This day trip from Lausanne to lake Neuchâtel was a good introduction to the beauty and diversity of Switzerland. Stunning scenery, mountains, lakes, charming little villages and historical sites.
Which country did you like the most? People ask me again and again.
Which country did I like the most? I’m always unable to answer. I’ve fallen in love many times, with many countries – specially while traveling alone – and each of them was for a different reason.
I fell in love with the hospitality of Cambodia and Uruguay, the food of Malaysia and Chile, the natural beauty of New Zealand, Chile, Bolivia and Norway.
Most of my best travel memories are related to the people I met on the road, but as a creative person, I’m not insensitive to beautiful landscapes.
In fact, I love beautiful landscapes. I love being outdoors.
And now I’m falling in love with Switzerland. Our first meeting was cold and distant, it was at the end of winter and we didn’t connect much. But now… now it’s sunny and warm and Switzerland is dressed in summer colors. And yes, it’s a beautiful country, full of mountains and water, my favorite combination.
During this day trip from Lausanne we crossed stunning scenery, charming villages, some historical sites, mountains and lakes. A bit of everything. A good introduction.
We took the motorbike to go from Lausanne, next to lake Leman, to Neuchâtel, next to lake Neuchâtel.
I remembered the last time I was here, on one of the few occasions in which we did a day trip by motorbike. It was cold, and every time I had to remove the gloves to check the route on my phone my hands froze. There was snow next to the road. It rained on the way back. I had waterproof jacket, pants and hiking boots, but somehow the cold water entered the shoes.
Now, three months later, the ride was much more pleasant.
The snow was gone and the vegetation was lush green. It was sunny and warm and I enjoyed the feeling of the wind.
Our first stop was Isle, a little village of about 1000 inhabitants.
We parked the motorbike nearby the castle. It was built on the 17th Century and it’s listed as a Swiss heritage site of national significance. There is a garden around and a small pond with a fountain.
There was a kid with her father playing on the castle’s garden. We could hear them laughing. I wonder who was enjoying the most, the kid or the father?
It wasn’t possible to enter the castle so we went to have a walk in the village.
Isle was a quiet, charming village. The big houses had wooden doors and windows painted in different colors. It was full of flowers, so colorful and lively! I noticed that some people matched the color of the flowers with the color of the window, so cute!
Our next stop was Romainmôtier. It’s located in a valley where the road comes from the mountains, so we first saw it from above.
When we parked we met another couple of motorbike travelers, and we started talking. They were from another region but now they lived and worked in a nearby camping. They recommended us to visit the priory, which was in the center of the village and is one of the highlights of the region.
The Romainmôtier Priory was a monastery but only the clock tower and the church remain. The arches from the disappeared cloister can still be seen on the lateral wall of the church, where there is a courtyard now.
Inside, it’s divided in two rooms. The first one has nice paintings on the ceiling, and nothing else. The second room is the main room where ceremonies take place.
By the way, one interesting fact about the Priory is that there is free wi-fi.
Free wi-fi in a church? Why?
They’ve developed a free app which contains videos with the history of the Priory and explanations about the architecture and paintings. It was very interesting and well done, available in English, French and German.
From Romainmôtier we headed to Orbe. I was enjoying the ride. It was all lush green but for the cereal fields. Some of them had just been harvested and the straw bales decorated the landscapes.
It’s true that sometimes the most important is not the destination, but the journey in itself.
We arrived to Orbe. The couple we met in Romainmôtier had told us there wasn’t anything special there, but we had a walk around anyway.
As it turned out, there was something. There was a tower which had belonged to a castle, and it was possible to go up. The views from above were spectacular. We could see the village and the surrounding fields, in all tones of green and yellow.
The landscape is mostly flat with some hills and small mountains. As I recently learned, not all Switzerland is in the Alps. Roughly speaking, the southern part is the Alps, the region where we live (Lausanne and lac Leman) is the pre-Alps, and the region where we were going, in the north, is called the Jura.
We reached the southern point of lac Neuchâtel at lunch time, so we decided to stop in Yverdon-les-bains to have a picnic at the beach.
The beach was called “La Petite Plage” (The Small Beach) but it was actually long, and at the end of it there was a birds natural reserve and a forest with running trails.
The weather was great so I guess it wasn’t surprising that there were so many people in the lake! I regretted not taking my bikini, it was warm and the water looked inviting.
After lunch we rode along the lake on the northern shore, in direction to Neuchâtel. The castles weren’t over though, we found one more in Grandson, which we visited.
We had one hour and a half before they closed. We thought we wouldn’t stay that long but actually we did, we were the last ones to leave!
Many rooms are open to the public, most of them displaying collections of medieval war weapons and other historical objects. The most surprising for me was the collection of real cars from the beginning of the 1900’s. Cars have indeed changed a lot in 100 years!
After Grandson we left the main road. That was probably the best part of the trip, taking side ways, entering small villages, advancing in between the fields, getting “lost” (not really lost because we could always see the lake, so we had a reference).
And there we were, riding along the lush green fields when we saw a sign that said “dolmen”.
A megalithic monument here? Do we go?
The dolmen was a reconstruction built in the same spot as the original. It was sitting next to the main road, in a somehow elevated terrain, and had great views over the lake Neuchâtel.
We finally reached Neuchâtel in the evening. It’s located by the lake, and many people were walking and sitting next to the shore.
The Montblanc, the highest peak of the Alps, was visible across the lake. In summer it’s easy to identify because it’s the only mountain that is all white, covered in snow. In fact, its name, Montblanc, which means “White Mountain” in French.
Have you ever been to Switzerland? Which places do you recommend to visit?
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