Monday, February 27, 2012

Lausanne, Switzerland

Monday is travel day for me.

I got up early and strolled down to the Thun Bahnhof and used my Swiss Half-Price Card for the first time to purchase a train ticket to the western French speaking region of Switzerland to . . .

The Canton of Vaud's . . .

Capital City of Lausanne . . .

Home of the International Olympic Committee

They have called Lausanne home since 1915.

The very comfortable and scenic train ride to first Bern and then on to Lausanne took about 90 minutes. Once in Lausanne I was able to use My Swiss Half-Price Card again to buy Metro tickets. After just this one day, I have already recouped a little over 25% of the Half-Price Card's purchase price and I still have 4 1/2 months left to explore Switzerland.

Good purchase.

Lausanne is a very steep city on Lake Geneva's north shore that, fortunately for me, has a fine Metro that moved me quickly to the two parts of the city that I wanted to explore.

The Ouichy

This is Lausanne's lakeside district and it has a lazy, laid back feel to it.

Ouchy Weathervane

The big "C" on the mini-island tells boaters which way the wind is blowing, good to know if you are out on Lake Geneva for a sail.

Chess in the Sun on the Shore

As you can see by their T-shirts, it was a scorcher today, 9ºC/48ºF.

I should have worn shorts.

Not Today, Soon Though

General Henri Guisan

A native of the Vaud canton, he was only the fourth Army officer in Swiss history to attain the rank of General.

Although Switzerland is famously neutral, during World War II General Guisan is credited with mobilizing the Swiss Army and the Swiss people in case of an invasion by Nazi Germany.

Basking in the Swiss sunshine

Talk about laid back . . .

Olympic Park and Museum

My main goal in the Ouchy beach area of Lausanne was to visit the home of Baron Pierre de Coubertin's Olympic Movement.

European Museum of the Year

Great award, my Rick Steves guide book confirmed that this was a top notch, must see museum with great video clips and high-tech displays of Olympic Glory.


Well, I could at least still walk through the grounds to see some interesting artwork.

Born Fast by Korea's Hyungkoo Lee

Simply, this piece celebrates the anatomical stucture of the foot of a Marathon runner.

Lee had famed runner Rick Torres in mind when he designed this work.

Cycling is an exciting Olympic Event

Paavo Nurmi
"The Flying Finn"

The premier distance runner of the 1920's, Nurmi won nine Gold Medals and three Silver Medals competing in the Olympiads of 1920 in Antwerp, 1924 in Paris and 1928 in Amsterdam.

He won an astounding FIVE Gold Medals in the 1924 Paris Games alone!

Emil Zátopek
"The Czech Locomotive"

The next great distance runner in Olympic history, Zátopek won four Gold Medals and one Silver Medal competing in the 1948 London Games and the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

He won three of his Gold Medals in Helsinki.

A 26 Pack

Rudy Bohren
"The Toughest Thun Tiger of Them All"


The Goal of the Olympic Games

I saw this same work on the campus of the University of Lund in Sweden.

Adieu to laid back Ouchy

Back on the Metro, it was time to go uphill to the historic sights of Lausanne.

Is that roof alive?

This was the first thing I saw as I came out of the Lausanne-Flon Metro station.

Ah, Chocolats
(French spelling)

I had to have two slices of Heaven for medicinal purposes only.

Château St-Marie

It took 30 years, 1397-1427, to build and served as the palace for the bishops of Lausanne who ruled the city. When the bishops were overthrown, the new overlords, the bailiffs of Bern, used the Château as their headquarters.

Jean Davel

He led the fight for the independence of Lausanne and the canton of Vaud. In 1723 he would be beheaded for his efforts on the orders of the Bernese authorities.

This memorial stands on the front of the Château which now houses the seat of the cantonal leaders of Vaud.

Are You Looking at Me?

Gymnases Cantonaux
a.k.a., Cantonal High School

This school's original purpose was to train a new kind of Christian leader after the Reformation. This was the first French speaking Protestant school in Switzerland founded in 1590.

