Last Saturday Adam and I took our bikes on the train to Lausanne and made our way through the Lavaux wine terraces to Vevey. It was a stunning, and I mean stunning, Saturday: temperatures in the low seventies and a mid-autumn sun that was set on full blast. Just perfect in every way.
We’ve been meaning to do this for a couple months now but only just got around to it. We had planned to try a couple weekends ago but a gloomy forecast kept us in Bern. Finally the ideal Saturday presented itself and we jumped at the chance to get to Lake Geneva and the gorgeous scenery.
We arrived in Lausanne a little after ten and spent the rest of the morning walking around the outdoor markets and old town. I’d never been before and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. It’s full of hills and charm and chic French-speaking locals.
I’m telling you, the sun was like a spotlight. It’s hard to tell in these photos (or maybe it’s easy based on how blown-out they are), but it felt very dreamy and ethereal all day. There’s something about the light this time of year that can be a little eerie and disorienting, especially when it’s so strong you can barely see. It always makes me feel like taking a hot nap.
After an inexplicable Chinese lunch–okay, I’ll explain: I’ve been craving steamed dumplings for, like, seven months–we headed out of town with a map from the tourist office as a guide. Those offices can be cheesy but don’t discount the wealth of information they can offer. Our booklet outlined several towns we would see along the way, as well cellars we could visit for a taste of the local offerings. Unfortunately, most of these places were open from 5-9pm which was too late for us, but we were able to stop in other little cafes for samples of local wines.
We love our bikes. They are perfect for our city lifestyle and easily get us around Bern. That said, they were not ideal for the many hills we encountered on our trip. We would have been much better off on a mountain bike or even a slick racing bike (as if!), but we made do despite some serious huffing and puffing. I caught more than a few funny looks from passers-by, but in the words of my sweet friend Alexandra, you do you. And we did.
We stashed some snacks in Adam’s backpack and picked up a few more along the way. Each town offered a beautiful and new perspective of the lake and France across the way. There are a couple of different routes one could take depending on what was most important. For instance, you could hug the lake and stay relatively flat, but you would miss a lot of the villages and the stunning view. We liked running into a town every ten minutes or so but the exertion took its toll by the end of the day. In all we visited Lutry, Villette, Epesses, Dezaley and Rivaz, and covered about 20 kilometers. We could have stopped at quite a few more places for a view or a snack or a drink but timewise it just wasn’t feasible. Our ride from Lausanne was just over six hours and my dogs were barkin’.
It was a highly anticipated adventure and it certainly delivered. We loved this day. It was a surreal reminder of how much we have to be grateful for. In some ways I can’t believe that these kinds of options are readily available and encouraged. I love being able to say that we rode our bikes around the fringes of Lake Geneva, sampled local wine and watched the sun go down on a quiet, smooth train ride at the end of the day. I feel monumentally lucky to have this life.
When in doubt, do it. Go take the adventure you’ve been thinking about or dreaming about. There are logistics to sort out and calves to stretch out later but it is always worth it. As we enter into the colder months that promise the sweet embrace of sweatpants that play soft and loose and not much more it’s ever important to keep these ideas in mind. We visited Paris in November and it’s one of my favorite trips of all time despite how freezing and drizzly it was. I’m not suggesting everyone has the ability to train to Paris but you do have the power to get out and go. Let’s all try hard to make the plans and follow through on our own adventures this fall and winter.