One of my big regrets during our December trip to Annecy was that we didn’t get a chance to check out the nearby Lake Geneva towns in Switzerland. We weren’t about to make the same mistake twice, especially since Marq and Dawn were concluding their European Vacation in Zurich and needed to pick up their rental car at the Geneva airport. We took advantage of the much lower prices of French lodging and stayed in Annecy for the weekend, but popped in and out of Switzerland to check out a few places.
On our first day, we decided to drive along Lake Geneva, stopping by any little lakeside village that intrigued us, with the goal of reaching Lausanne for a snack. It was a bit gray and overcast that day, but after the heat of Montpellier and the fact that we were traveling in a car without AC, we didn’t mind. We drove along the lake, past cozy châteaus and lush vineyards until we finally reached Lausanne. A few friends of ours had gone to Lausanne last summer and their pictures were so gorgeous, but we must have somehow missed a turn. We ended up in the middle of the city center, which was not like sprawling green mountains of my friends pictures, but rather a very busy and surprisingly large city full of cars, people, and serious lack of parking. We called an audible, deciding Lausanne was not for us, and headed a few kilometers south to a little town whose name had sparked our interest: Ouchy.
With a name like Ouchy, how could we not check it out? The pregnant ladies snuck into a fancy restaurant to pee (after which the staff promptly put up a barrier to the street entrance, causing quite an embarrassing scene for our departure) and we spent a bit of time walking along the lake, and checking out the scenery.
After some walks and photo ops, we decided to head back towards Annecy and stop at another town along the way for a quick snack. We chose Morges because it looked cute as we drove through it on our way to Lausanne. It was here in Morges that it started to rain, but it was nothing too severe, so we pressed on in search of our afternoon gouter. We strolled the streets, doing a bit of shopping, while we searched in vain for a gelato shop. We were looking for something like they have here in France or Italy with good flavors like Amaretto, Noisette, or Speculos. Sadly, no such gelato shop exists in Morges and I settled for plain old chocolate while the others split a very large bretzel.
The next day was our final day with Marq and Dawn. Since we needed to drop them off at the Geneva airport to pick up their rental car in the late afternoon, we checked out of our hotel in Annecy and decided to all head into old town Geneva for the day.
Switzerland is a melting pot of French, German and Italian culture, and we were definitely in the “French part” of the country. (obviously) All the signs were in French, and there were crêperies around every corner. Oh and did I mention we were there on Bastille Day? So the French culture was alive and celebrated. I really liked the historic, old town part of Geneva. There were tons of windy streets with old charm, but modern shops – mostly art galleries, antique stores and boutiques.
We ate lunch outside at the lovely and delicious Crêperie Le Rozzel, a beautiful cafe with great music, friendly staff, and array of interesting antiques in the basement.
After lunch, we ventured through the Parc des Bastions, braving the big hill for a breathtaking view, and soaking in a bit of sun.
Before we headed out to the airport, we decided to wander down to the lake to check out the Bastille Day festivities. What we found was a parade, a lot of people dressed in crazy outfits, and a crowd around the lake waiting for….I’m not sure what. But I did manage to snap a pic of the Jet d’Eau, one of the largest fountains in the world located right where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhône River. This part of town felt more like a regular European city, while the historic part of town where we lunched was much more quaint and charming.
After we’d had our fill of crowds, we walked back up to the car and bid au revoir to Marq and Dawn at the airport. We had such a wonderful week with them, discussing pregnancy and all our future plans with the next generation of Spusta-Micholic friendship. I can’t believe next time we see them, we’ll have two additional people with us. Life is crazy.