Ancient business signs in Europe are interesting to me, here are three that I found today in Lausanne that I enjoyed.

Fish and Anchor

Not sure what we are selling here


Even the fire hydrants are artsy

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

Construction started in in the mid-12th century and was completed in the 13th century.

It is the biggest church in Switzerland

It is over 300 feet long and while originally Catholic, it is now an Evangelical Reform Church. That means that it belongs to the tradition of early Protestant reformer John Calvin.

The current entryway

The Cathédrale's entryway
in the Middle Ages

It is closed now to protect the priceless stone carved statues seen in the next five photos.

Old Testament figure on the left

Don't know who,
but I'll bet they were holy

The Assumption of Mary

Beats me

Lots of great beards in this vestibule

Impressive Arches

Faceless Tomb in the Cathédrale

Stained Glass shining on Stone Pillars

The Cathédrale's new pipe organ

Amnerican built by Fisk, a Boston based company, it was installed in 2003 at a cost of 4,000,000 Swiss Francs.

Chairs not Pews

The Rose Window

Heraldry in Stained Glass

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame was worth the visit.

Syringe Disposal Box

Now that is something you never see in public restrooms in Camarillo, California.

Entry to a quaint covered stairway

Before going down the steep steps, I looked down to grab the hand rail and saw . . .

Chemin de St-Jacques?

Isn't that is French for The Camino de Santiago?


After a 17 month absence, I was back on the Camino but only for a few hundred meters this time.

The Camino has many different starting points but all end in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The Camino's Swiss route starts at Lake Constance in the northeast corner of Switzerland.

Time for lunch

Le Barbare means The Barbarian. This is a great little café just below the Cathédrale on the Chemin de St-Jacques.

The waitress did not speak English, I don't speak French but we were both fluent in Spanish.


Hot Chocolat and
a Ham and Cheese Sandwich

The sandwich was perfect but the Hot Chocolat was incredible!

The chocolat was of the thick, La Brea Tar Pits consistency like the ones I enjoyed in Madrid only richer and thicker.


Mademoiselle Knitting

There was a lot of lively conversations going on in French all around me but not so much from this mademoiselle.

Now, while I fully endorse the concept that tough sounding German should be the official language of American football worldwide, French is another deal altogether.

Even though I can not speak a word of French, the sound of this most romantic of Romance languages all around me was a delight.

I even think that it is a great language to argue in if the couple to my left who engaged in a brief skirmish are any example.

I miss my Bride greatly

Laura, Laurie . . . close enough to bring the point home.

Lady Justice

In judgement of . . .

Kings and Bishops as well

Swiss Socialism

Appropriately adopting the sign of the Swiss Army Knife and Fondue.

First the Catholics, then the Protestants,
now this

Monday is a GREAT day for a wedding

Not Real

The Palais du Rumine

It was formerly the university, it now houses a collection of museums.

Spring is near, Love is in bloom

Again, I miss my Bride GREATLY!!!

This day trip to Lausanne was indeed a fine adventure to another beautiful Swiss city.

Now to decide, where to next Monday?


Bobby Lee said...

Bobby said...
and now you are qualified to be a history teacher--another new career? Awesome pictures and subtitles. thanks, George

George said...


Actually I did teach in the Social Science Department during my entire 18 years at Rio Mesa H.S.

I do love history hence part of my love of Europe.

JTwice said...

My favorite non-deliberate European sign for the city you visited: d'ouchy... aka douche-y... dbags everywhere unite.

Keep 'em coming George -- us landlocked North Americans wish we were there!!! (although Christie and I are headed to Dubai/Thailand next week so sure we'll have a few adventures of our own).

Cheers man!


George said...


Have fun in Dubai & Thailand!!!!!!!!

Olivier R said...

Little mistake George: the first coat of arms of your article is the one from the Valais canton, Lausanne is in Vaud Canton!!