Today I went to Switzerland! It felt like I was with my family and friends only that I couldn't understand about 75% of the conversations!!.......the conversations went around and around....the same sort of laughter, easy interactions and loud discussions occurred just the same as they do when The Brutys or Elliotts get together and reminisc or share a meal or an adventure together.....Maryvonne and Fredreich intermitently took time out to explain many things in Englishl I found as the day progressed, that I was actually able to follow more and more of their conversations as I was picking up on some French words or body language....During dinner at Jack and Odile's holiday home, we all tried to teach each other some words from our own languages as well as discussing many different customs amd rules of etiquette.... Australia is so young in this department that many of our casual habits perplexed and confused my French friends.......How could we eat cheeses both before AND after a meal....especially after dessert, as sweet food indicates the end of a French meal....???? I am loving this French experience!
Our day began with a typical French breakfast at ourhotel....Baguettes....croissants...jams...yoghurt....coffee...OJ....and a selection of cereals for variety! We had packed our bags and welcomed Jack and Odile, Jack and Maryvonne's life long friends. Before setting off to spend the day exploring, a decision was made to do dinner at Jack and Odile's home and stay another night in Thonon....so we returned to the same hotel and booked ourselves back in!!! This was a great idea as it meant we no longer had time constraints or concerns about driving the 3 hours or longer back south.
Thonon.....While some food shopping was done, Jean Lucien and Fredreich and I visited a typical little cul de sac which consisted of a small church, a stoned washing pool and a collection of atypical homes which represented a common meeting square of years ago. Many of these can be found throughout towns like Thonon however they are now assimilated into the life of the larger towns due to the population growth throughout the centuries.
Evian....the home of the mineral water most of us know...We rode the Historic Funiculair....cable train....up to the site of one of the spa springs. Today was the first day it had recommenced its travel so we felt very lucky to be on board. The steep track through its six stations was scenic and novel but very different from yesterday's train trip high into the Alps!
Palais Lumiere = Palace of many Lights....Originally built as a healing spa but now used as a museum, was impressive.
We travelled passed the Evian spa centre where the mineral water is bottled to the banks of Lac Leman for a quick lunch of sandwiches and baguettes....It was quick because the wind chill factor of the Lake was about -15.....my feet didn't thaw out until we warmed ourselves with very sweet coffee at a little bar in St Gingholph immediately before the Swiss border. French people usually eat and drink BEFORE they arrive on Swiss soil as it is very expensive to buy most things there!
Our travels wound us along the base of the imposing snow capped Alpine mountains flanking both sides of Lac Lamen. The clouds were low so many summits were out of view.
Chateau de Chillon .....The Medieval Castle set solidly on the banks of Lac Leman, trapped us for nearly 3 hours off seeing, hearing, touching, feeling, and walking history! .....and such history it was....together with the stunning views of the Alps and Swiss Riviera....my emotions were running high!
The Esplanade drew us along as the remains of a Market beckoned us to spend our money. We strolled, absorbing the splendour and obvious wealth of Moulieaux, before we reluctantly left the Swiss soil and returned to Thonon. One more beautiful Chateau to view then we settled in to a night of social delight!