Day trip to France

Trip Start Sep 27, 2012
Trip End Oct 12, 2012

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Flag of Switzerland  , Vaud,
Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I posted this morning but am going to post again tonight because I am sleeping longer in the mornings now! Today I decided to break free from my train addiction and face my boat phobia for a change of pace - I went to France. The border goes through the middle of Lake Geneva, so I crossed the border to visit a mediaeval walled town called Yvoire. It has to be absolutely the most charming village I have ever seen, with all my favorite things in one small place. Yvoire has a castle, stone buildings and flowers and more flowers hanging from every wall in bursts of every colour, all in glorious condition considering it is mid autumn.

I read about this town at home and was attracted by its Garden of Five Senses and really wanted to go there. It is divided into areas which appeal to the senses of sight (a blaze of pinks and purples), touch (every texture to feel from furry lambs ear plants to spiky and scratchy plants), taste (all edible plants, although they ask you not to!), smell (a heady mix of perfumed plants and other pungent smells, including a chocolate cosmos daisy) and hearing (a splashing fountain in an enclosure with birds cooing). These were all divided into a sort of labyrinth by espaliered apple varieties. As well there were alpine plants and a peaceful cloister garden. Unbelievable. Best of all, every single plant was clearly labelled, so I learnt so much. There were benches around every corner, with views of the castle and the water which invited you to sit and smell the roses, literally. It was an exquisite experience and just about worth coming all this way to enjoy and I just lost myself in it.

The old walled town of stone buildings goes back to medieval times and has been decorated with flowers in baskets and in plantings in a concentration I have never seen before. The village has been a finalist in Most Beautiful French Villages and I could see why! It was a lovely sunny day and I got down to short sleeves and had lunch outdoors. When you are traveling in Switzerland and visiting France, why not have Italian pizza!! Generally I am not a great fan of pizza but these were the paper thin kind with tomato, fromage and jambon and mine was delicious.

Those who know me will know that I am a very reluctant sailor at the best times but I really enjoyed the short ferry ride to Yvoire. I felt very adventurous doing it on my own! Today was one of those days when all the transport fell together - good seat on the train to Nyon, good decision to take a taxi to the port, just caught the earlier of the two ferries I had in mind, wondered how I would get back to the station when I returned and found a little train with a driver ready to do a little tour of the town and end up at the station - perfect! Used my faithful all day ticket on a couple of buses and felt very satisfied with myself when I climbed the hill to get home.

A few notes to self:
- No need for any more photos of lakes, trains or castles (can't really have too many flower photos)
- Just because I am in Switzerland, I don't have to eat chocolate every day.
- Don't try to shop with Swiss francs when you go to France for the day - they want euros!
- Just keep saying bonjour and merci beaucoup to everyone all the time and they will think you speak French.
- If you turn on Tune in Radio at 10pm here, don't be surprised to hear the familiar voice of Red Symons doing his morning show - it will feel like the wrong time of day. He just said that it will be 29 degrees in Melbourne today...

My flatmate is staying overnight in the mountains tonight, so I am alone in our little apartment on the other side of the world. It's different for me! I am missing my family, but the time will race past.
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