After a 14 hour bus ride through the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, we finally arrived in Lausanne, Switzerland. Walter was attending the Junior Euromat at the Swiss Tech Convention Center on the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) campus. I was lucky enough to tag along on the bus ride and stay in the hotel with Walter for the week.
Day 01: Monday, July 21, 2014.
The hotel we were staying at provided transportation passes for the city, so on the first day, I went into Lausanne. I immediately went to the port of Ouchy to see about taking the ferry across Lake Geneva to a city in France.
I had researched taking the ferry across the lake but I just wanted to see how much it cost and how long it would take but I then found myself buying a ticket and getting on the ferry to Thonon-Les-Bains an hour later.
It was quite cloudy but beautiful. 50 minutes later, I was across the Lake and in the port of Thonon-Les-Bains, France. The other option would have been to go to Evian which apparently only had a casino and some free Evian water as its primary attractions. Thonon-Les-Bains did not have much either but it did have a Chateau and what looked like a nice port. Plus, I couldn’t resist the chance to go to France even if only for a half day.
Funny enough, France was not that much different from the French-speaking part of Switzerland. People spoke French and their menu items had some amazing sounding cheeses. The primary difference was the currency and the overall prices. 2-3 EUR for a magnet rather than 7-9 CHF.
I followed the curve of the port towards where I thought the Château de Ripaille was. I thankfully saw a sign and a few minutes later, I was walking onto the property of the Chateau which was apparently some rich person’s house before some monks took it over and made a bunch of wine.
Regardless of who owned it when, it was a nice, historical place which had a labyrinth of staircases and hidden rooms. I had quite a bit of fun going up and down and around each of the staircases.
After exhausting the entertainment factors of the chateau and surrounding grounds, I started making my way back to the port. Unfortunately (and fortunately), I was five minutes short of making the ferry on time and had to wait an hour for the next one. As it was raining (and all of the benches were wet) and I was tired and hungry, I sat down at a restaurant and ordered toasted bread with fromage blanc and ham but then the waitress told me they were only serving desserts (uh, okay…) so I got an apple tart.
After finishing the apple tart, I meandered around the town a bit more and then made my way to the port to take the ferry back to Lausanne. Then I took the Metro Line 2 from Ouchy to Lausanne-Flon and then got on the bus from Lausanne-Flon to UNIL-Dorigny and then got on Metro Line 1 from UNIL-Dorigny to EPFL where I went into our hotel.
End of Day 01. Day 02: Ecublens & Saint-Sulpice up next.
Aux Bonnes Choses: on Pl. de la Navigation near Port Ouchy. I got a tuna sandwich/sub there for 5 CHF. It was not like a Subway sandwich but still filling enough. The woman there was very nice and helpful when I asked questions. This is a good place for a quick lunch or snack.
Ferry from Lausanne to Thonon-Les-Bains: I travelled across the Lake with CGN for 50 CHF. This was a round-trip ticket to use for that day (or whichever day you choose) and I could go and return whenever I wanted on that day. The ferry was virtually empty and there is a lower and upper deck, both inside.
Château de Ripaille: This chateau is a short walk uphill from the port of Thonon-Les-Bains. I looked at many websites that said this chateau is half-way between Thonon-Les-Bains and Evian-Les-Bains which is not true. The cost for entry is 9 EUR and a listening guide is only 1 EUR extra. They have a nice little gift shop and you can sample and purchase wine from their vineyard.
La Commanderie: This is a nice little restaurant. The waitress was lovely and sweet. Very quick service and the prices were good. As I said above, I got an apple tart which was quite large (somewhere between a CD and a frisbee in size) and I believe it was only 4 or 5 EUR.
Carnival Burger Place: I don’t know the name of it but there was this little burger kiosk near a merry-go-round in the port. Cheeseburgers were 6.50 CHF and they had some interesting potato bites for 6 CHF. The burger was pretty good with some nice sauce and the potato bites were odd but interesting.