Picture perfect – snow, the Swiss Alps and Lake Geneva

It was a perfect sunny day when we left La Malachère, France heading to Lausanne in Switzerland but there was frost in the shade and piles of snow on the roadside despite the relatively warm day.

Snow at the side of the road despite the sunny and warm weather

We had only been driving for an hour and already we were starting to see a lot more snow.

As we drove the snow covered a bigger area
In places it was white as far as the eye could see

We stopped to stock up on food and other supplies (I.e. French wine) in a small and pretty town near the Swiss border called Pontarlier. This town was famous for the production of absinthe until its ban in 1915. One of its famous residents was the distiller Henry Pernod.

The pretty town of Pontarlier
A pile of snow cleared from the supermarket car park

As we climbed higher we started to see ski resorts and snow capped mountains in the distance.

Climbing higher
Passing a ski run
We had a gorgeous view of the Swiss Alps

As we got nearer to the border with Switzerland we drove into a traffic jam with quite a long tailback. It took us over half an hour moving at snail’s pace to reach the border.

Sitting in a traffic queue near the Swiss border

Then we found out the reason for such a long jam – it was because tickets for the Swiss toll roads were being sold manually. Every car was being stopped and the driver asked if they wanted a ticket! What a waste of time. As we were taking the country road route we didn’t need a ticket – surely those not using toll roads could have been directed to drive straight through?!

Finally got to the border post

Finally we were off again driving along near empty roads with a magnificent view of the Swiss Alps.

Stunning view of the Swiss Alos

We stopped for a break at the roadside near a village called Pompale and after something to eat went for a short stroll along a narrow lane where we found a curious cemetery where all the headstones were exactly the same. The cemetery turned out to belong to a nearby covent which was tucked away in a valley nearby.

The convent hidden from view in the valley

From there we drove on to Lausanne and found a very inexpensive spot to stay for the night right next to the immensely beautiful Lake Geneva.

As soon as we could manage we went for a magnificent walk along the busy path by the lake (it was a weekend). It was just stunning – like a perfect picture on an old fashioned chocolate box or biscuit tin lid.

Picture perfect

Pretty as a picture
A welcome glass of wine by the lake
Sunset – the mountains glowed red

The next morning we took the bikes and cycled round the lake as far as we could, leaving our bikes under a tree to walk when cycling was no longer allowed.

Of course there was a marina or two to discover
It was chilly but the air was so clear
The town was quite pretty too
Mist over the lake

This was a truly beautiful place and it was hard to drag ourselves away but we had to keep moving as we had a date in a few days time to meet up with my sister and her husband in Menton, France for the famous lemon festival.

Hillside vineyards

As we left Lausanne we were intrigued to see the hillsides covered with small vineyards. We had never heard of Swiss wine but we learnt later that vines have been grown in the country since Roman times and in 2016 the country produced 108 million litres of wine – the great majority for domestic consumption.

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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