My good friend Layla, who I’ve known since JMU and living in the DC area after college, is in between jobs and managed to get away for a Eurotrip with her boyfriend, John. We were so excited that they got to make Lausanne their first stop and visit us this past weekend before they continued their trip to Paris and London.
Layla and John flew in on Saturday around noon from DC. We kept the day simple so that they could acclimate to the time zone. We showed them around Lausanne’s cathedral and shopping districts, watched the sun set over the lake, & stopped to get our first of mannnny glasses of vin chaud (hot mulled wine) at the Lausanne Christmas market. I expect they both left with an appreciation for the massive hill that Lausanne sits on as we walked up and down the whole time. Saturday night we went to dinner at one of our favorite spots, Brasserie de Montbenon.
Sunday we had a lazy morning with coffee, breakfast and getting ourselves together. Around noon, we went down to see the lake front in Ouchy. We took in the view for about … 5 minutes before declaring ourselves properly frozen from the wind coming off the lake and quickly high tailed it to the train station. We got on the train headed towards our destination, Montreux, with one hour stopover in the town of St. Saphorin. It’s this adorable little town in the wine region of Lavaux, right above Lac Léman and nestled in the hills of vineyards (you may remember it from our walk in Lavaux in July). We walked through the quiet, cobblestone streets and up into the vineyards to take in the view and snap some pictures.
We finally made it to Montreux around 4, and walked into the Montreux Nöel Christmas Market. I have only been to Christmas markets in Brussels and Antwerp in Belgium back when I studied abroad in ’07, and while those were fun, they had nothing on this market! It was so awesome.And we only saw a portion of the market! There were two other areas, one at a mountain side village, Caux, and another at the top of Rocher de Naye, complete with Santa and reindeer.
The entire lake front was a string of little lit up huts and there were so many sweets, snacks and drinks to have. We spent the late afternoon walking through the market, perusing the stalls with items for sale and stopping at a couple of spots indoors with fires to warm up.We kind of went a little crazy with the food and drink. We had our fill of vin chaud, hot spiced cider, champagne and beers specially brewed for the market. Snacks included treats such as a French baguette hollowed out and filled with freshly made Gruyère fondue, Belgian Liège-style waffles, French style nougat, cinnamon sugar coated Kürtőskalács (never seen this before but so good) and we ended the night at a pop-up restaurant in the market, Chalet la Poya, for fondue and Swiss wine.
Monday Andrew and I managed to take the day off of work to spend time with Layla and John. We had a full day planned! We rented a car for the day and first headed over to La Maison du Gruyère, to see the Gruyère cheese production. We took a little time to walk around the town of Gruyère then piled back in the car to head for Glacier 3000. Andrew and I went before back in September when our friend Lauren came to visit, but since then a huge snow storm came through and dumped nearly 6 feet of snow on the Alps. The scene was absolutely breathtaking. The mountains were snow capped, and the ski lifts were even open with skiers enjoying the early snow fall. It was incredibly cold, but we ventured out to walk on the Glacier.