Today marked my ninth day on the study abroad trip, and my first full day in Switzerland. This morning, we awoke at Champex du Lac and ate a delicious Swiss breakfast prepared by our host, Franka.
After breakfast, we brought our luggage downstairs and left it ready for later in the day. Hillary (from CREA Mont Blanc) had driven over from Chamonix to be our guide for the day. We walked from our chalet about 15 minutes back towards the main part of Champex du Lac. Our morning activity was to visit a botanical garden up on the mountainside overlooking Champex. The garden has been open for 90 years, and displays a variety of species from around the world. We learned about the plants and about the history of the garden, and walked around for several hours. Hillary translated for us while we toured.
As our tour concluded, the shuttle vans came to pick us up, so we boarded them and headed back to the chalet to pick up our luggage and hit the road. After a long, winding drive down the mountain, we finally stopped in a town called Martigny to grab some lunch and do some sightseeing. Matt, Erica, Tara, and I walked a good ways down the main street to a famous crêperie that Hillary told us about. It was well worth the walk! We each got a savory crêpe, and then split some sweet crêpes for dessert. I got a crêpe with meat sauce and Swiss cheese, and for dessert we split a raspberry, chocolate, crunchy Nutella, and bilberry (which is a close relative of the blueberry and blackberry native to the Alps). They were definitely the best crêpes I’ve had on this trip!
We met the rest of our group back in the town center, and walked back to the other side of the town to the museum district. Some went in an art museum, but I chose to go to a museum about St. Bernard dogs instead. It turned out to be a great decision, because they had many live St. Bernard dogs and puppies, in addition to museum exhibits!
We regrouped, reboarded the buses, and drove about an hour to Lausanne, a large city on the opposite end of the lake from Geneva. We checked into our hotel, the Starling, which is in a university district. After settling into our rooms, we freshened up, had our final class meeting of the trip, and then went as a group to go out to dinner in the city. We walked through the neighboring university campus to a metro stop, took the train into the city, and walked to a local restaurant for a delicious Swiss-French dinner.
After dinner, we took the metro back to our hotel and settled in for the evening.
Goodnight everyone! Tomorrow will be my final full day in Europe.