The church in st Croix
A view of Lausanne from the CathedralI was not in the mood for a big expensive city, and I didn't have the fitness to travel back and forth from the suburbs so that I could stay somewhere cheap and so I decided that I would follow my guide books advise and travel by boat along Lake Geneva to Villeneuve immediately rather than stay in Lausanne. Travelling on the boat meant that I got to see the landscape from ground / lake level, and I must say that I was rather glad I made that decision. This boat trip follows the coast of the lake, and from the boat one can see the terraced vineyards of Lavaux. This land was originally owned by the church but gradually the state took it over and sold it to enterprising farmers who terraced it and turned it into vineyards. It is intensive farming at a high level. Vineyards are nice to walk through for a while, but these vignerons don't waste land by planting trees for shelter - it is all vinyards and it would have been VERY hot walking through it! The whole area is now a UNESCO world heritage site. It is also a very expensive tourist region! This is where Charlie Chaplin, among other famous people, lived out his days and where the Nestle factory was established.
Just some of the UNESCO protected terraced vineyards!
One of the signs decorating the town of St Maurice - ready for the festival.
I drew the short straw here too, as there was a festival on that weekend (I was there on the Thursday night) and so the Abbey where I wanted to stay was booked out, which meant that I had to go to the Fransican hostel. It was here that the Swiss attention to detail was in evidence. The room was very simple (at 50 francs), but there was obvious attention to little things. This is a place used as a conference centre and so people needed security of possessions. I couldn't work out how to open the cupboard for a while, and when the handle came off in my hand I thought I would try putting it back and turning it - lo and behold it opened, but if I shut it and removed the handle, it was locked! Nifty detail I think!
The tourist offic eassisted me in getting a room in Martigny - but she failed to tell me that it was in the next part of the town (Martigny Bourg), and because this was the first day I had walked the full day for a while, I was a bit shattered and so failed to see some of the things in the town. I did however get to see the Roman Amphitheatre, and the outside of the Dog Museum! I didn't see the St Bernard dogs, but I could hear them barking! This is the town where they live in the winter time, only going up to the pass in the summer. They are no longer used as search dogs because, according to my excellent guide book - they are too heavy to fly in the helicopter and too hard to train - German Shephards are lighter and easier to train.
This was also the town where I was propositioned! It still brings a smile to my face. I stayed in a B & B here, and thought I had it to myself as no-one had put in an appearance when I went to bed at 9.30. I left my door open and had the tele on when a bloke came in. I sat up, had a bit of a chat, and told him he could turn off the tele but he wanted to watch it so shut my door and off he went. A short while later there was a knock on my door and I responded with "oiu" - though not in the imperious way that french woman manage to say it - and he opened the door and asked if I wanted him to stay! The exchange was brief - "No!" " No?" "No!" Even now the comedy of the situation brings a smile to my face, though needless to say, I sneaked out of bed and quietly locked the door after that!