The day started lazily and with so much beauty around, who would want to go anywhere else, this was quintessential “Switzerland” for us. We were a bit tired of travelling in Paris followed by the return journey back to London by bus. So just wanted to give some time to relax, soak into the scenery of Leysin village and slowly start exploring places. The day was sunny and after breakfast we had set out for our Leysin village exploration. As we walked towards the church more village houses and shops were visible at a short distance. We took a diversion to a small hill behind the village. As we reached the top, the view was mesmerizing.
The village was spread all across the hill top with the cute wooden houses and narrow winding roads. Sadly few of the resorts have taken shape of giant multi-storey buildings, not really fitting into the surroundings, but then every place that yields money, get the curse of commercialization in some way or the other. The lower side of the village still retained its charm and the bus-stops, churches and schools appeared quite cute. I could find continuously running fountain water at one of the bus stops here and later discovered them all over Switzerland, quite typical of this country.
Healthy and happy faces greeting on the way, quite neighbourhood and surrounding beauty keeps you energized and sets a right mood. We wanted to explore the upper part of Leysin and headed towards the Leysin Village station. Swiss have got their mastery in railway construction and that was evident from the train travel I had done by now. Laying out the train track at steep heights like Leysin wasn’t an easy task. In many parts of the world, places like this are approachable mainly by roads or cable cars, but Swiss seems to have determined to have best railway network.
Leysin train is more like a toy train with two compartments, it start right at the Aigle station at the base of the mountain and takes you to the top of the mountain at Leysin Feydey, running through steep slopes, thick forests and remote villages. We reached out to Leysin Feydey station in 10 minutes and were exploring the thickness of forest around. The snowy peaks were twinkling in the sun and the vicinity of alpine forest, mainly consisting of tall pine trees gave a nice feeling.
A tall and modern building looked a bit awkward in that surrounding, but then Swiss are famous for making sure they provide all the required amenities at remotest part of the country. This building was a huge Hotel with all the amenities. We had to rush to the resort to have our lunch and start off for our exploration of Lausanne.
Ouchi was mentioned as a cute fisherman village in Lausanne, as I was exploring places to visit on internet. The plan was to take a walk around the streets, look at the market and the lakeside promenade and enquire in the local tourist office. The travelling till now had probably exhausted us, a quick 15 minutes nap got extended into an hour and we were quite late .
We reached Lausanne at around 3:30. As we crossed the street and walked down the stairs, I could spot a local information centre. The lady at the counter gave some useful information on ferry rides across the lake and we decided to board one of the ferries to a town in France called Avian, just across the lake. They did have a long ferry rides to Geneva, but they operated only on weekends and we did not really had lot of time at our disposal.
As we crossed the street to descend down to Ouchi, the metro was waiting for us. The metro had a class of its own and we blinked at each other with all the admiration for the design and beauty combined together along with technology. I guess Switzerland can be a best example of a great combination of natural beauty and modern technology, both going hand in hand, adding to each other’s synergy, creating a great ecosystem for people. A few stops from Grancy, we got down at Ouchi the last station.
The Promenade was buzzing with people spending their evenings at the shore, enjoying the cool breeze and vast span of Lake Geneva and the snowy peaks on the other side of the shore. Maitri was so excited to know that just on the other side of this lake was the country we visited few days back. Sitting at the shore we were looking at it again from the other side of Lake Geneva. The skateboard riders, cyclists were enjoying their stunts, whereas the beautiful gardens, blossoming with colourful tulips and vast other varieties of flowers added more romance the romantic evening.
The couples, kids and elderly all seemed blissful and energetic, adding to the vibe. After spending few moments at the wide promenade, we moved towards the jetty close to our ferry terminal. Maitri got a cute little friend to play with and compete on feeding the sea gulls who were now feasting on their foodstuff.
There was a sudden chatter and giggles heard from distance at the jetty, a bunch of girls had decided to get soak into the serenity and peace of the atmosphere. The shouts and giggles were in response to the cold, but then it did not stop them and they really seemed to be enjoying their swim. Few lone boat riders appeared from distance and we were sitting there, witnessing so closely, soaking ourselves in the surrounding, trying to convince ourselves that it’s real, it’s there right in front of us, although for a moment we are part of it.
Soon it was time to board the ferry. Interesting part was our Swiss pass included even this ferry ride as well and we again thanked Arshi who had advised us to get this pass. As we boarded the ferry and started moving towards other shore, the beautiful houses and gardens started appearing tinier and tinier. The promenade looked much more beautiful from the distance.
Being from a country where noise never leaves you and at times it gets really unbearable, this was other extreme, where the only sound that you hear is chirping of the birds, dashing of waves against the ferry and the engine of the ferry. The span of this lake is huge and is fed from the retreating glaciers. The crescent shaped lake is also called as Lake Leman, and has been a major means of transport during earlier days.
The French shore was much colourful and there seemed to be a huge number of commuters probably travelling from Avian to Lausanne for job. I really like the idea of having this blissful journey through the picturesque lake, in the midst of all the natural beauty, before reaching the office and then meet the same birds and same flowers on the way back. There is no way anybody can feel tired or weary here. In fact that could be the most inviting part of daily life.
I was just imagining my drive through the busy, noisy, smoky roads of Mumbai, taking one hour for a 20 minutes journey and feeling really exhausted and weary before even getting to office. I just felt jealous, but then imagined the trouble they might have to go through during the coldest months of winter. Every aspect has its pros and cons and it’s the attitude that matter isn’t it.
A casino on the shore, gave an impression of much lively and happening town and the flowerbeds at the shore, greeted us with smile. Since there was one last ferry back to Lausanne from here, we did not really have time to explore the town. This was more like touching the shore, breath the French air, smell the French flowers get back to Lausanne, but still it happened to be a memorable trip.
This time while boarding our cute little train to Leysin village, it appeared as though, we have been staying here for ages and going back home like everyday routine. The feeling although temporary was so soothing, satisfying that I did not want to part from it. The vineries on the slopes of Aigle Mountain were well maintained and the pulley and ropes to gather the grapes gave a feeling of intelligent farming, quite akin to the skilful nature of Swiss people.
The lonely stations on the slopes with a very scare population of villages, thick forests and breathtaking mountainous views, this journey was addictive. A walk from the station to the resort again gave a feeling of returning to home in a remote village and the thoughts being “Can I spend rest of my life here” 🙂