Waking up this morning in Lausanne, Switzerland my group headed over to the International Olympic Committee headquarters for a tour. We saw the top secret meeting rooms, the VIP meeting rooms, the grounds, the buildings, and even some protesters outside. However, I’ll be covering the IOC and the Museum in another post, which will be much more Olympic in size.
We left Lausanne, which is definitely worth revisiting; if not for the history or the fact that it’s home to dozens of worldwide sports federation headquarters, but for the breathtaking scenery at the foot of the Alps along Lake Geneva.
Bowling through the countryside on the highway I looked out on what seemed to be something straight out of a Grant Wood painting. With the Alps behind us the rolling hills, clustered towns, and green pastures reminded me of another place I know well.
There were no cows with bells around their necks, and no girls up on the hills in pigtails, just small towns, fast speed limits, and plenty of tunnels that take you from point A to point B in no time at all.
Arriving in the Swiss capital of Bern we had lunch with Chef de Mission for Swiss Olympics, Erich Hanselmann. I’ll cover more of our discussion in another post, when I include the IOC and Olympic Museum visit. We have been lucky to be accompanied by Dr. Sibylle AmbÃ¼hl throughout our trip and after lunch at Cafe Federal, she showed us the parliament (since it is the Swiss capital) and gave us a quick walking tour of the city.
Founded in the 1100s it was rebuilt after a fire in the 1500s. Since that time, no buildings have been replaced or torn down leaving only their historic facades. What you see are the original buildings dating back to the 16th century rebuild and the entire town is a UNESCO world heritage site.
I completely fell in love with the city within minutes but we had little time to spare before hitting the road once again. It’s mix of old and new was dazzling. We walked by Einstein’s house, which was just above a Lush soap shop, and watched with fingers poised above our shutter buttons as a 1600s clock chimed in the hour (as though it was high noon in Gastown).
We have just arrived in Zurich after what seemed to be a rush hour trek between the two major cities. I’m not going to lie, waiting for traffic to move in tunnels is not something that makes me feel at ease however after watching a recent Discovery Channel special with John about the mad tunnel-building skills of this country, I felt slightly better.
I’d love to share more and describe the sights and sounds in detail but we’re off to a hockey game at Hallenstadion. I can’t wait until I have more time to document (and digest) some of the magnificent views and scenes I have experienced so far.