Day thirty-eight: Eclépens to Lausanne

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Lausanne youth hostel drinking a beer while I wait until I can get my key at 1500. This place has a bar and restaurant – not like the hostels of my youth! But at 50 Swiss Francs a night, what youth can afford to stay here. Whatever happened to Europe on $20 per day?
A pleasant day’s amble through the Swiss countryside – if you can call it countryside. The villages and residences are on the land less desirable for farming, and just when you are wondering what everyone from these villages does for a day job, another major industrial complex pops up out of nowhere. One village had its own funicular railway to connect the village in the hill with the industry and the train station in the valley. Really smart!
My passage into Lausanne incorporated a major short cut – perhaps the last for a while. It cut at least an hour off my day, so the long slog down a moderately busy road into the city won out over two hours on the official lakeside scenic route. Short cuts in Switzerland are generally only viable if you are packing crampons.
Lausanne’s old town is on a hill, about 30 minutes walk from the youth hostel. I haven’t yet decided whether my feet have the enthusiasm for another 5 or 6 km of walking.
I wrote that earlier, and have now returned from an expedition to the city. It is some hill, not to mention the deep ravine that divides the older part of town. Lots of really ornate old buildings, and ornate residents shopping at ornate stores. But lots of busy cafes and vibrant squares full of people enjoying their Tuesday evenings. And like other major cities, the streets are clogged with traffic.
After my experience finding dinner last night, I broke one of my cardinal rules never to eat in the same establishment you are staying in, and ate dinner in YH restaurant. It was a good decision. Cheap, by Swiss standards, and dessert was flan/creme caramel, so what’s not to like about that!
I have now run out of books, which is great for lightening the pack, but not do great for downtime. I read my way through All Quiet on the Western Front, The Conquest of Gaul, and Les Miserables while in France – finishing Les Mis in Besançon, where Victor Hugo was born. Last year in Spain I tackled Don Quite, so now I should probably go d something appropriately Swiss. Maybe one of the free little libraries has a copy of Heidi for me. Is it my imagination, or does every book exchange or little library have at least one John Grisham book?
Pics de hour: the Hotel de Posted in Lausanne. I wonder how the Swiss felt about the cost of stamps after that palace was built? And a pic of an old mill that was beside the trail this morning.

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