lake itself, there are the Olympic Park and Museum. Lausanne is the capital of the International Olympic Committee and it is very proud of its responsible mission. Everywhere you will experience Olympic rings and other symbols reminding you where you are. Take a look at the Léman, it is wonderful in any weather. You can see the Alps rise behind the largest European lake. Fog and rain add mystery to this picture, and the sun makes the surface of the water look like it was made of gold. Here you can find peace and forget about your worries.
To see the center of Lausanne we go up to its middle floor to the subway stations Flon, Riponne or Bessieres. The whole center is pretty small if you know the route. Navigators and maps can confuse you and bring to the wrong place. Often the same location exists on the different levels. Lots of bridges, stairs, elevators and all sorts of transitions can lead you to that point. You can see everything from a different perspective. For example, you remember seeing the roofs of these buildings, but you are already at their foot.
Places to visit around the city center
Sloping streets or steep stairs – choose how to get around the center of Lausanne. Among the places that I would advise you not to miss here is the Library. Unlikely, you would visit it to read the books. But there you can enjoy several interesting exhibitions, one of which will introduce you to the Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution, another – invites you to walk near the real size models of animals. By the way, if you are interested in museums, it is possible to visit any state museum for free on the first Saturday of each month. So, next to the Cathedral Notre-Dame you can see the Museum of Contemporary Art called Mudaс. There you will find pretty weird expositions and performances which make you contemplate on modern problems of humanity and prospects for our future. The Cathedral is also interesting to visit, whether Protestant or Catholic, during the time of its existence, it has changed its confession many times. Now it is just a harmoniously designed piece of Gothic art and a heart of the city. In Lausanne, it is interesting just to walk and relax, drink hot chocolate or coffee and find a beautiful observation deck.
If you want to see everything at once, then you should go to the higher levels. The Sauvabelin Park would pleasantly impress you. To come there you should take the bus 18 from the station Bessieres (but do not be missed, this bus goes from the top level of Bessieres). The park is situated on the slope and you will be able to admire the city, the lake and the mountains behind it. And I am sure this is exactly the picture for which you should come to Lausanne. In addition to that, there is an observation tower in the park, it is made of wooden bars, and offers an incredible view of the surroundings and snow-capped mountains. The cave of the park is the Vivarium farm, where you can closely see the alpine cow, wild piglets, and according to the legend, crocodiles can be found in the lake.
Top Parks of Lausanne
If you like nature, then do not forget to visit the Mon-Repos Park near subway station Ours. In the park, you will be greeted with fifty singing tropical birds – parrots, canaries, and ducks. Furthermore, they all will shout, tease or sing some melodies to make your park walk more pleasant. If you are interested in all sorts of tropical plants, you can see them in a botanical garden located on the one another slope next to the Place de Milan, there you can easily reach from the Central Railway Station (M2 Gare).
How to survive in Lausanne
Incidentally, despite the unrealistic high cost of the city, there is a chance to be very economical here. Although public transport is expensive, you can do without it, because all the interesting places are enough close, and you can see them walking on foot. Also, all the parks and attractions listed by me are free; you do not have to pay for a botanical garden, a zoo, or exhibitions in the library. Almost everywhere you can find free public cots and drinking water columns. Even dining is possible for free. For this in Lausanne is situated La Soupe Popule – free restaurant, door of which is open every day from 7 to 9 PM and you can find it not far from known to us subway station Bessieres. Why do they serve for free? Just to make your day, be sure! Finding an inexpensive hotel within the city is quite difficult. But it’s possible: Swiss Youth Hostels has one of its hostels here. The main thing is to book in advance.
City for everyone
Lausanne – compact, but full of surprises city. And day after day I discover something interesting here for myself. It seems not able to tire or get bored. Everyone can find here his favorite activity. For me, it is feeding swans and seagulls near the lake. So if you are looking for both coziness and adventure, then welcome!