Driving back into Switzerland from Mont Blanc last Friday we initially found ourselves stuck in rush hour traffic in Geneva city centre having blindly followed our Garmin once again. However, having visited Geneva more than a decade ago on our very first Interrail trip of Europe, we made the best of it and even got to enjoy a trip down memory lane as we negotiated the lakeside roads and passed the enormous water jet where we had enjoyed a fun fair all those years ago. Our planned destination for the day was an aire just outside of Lausanne, where we intended to meet up with our good friend Phil who was in town for an academic conference. Having spent more than 3 months communicating by email and telephone the prospect of speaking to someone we knew face to face was very exciting!
Waking on Saturday morning we set off early into Lausanne, parking just outside of the Olympic museum alongside the vast Lac Leman, before hopping on our bikes to take a very pleasant ride into town to the agreed meeting point at Place de la Navigation right by the lakeside. Arriving to find a skate festival in full swing and following some brief confusion where Phil had elected to sit himself behind an enormous sculpture, we eventually managed to find each other, which was lovely. Sitting in the sunshine by the calm waters of the lake, talking about our trip, life in the UK, weather, mountains and whatever else came into our head, Esther and I revelled in actually speaking face to face with a friend after so long.
Feeling like we were cooking in the sun, we decided to take a stroll into town and set off up the steep hill to the city centre, where we ambled through the bustling streets eventually stopping at the imposing cathedral where we took a look inside, enjoying the impressive architecture and elaborate stained glass windows. After a stroll around the old town and as the afternoon drew on we decided to make our way back down to the lakeside and through the park back towards where our motorhome was parked. The park, which was full of families playing and barbecuing felt a very happy relaxed place and we felt pretty contented as well. We were also keen to show off our travelling home!
Arriving back at the motorhome by late afternoon we showed off our rolling living room and cooked up a tasty lentil curry, followed by sharing a big watermelon (Bob), which went down very well, before taking an evening stroll to watch the sun set over the lake. Stopping briefly so that Phil and I could have a quick play on the park (great minds think alike it seems), we were lucky to catch a particularly beautiful sunset.
Esther and I were also certain that this was the precise spot we had stood at to watch the sun set on our first visit to Lausanne twelve years ago! It felt good to be reliving such happy memories at the same time as making new ones. As darkness fell we headed back to the motorhome to show off some of our travelling pictures until, sadly, as the night wore on we realised it was time to say our farewells.
Driving back into town we dropped Phil off at the apartment where he was staying, leaving him with his very own Hup Holland Hamster as a memento of our day in Lausanne, before heading on for the hour or so drive to Martigny where we were staying the night (having stayed here some 2 months ago we knew it was free and somewhere we felt we could arrive late). Although it had been hard to say goodbye, and we were very tired after a long day, we both felt elated at having got to spend time with such a good friend and a share part of our trip as well. Now, having crossed the border back into Switerland, onwards to the mountains again!