It’s been a while since I’ve shared a Monday Dream, but since I’m starting to plan our summer trip to Switzerland and France, today I find myself dreaming of the waters of Lac Léman (also called Lake Geneva) with views of the Haut-Savoie in the distance and vineyard-covered slopes on the Swiss side. We’ll be visiting in June when the days are longest and the lakeside cities of Lausanne and Vevey and Montreux should be full of flowers.
So what kinds of wonders await us there?
A boat ride on Lake Geneva. What better way is there to see the lake than to get out on it? The views of the Alps are spectacular, as is the water itself, with its reflections of mountains and sky and it’s ever changing hues. Among the many cruising options are paddle steamers like the kind that used to cross the lake a century ago.
A visit to the Old City in Lausanne. Largely free of cars and full of cobblestones, corners, and cafés, this section of the city is home not only to a gorgeous Gothic cathedral but, on summer Saturdays, to a large farmers market.
A ride on the cogwheel railway up to Rochers-de-Nay. Climbing up the hill away from the lake, this small train arrives at a rock formation above Montreux that’s home to great views of the Alps across the lake as well as an alpine garden and a small zoo called Marmot Paradise. What is that you may ask? Marmots are furry little rodents found in mountains all around the world. How much do you want to bet that Teddy will want to keep one as a pet?
A stroll along the Promenade Fleuri between Montreux and Vevey. If you are a fan of Little Women than you know that Vevey is where Laurie and Amy fell in love (they got engaged, romantically enough, in a rowboat on the lake). I like to think of them strolling along this lakeside path, and would like to follow in their imaginary footsteps. It’s reputed to be lined with flowers in the early summer and also to be a fun place for people watching.
Going for a hike. While we will basically be visiting the foothills of the Alps, not the mountains themselves, the hills around the lake offer some gorgeous hiking opportunities. Above Montreux is a kid-friendly route called the Chemin de Narcisses that I’d love to try.
Exploring a castle on the shore of the lake. Guarding the lake since the 12th century, the Chateau de Chillon was romantic and dramatic enough to inspire no less than Lord Byron to poetry. If our visit to the Tower of London is any indication, I’m sure the boys will love the exhibit of arms.
Learning about cooking and eating at the Food Museum. Given that the 2012 Olympics will be taking place in London, one of my family’s favorite cities, later in the summer, I was excited to learn that Lausanne is home to both the International Olympic Committee and the world’s largest museum dedicated to the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, however, the museum will be closed for renovation until the end of 2013. But I’ll take consolation in the fact that Vevey is home to a museum that is dedicated to everything to do with food and cooking. Since I’d certainly be a world-class competitor if eating chocolate were an Olympic sport, I figure I can console myself very nicely here.
Best of all is that we will hopefully do some or all of this in the company of my friend Amie O’Shaughnessy and her family who currently live in Switzerland. I’m very excited that our trip to Europe will include a chance to connect with friends – and I’m grateful to Amie for encouraging us to visit this beautiful place, heretofore overlooked in my travel plans.
I know that we won’t get to everything on this list, but it sure is fun to dream that we will. And I love dreams that also double as trip plans – you can bet I’ll be returning to this list and refining it as we get closer to our actual journey.
What are your Monday Dreams? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Photo of Lake Geneva courtesy of Tickle JR via Flickr.
Photo of paddle steamer courtesy of eGuide Travel via Flickr.
Photo of flowers courtesy of cimddwc via Flickr.
Photo of Chateau de Chillon courtesy of Rich Jaccques via Flickr.