Why should anybody who does not have to work on a Saturday leave home at 5:45 am as I did last week? This was because 21 September was Museum Night Day in Lausanne and I wanted to help my father shift the wood he had chopped at his place before I would return home and then visit some of my favourite museums in Lausanne for the thirteenth edition of this event.
The small logs of wood had to be moved from the area in the wood below the garden (where the logs are chopped and stored temporarily) to a shelter adjacent to the garage so as to make it easier to go and collect the logs in winter when they are used in the chimney to warm up the house. That my father had managed to chop so many logs was a mystery to me given that his right-hand shoulder is playing him up quite badly! I wish he would have asked me to help him chop the wood too.
I also helped with some fruit picking (before the birds would eat all of the fruit), with the shifting of some plants so that they could be replanted and the transport of dead leaves to the bonfire spot. As a result, I was able to bring back all what I had picked – a nice reward for my effort. I also managed to convince mum to come back with me to Lausanne so as to experience at least once this highlight of the month of September as regards museology, La Nuit des musées. To my surprise, she agreed, so that dad dropped us at Cornavin and we travelled by train to Lausanne. I bought three passes to the event at the tourist office, dropped mum in the town centre and went back home to shower and ‘collect’ my wife 😉
Once we were all together, we headed to La Riponne, one of Lausanne‘s main squares where several museums are located (those in Palais de Rumine and Espace Arlaud, plus MuDac and Musée historique de Lausanne, which are only 5 minutes’ walk from the top floor of Palais de Rumine). I thought it would be better to start with Musée historique de Lausanne (which we visited almost in full and we even got to admire its reconstruction of seventeenth-century Lausanne) and then visit some sections of the museums in Palais de Rumine (namely, the section displaying the mammoth and Musée des Beaux Arts). Then it was time for Musée de l’Elysée and the stunning photographs of nature and people unspoilt by our type of civilisation by the Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. Our next museum was Collection de l’Art Brut (outsider art), where we even managed to listen to André Robillard (a French creator of non-academic art who has spent nearly all his life in a psychiatric home – he is 83) who was interviewed by the French stage director Alain Moreau. The conversation was very interesting as Mr Robillard was a lively character who, in addition to providing witty replies to his interviewer, played some instruments of his own making and did some very funny impersonations. As all three of us were becoming tired, we decided to go back home. For my part, I hoped that I would rest a little and then head to Musée de l’Hermitage (which is about 30 minutes on foot from our place) to get to enjoy modernist paintings in the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately, I did not get to wake up on time to do so. What a pity as this is usually one of my favourite moments at Nuit des musées [for far more pictures, see my wife’s entry on her blog].
On the following day, Sunday 22 September, I had to go and cast my votes in an envelope in the ballot at the voting station closest to my home (I ran down and back up, as I usually do, anything being sufficiently good a pretext to force me to run on Sundays), which is why we left home a little on the late side. As both mum and my wife had one-day travel passes, our initial intention was to go to Rochers-de-Naye, return to Montreux and catch a train to Nyon and then take a boat to Yvoire. However, at Montreux (once on the train), we found out that we would have to pay surcharges of CHF25 per head from Caux to Rochers-de-Naye. Given that my mum’s and wife’s travel passes had cost only CHF35 each, we felt that it was a little pricey. As a result, mum suggested that we go to Kandersteg instead as she was hoping to enjoy a bit of the mountain scenery as well as get to see her second Ricola herb garden.
At Brigue, we boarded a train of the Berne-Lötschberg-Simplon line, which was built at the beginning of the 20th century and included the carving of a 14.6km long tunnel through the Lötschberg over 1906-1912. It enabled to link Berne to the valley of the Rhône and thus to Italy, which is why it proved popular with tourists.
As I wrote on another platform later on that day once back home, with its clean streets, beautiful setting and friendly locals, the village of Kandersteg is the perfect example of Switzerland at its best (and it also explains why some people fall in love with such places).
The icing on the cake was that we happened to be at Kandersteg at this particular time of the day when the sun illuminates the landscape with a particular light, which made the scenery around us even more of a pleasure for our eyes.
Landgasthof Ruedihus and the Ricola herb garden, which we reached after a walk of about 40 minutes as we had overshot it in our haste to reach the garden. Once there, needless to say that both my wife and my mum were elated. Almost so as to celebrate, they later on treated themselves to some Ricola hot tea at the 18th century Landgasthof Ruedihus.
The impressive mountain scenery: Wildi Frau (far left, 3,259m), Ufem Stock (left, 3,221m), Morgenhorn (centre, 3,623m), Wyssi Frau (centre right, 3650m), Blüemlisalphorn (the tallest of all, 3,661m) and the Blüemlisalp Rothore (far right, 3,297m), if I am not mistaken. The forces that shaped the mountains into being are visible on this photo (see circle); they reminded me of the Muverans mountains, closer to home. The glacier is that of Blüemli. The area is a favourite with hikers because of the beautiful lake, that of Oeschinen (or Oeschinensee in German), which is to be found below the Blüemlisalp range. Unsurprisingly, I am really keen on going back to this area next year so as to be able to see this lake.
Links (to my wife’s entries on the same trips)