Before getting out of the...
Before getting out of the train station, I was already welcomed with Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' by a violinist who performed by the underground passageway linking the train platforms. Beautifully played as he articulated the joy the title carries, it sounded to me exactly like how I thought a world-class would perform. I wondered how many coins he collects each day but I could tell he loves his music and so do I.
The tourist information center is just about 15m away from the station. I was immediately introduced by the expansive staff the many attractions this vibrant city has to offer. To begin with, Ouchy is the city's port where young and old throng the pavement cafes, stroll around the boat quays or settle for a meal in one of the many restaurants. This is perhaps the town's lowest ground, where you may closely capture the gorgeous view of the Alps which bases were misted, so that the separation between true nature and their reflections was blurred.
Lausanne was named the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1994. The nearby Musee Olympique is devoted to the Olympic Games, to trace its history and to honor many outstanding sportsmen who participated in the games. This impressive complex faces the lake and is creatively designed to retain the natural beauty of its surrounding park.
A funicular links the lakeshore suburb of Ouchy to the uphill Old Town. Alighting at Place de la Gare station, you may trudge up the steeply sloping Rue du Petit-Chene to get to the heart of the Old Town and leisurely take in the charming sights of Lausanne. The partly pedestrainized Old Town is small enough to be explored on foot, but you will need comfortable shoes as the winding shopping streets are cobbled on slopes. This place is packed with tons of people, in and outside of the many designer boutiques, exquisitely decorated souvenir shops or restaurant bars that populate the streets. On a not too busy stretch, I halted to watch a harpist perform a lovely Gospel piece, making transposition intelligently whenever appropriate. Totally unaffected by the bustle, his performance surely worth more than a coin.
Pont Ch.-Bessieres, Pont Chauderon and Rue Du Grand-Pont are three bridges which link various parts of the Old Town. Above and below them are views of houses which cling closely to the hillsides. A good view of the town and its spectacular backdrop can be seen on Pont Ch.-Bessieres. And if you have the stamina to go further, Cathedrale de Notre-Dame which is not too far away uphill from the bridge provides even better scenic view. To descend take the Escaliers du Marche (a wooden-roofed medieval stairway) that links the cathedral square to Place de la Palud, an ancient square surrounded by old houses.
Of all the museums in Lausanne the one not to be missed is Musee de l'Art Brut. Inside is an extraordinary but interesting collection of artworks by 'untrained artists', including the mentally illed and incarcerated criminals who wish to let the world know how artistic they are.
Before leaving for Montreux, I went back to the passageway in hope to again hear the violinist perform. But I had no luck, perhaps half past eight was a little early for him to begin his performance. One thing for sure I will never forget the lovely sights and sounds of lovely Lausanne.
Montreux is known to be the best preserved of all Lake Geneva resorts. Its waterside promenade, decorated with palm trees, magnolias, Pokemon-shaped bushes and cypresses, is 10km long and is marvelous for strolling. Just like Lausanne, the town rises in tiers up the hillside. I did Montreux for only half a day, not because it is somewhere not worth to spend more time in, but I really have to run to catch the next train.
Upon arrival, I headed straight down to the place where almost every backpacker would first visit and that's of cuz the Tourist Information Center. Located by the lakeside, if you arrive by train (I don't know how you can reach this place by other means but I certainly won't suggest you swim from Lausanne to Montreux) you gotta descend quite some flights of stairs to open its door.