Road trip - day 13 - Thursday
May Day & Lausanne Day!!
Set the alarm for 7.30am; the earliest we have been up in a while. Out of the chalet window all is grey, we are actually in the cloud.
We aimed to be out by 9.30am for the train at Frasne leaving at 10.46am. We actually left 10 mins early & got to the station shortly after 10am.
We had realised the day before that Mayday is an important bank holiday. Everything was shut along the route to Frasne; apart from individuals selling bunches of Lily of the Valley at traffic lights, bus stops, from under umbrellas, outside closed shops. Must find out the significance of this tradition.
We waited on the station platform in a shelter, a bit chilly & dark with rain clouds. The train came on time & we boarded first class but couldn't find the carriage or seat numbers on our tickets ..... not to worry, there were only a handful of fellow passengers. The train ride was uneventful & the view not as spectacular as expected, mostly meadows, forests & the odd high hill or road. The Swiss customs came around asking anything to declare. Towards Lausanne station the graffiti got more plentiful, colourful & inventive.
On arrival the station was enormous!! We couldn't find the way out to begin with. Eventually found the toilets at 2 francs a go & needed change to use them - G bought a cup of tea to get change!
We exited & found the metro station across the road - buying tickets wasn't as complicated as Germany!! We went down to the metro station & waited 4 mins for the Ouchy tram. The gradient of the line is worth mention!!! Very efficient system, no problem arriving at destination Ouchy 4 stops down line 2.
We went straight to the tourism and asked about boat trips on the lake (Geneva). There was a boat leaving in 15mins - an hour across the lake & back to Evian in France. We bought tickets at 32sf each return = £45 ish total price!!
That said it was worth it, although the mountains were in cloud they peeked through tantalising from time to time towering up from the lake & capped with snow. At Evian we did just get off the boat to get straight back on again we sat outside for the return trip .... Looked like Evian was worth a visit though.
On leaving the boat back in Ouchy we headed towards an area with seating, trees & free wifi provided by the city of Lausanne. Had a quick surf to try & contact cottages 4 u but ended up in a creperie. Had the most delicious lunch - galettes (salmon for me, cheese & potato for G); ice cream & real hot chocolate for me & a new alcohol free for G!! Total cost approx £50 - mad prices but very very nice.
Back in wifi range the call came from cottages 4u with an offer of a £50 voucher - very nice of them!
We headed along the promenade, past the Beau Rivage hotel & up to the Olympic Museum. We decided not to go into the museum; by then the cloud was lifting, the view getting a little more spectacular & time getting shorter!! We decided to carry on up the promenade & enjoy the sunshine, turning back to have a drink in a bar before taking the metro back up into the old town. We stayed just half an hour or so; long enough to see the steep windy cobbled streets & the tops of the church steeples to know we should have had longer to explore.
Too soon we got back on the metro for the 2 stops back to the Gare, our train was in on platform 7 so we boarded. On leaving Lausanne we could jydt see the mountains between buildings, very impressive. After setting off we realised we hadn't validated our tickets - oops. As it happened the ticket collector didn't stop & check them but he did pass by quite a bit! As did Swiss & French border control both wanting to see passports. Frasne was the 2nd stop, our TGV was destined for Paris.
We collected the car & headed for the Boulangerie that always seems to be open, it didn't let us down! Then on to La Poste hotel for a quick drink & a check of the internet. Back to the Gite for a late snack of bread & cheese.
Post script .... the tradition of giving Lily of the Valley on May Day to friends & family started with a king in 1561 being given the flowers & he decided to give them to his court on 1st May & the tradition continues today as a sign of affection. Popular around Paris but obviously still a very active tradition in the Pontarlier region.