Into a reversal of seasons

When Schilthorn remained closed for yet another day, I was rather foolish to hope that the continuous snowfall would when we stepped out of the Berner Oberland into Vaud and Fribourg. Our route was fairly complicated, long but very scenic (I spent lots of time convincing myself during lull periods that it really was the journey and not the destination that mattered) and with the number of train/bus combination and changes to make any programmer blush, it finally looked like this: Murren cable car – Stechelberg via Gimmelwald, Stechelberg – Lauterbrunnen – Interlaken Ost – Zweisimmen – Gstaad – Montreux – Lausanne.

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I’m fairly embarrassed to say that I hardly remember very much of Lausanne itself, having arrived when dusk (and rather heavy rain) was falling except for the steep gradients of the town centre and our incredibly lovely restored 19th century-styled accommodation. Run by seasoned travellers themselves, I thoroughly enjoyed the location and the sheer old-world beauty of the place. The only time we had around Lausanne was a hurried turn around the cobbled and hilly streets when looking for a late dinner and emergency baggage. We had been fairly unhinged by the numerous and lengthy train trips as we moved like nomads for the length of 18 days every 1-2 days, where legitimate ponderings about the nature of travel led to some illegitimate questions about life itself – metaphorical hidden spots in the mind that I’d rather shove aside for now.

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What was more indelibly stamped into my memory was the tailor-made sunny weather of the next day on the determined gastronomic excursion into the higher regions of the Fribourg canton into Gruyères town for the cheese making session and then onto the Cailler chocolate factory in Broc village. The route is less complicated than it really is, particularly when there is a major train office with a sour-looking Swiss-French, English-speaking attendant.

Lausanne – Palezieux – Gruyères/ (with the option of going to Broc via Bulle) Broc Fabrique – Bulle – Palezieux/Lausanne

Gently nudged by the gasp-worthy landscape and the gorgeous weather, it was easy to see TC’s grudging but growing affinity with the Swiss countryside that had done nothing but let him down for the past few days.

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We walked the distance between La Maison du Gruyère and Broc-Fabrique in the valley sprinkled with a strange mixture of autumn and spring colours – from the more earthy tradition of cheese-making into the theatrical dramatics of the Cailler chocolate making tradition, trudging thankfully downhill from the medieval town encircled by the magnificent mountains onto the river bank, turning back ever so often to take pictures whenever we could. That, was enough to sustain our flagging legs, at least for that hour or so walk.

Yodelling through

Finally visiting Switzerland after decades of near-libidinous desire of wanting to is turning out to be a long-realised dream – and a nightmare where the budgeting suddenly became the last straw that broke the strings of our purses. I was introduced to the incredible prices when we took a short stop in Basel to get […]

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La Petite France

It seems everyone is captivated by Paris, but I’d fancy a more romantic notion of Strasbourg as a miniature model of France, even though the actual Petite France occupies merely a corner of the old city. Sitting at the German border and several miles west of the Rhine, metropolitan Strasbourg hums with activity always, combining the […]

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Main(hatten) Transfer

The country of precision engineering, verbally-direct people, curry wurst and David Hasselhoff lovin’ came into view from the small oval of a plane window after an interminably long flight that lasted a good 18+ hours. Frankfurt am Main greeted the Travel Companion (TC) and I like a terribly familiar bedfellow (read: a sprawling city) – but the sight of […]

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Exhausting defiance

My travel planning process typically runs across 2 veins: juggling foreign, captivating landscapes from which the instinctive need to explore arises (the heady rush is really quite intoxicating) and the harsh reality of cost-cutting after realising that the reckless planning is potentially busting the humble budget. It’s a common sensibility that probably fits me squarely […]

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Down the Red-Brick Road

Brugge without the sandy footpaths, Brugge with the cold and volatile weather – that was Lübeck at first glance. Günter Grass, many turquoise church steeples, the Hanseatic League, extraordinary architecture, Thomas Mann, and…marzipan – if I could only sum up Lübeck with several key words. A Schleswig-Holstein Ticket took the 3 of us to Lübeck during […]

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