Today, we are going on yet another weekend excursion to the mountains. This time to the famous icon of Switzerland, the Matterhorn! No … we are not going to attempt to climb this famous mountain, but we are hoping to do some mountain hiking in the area. So tonight we will be spending the night at another youth hostel, this time in the town of Zermatt. But before we leave, I thought I would try to finish sharing the last of the excursions that we did during that long weekend holiday after I came back from Singapore in September. It is a little overdue lah!
So after our hiking excursion trying to conquer Mont Grammont … which was actually doomed from the start 😉 … we continued with another excursion the next day (which the hubby had taken off for that very purpose). This time … we intended to cycle all the way from home on the heights of Lausanne to the famous vineyards in the picturesque Lavaux region (which is listed in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites) … and from there, down to the hubby’s favourite bathing spot in Epesses so that he could have his annual swim in the lake of Geneva (or Lac Léman as the hubby constantly reminds me it should be called lah)!
I am happy to say that … this time, we were more successful in our attempt at achieving what we had set as our target for the trip that Monday. About time … I would say!! 🙂
I will spare you the details of the route we took to reach the lakeside; suffice is to say that from home we followed Route de Lausanne until we reached the small village of Villette, where we turned left and followed Chemin de Villette until this small road joins Chemin des Florettes going (steeply) up the terraces of Lavaux. We went through the village of Aran, following Route de la Petite Corniche. We stopped at the belvedere on the bend to enjoy the beautiful, unobstructed view of the lake, mountains and hills that extend well beyond Lausanne, all unfolding before us.
We then carried along Route de la Petite Corniche until we arrived at Grand’Rue, which we followed until we got to the superbly located village of Grandvaux (which the Emperor of Japan, Hirohito, and his wife, the Empress Nagako, visited in 1971 – unsurprisingly, Grandvaux later became a twin commune with that of Nagara Furusato Mura, about 100 kilometres from Tokyo, in 1979).
We stopped at Place Hugo Pratt, named after the Italian comic author whose main character, the sailor Corto Maltese, has a statue overlooking the beautiful belvedere .
We then followed Rue Saint-Georges back on to Route de la Petite Corniche and then decided to go (mostly) downhill by cycling along Côte-aux-Vignes until we reached the small village of Riex.
We did not carry along the main street of Riex through the village, but turned right … and then immediately left onto Rue de Sous-Riex, which we followed until we arrived at a small path that cuts through the vineyards, called Chemin du Clos. This allowed us to pass below Route Cantonale and join Route de Moratel, which we cycled along until we got to the beach of Epesses (for info, the village of Epesses is located above the vineyards, not along the shore of the lake).
And here are the photos (which you can click on to enlarge) of our jaunt to the famous wine-growing region …
A quick stop at a belvedere (look-out point) just before leaving Lausanne, on our way to Lavaux (suggested by the hubby), to check out the view from here.
Another quick stop when we reach this beach some 5 minutes after the main beach at Lutry, before continuing our way. As you can see here, the beaches along the lake are generally of the pebble kind rather than sandy ones. But the water is beautifully clear … and cool! The mountain on the right sloping down to the water (almost smack in the middle of the picture) is the Grammont range, which we had hoped to climb on the previous day …
From here, we cycled along the shore of lake of Geneva for a period before turning back onto the side of the main road … in order to reach Lavaux. Unfortunately, unlike going to Morges (where we were able to cycle all the way along the lake shore until we reached Morges) … we were not able to do the same going to Lavaux!
Finally reaching the foot of the hill, before taking Chemin de Villette. Glimpses of the famous terraced vineyards behind me (with a sign cautioning drivers that ‘wine harvesting is taking place’), on the left … and the train station on the right. So, we could have made our lives (or rather my life … hehehe …) easier by taking the train and then just walked up to this famous slope. Butttttttt … we had to make our excursion more interesting and exciting lah!! ( Although, if it was left to me, I would have taken the easier way and take the train there! hahahaha … 🙂
Although I tried my best to cycle up the steep slope … but I am not ashamed to admit that I just do not have the stamina to do so! It was already tough enough walking up … let alone cycling up!!! And seeing how slowly I walked while pushing my bicycle up the slope, the hubby kindly got off his bicycle (he certainly had no problem cycling up since he has been cycling uphill towards home so often) … and offered to push my bicycle for me! Of course he expected me to cycle when the slope was gentle enough for me to do so!! Ahhh … he can be kind but quite a strict task master, too, this Ta of mine!! 🙂
And how does this famous UNESCO listed vineyards and its little villages look like? Check it out …
The view towards the left side of the lake when we were half way up the slope with the small village of Villette below us… a picture postcard kind of view!
