29 September 2011

The beauty of Konstance

After a night spent with family and a quick walk through Epalinges we were on the road again. This time we were headed for Konstance, just over the German border, with Jonathon. We had to stop at Zurich airport to change hire cars, but even with that stop, the trip probably only took about four hours. Coming from Australia, the thought of driving four hours into another country is unthinkable – it takes longer than that to drive into another state!

Again, the drive was stunning – past snow-capped mountains, castles and cow-filled meadows.

Konstance is a beautiful historic little town on Lake Konstance. The lake itself forms the border of Germany, Switzerland and Austria – what a position! We spent half the day meandering through the old town of Konstance, marvelling over the buildings which date back as far as the 1300s.

Full of cobbled streets and historic vistas, Konstance is an easy city to walk around. The old town is nestled next to the Lake, though the most interesting streetscapes are a short walk away from the Lake. Unfortunately the trainline intersects between the old town and the Lake, making it difficult to move between the two.

The city more than makes up for this slight inconvenience with its sheer beauty.

From the top of the Cathedral spire – 42 metres high – you get amazing views over the city and the lake. You can walk up higher, to the balconies in the spire – at about 56 metres.

I had to laugh as Adrian had an indepth discussion with a man on the balconies all about camera equipment – the man didn’t speak a word of English, Ade doesn’t speak a word of German, but they spoke the universal language of Canon!

11 September 2011

A mad dash from Venice to Lausanne

The train ride through northern Italy and into Switzerland is spectacular – though our journey was not without incident.

We arrived at the station nice and early and boarded our train for Milan, where we were to change trains for the trip to Lausanne. We had about half an hour to kill in Milan, time enough to find our platform and transfer our luggage, or so we thought!

Heading through the Italian countryside our train stopped at one of the stations and there it sat, and sat. Evidently there had been a problem with the train and we had been delayed about 20 minutes. Still time to get to Milan and board our train, but then the train took off, slowly and didn’t pick up speed until we were just about at Milan.

We arrived five minutes after our train was due to leave – and as we were boarding a Swiss train we fully expected they would have left right on time.

Of course we had arrived on a platform at the opposite end of the station to where we needed to be, so laden with bags, we took off. Running all the way to the correct platform and our train was still there! I don’t know how we found the right platform, but we were soon safely on our way to Lausanne and enjoying the stunning views out the window.

Venice to Milan was nice, but nothing compared to the trip from Milan to Lausanne – where we ambled passed snow-capped mountains, castles, lakes and the picture postcard meadows you expect to find in Switzerland.

We headed straight to Epalinges, to my cousin, Jonathon’s place. Epalinges is about five minutes from Lausanne – up in the mountains just above the snowline – it’s a little quieter than Lausanne, and absolutely beautiful!