And the view towards the hills.
The view to the right of the lake … as we went higher up the slope of the terraced vineyards along Route de la Petite Corniche … with Lausanne on the horizon.
The InterCity train passing through the vineyards on its way to Lausanne.
Cycling through the village in Grandvaux. We had been to this village a few times by car to have a meal at a restaurant there … or just to bring our visitors to enjoy the panoramic view from there!
Stopping by Place Hugo Pratt (located not far from the restaurant which we had visited twice) … where a statue of the comic character, the sailor Corto Maltese … stands tall overlooking the vineyard terraces of Lavaux.
He certainly has quite an eyeful of the area … lucky guy! 🙂
A superb view of Lake Geneva from Place Hugo Pratt with the village of Cully below on the left.
From the village … we started making our descent towards Epesses … for the hubby to have his swim in the lake, with a good view of the Grammont range on the other side of the lake.
Looking back towards the village of Grandvaux, which is situated on the slopes of the Lavaux hills…
… and to enjoy the beautiful view of its terraced vineyards for the last time.
And that of the plentiful grapes, too. They really looked so yummy that it was hard to refrain from trying to pluck them!!! But these are wine grapes rather than table grapes meant for eating.
The region of Lavaux is well-known in Switzerland for its white wine (chasselas grape), but several grape varieties are grown (pinot noir, gamay, oeil de pedrix, etc). Within the region, there are zones which produce wine with the right to their own appellation: Calamin, Chardonne, Dézaley, Epesses, Lutry, Saint-Saphorin, Vevey-Montreux and Villette. For more information, click on this page from the local association of winemakers.
Arriving and cycling through the village of Riex. As the village of Epesses, which is perched on a hill, was still further away, we decided to make our way down to the lake from Riex and not from Epesses by following Rue de Sous-Riex. We then found ourselves in the middle of the vineyards.
But hubby found a shortcut for us to go through that would take us directly to the beach! Hmmm … not quite the kind of shortcut that I had in mind, I can tell you that!!
And finally reaching the lake shore and our regular spot … whenever we come here. We like coming here because besides the pretty view, it is also not as crowded as the more popular beaches near Ouchy or Lutry. I would have loved to swim too, unfortunately I cannot swim very well … so the hubby usually has to swim alone. But he certainly enjoyed his swim here … and I enjoyed it too … since it is a beautiful place to relax, read a book, listen to music and munch on something … while I wait for the hubby to finish his swim! I loikeee! 🙂
Spotted a father and son … paddling while standing … not far from where hubby was swimming on Lake Geneva (left) … and one of the traditional cruise boats that ply the lake, passing by the area.
A train stopping at the train station in Epesses (left) before making its way towards Territet. Initially we had thought of taking the train to go back home but since we missed it and would rather not wait another hour for the next train … we therefore decided to cycle to Ouchy and take the métro home from there.
On our way back, we passed by the jetty in Cully … where there is a very old “marron” tree which was planted in 1798. Marron is the other nut often mistaken as sweet chestnut (châtaigne in French) since they look almost similar … except that it is not edible.
The fake chestnut or horse chestnut known as marron in French on the tree. Strangely, both names are used quite interchangeably, here … which further added to my confusion initially. But after checking out both nuts carefully … I have now learnt to identify the difference between the two. But as you can see from the picture on the far right … the two nuts look almost identical, no? I leave it to you to guess which is fake and which is the real chestnut lah! hehehe … 😉
Passing by the lake shore area near Villette as the sun was about to set.
And we even managed to catch the moon rising above Lavaux as we made our way to Ouchy.
It was a nice excursion even though it was a little uncomfortable having to cycle beside the main road for most part of our return journey to Ouchy. And I know that the hubby was very pleased that we (or rather I) had managed to do so! hehehe … 🙂
Okay … I still have so many excursions to share … as we have been going out nearly every weekend since I came back and we are going again tomorrow! But rest assured … I will get around to writing and sharing the photos of all these excursions that we did … in good time. Have a good weekend!
Other entries on cycling in the area on this blog and on the hubby’s
- Cycling to Chalet à Gobet … to enjoy the beautiful colours of autumn …
- From Lausanne to Morges… cycling…
- Cycling through the countryside… in spring…
- Journée Lausannoise du Vélo 2011… our way…
- Cycling… in the countryside
- De Crans-près-Céligny à Lausanne-Vennes en VTT (hubby’s blog)