Dwight Peck's personal website

Young William's first trip to Switzerland

Curiosity and bemusement in the Alps and Préalps

The Belle Epoque steamship La Suisse

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Young William (or Will; or Bill; Billy, at a need; but never Willie!) is tagging along with his Mum on a visit to childhood Stomping Grounds.

It's the next-to-last day of the summer sailing season for the paddlewheel steamers, and William's going to love this.

The CGN boatyards at Lausanne-Bellerive, adjacent to the débarcadère d'Ouchy at Lausanne on Lake Geneva

One of the Belle Epoque steamships, the Italie (1908) -- its diningroom is a work of art -- has been out of service since 2005 awaiting scarce funding for renovation

The Leman at the Ouchy débarcadère. We're here for bigger game, La Suisse (1910), for the noontime Croisière gourmande to the end of the lake.

Helvetie, the youngest of the eight steamers (1926), out of service since 2002 for want of funds for renovation, is presently serving as a well-regarded museum.

The 12th-century Château d'Ouchy (now an hotel) from the débarcadère

The Lausanne in the dock nearby

A frisson of anticipation runs through the crowd as La Suisse backs out of its slip and prepares to welcome us aboard.

The captain, on the side bridge, is tootling his greetings.

The commoners are jostling for the best seats in steerage (we paid the extra 5 francs for first class. Ha ha ha.).

On the first-class deck

We're trying to wake William up so he doesn't miss this.

Off we go, down Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), with a tiny French flag on the front (and an enormous Swiss flag at the stern).

Pully is our first port, where Marlowe went to school for a year way back when.

This is the last weekend of the summer runs, and it's called the Gourmande, with tables reserved long in advance, but not by us.

-- William, watch Grandpa gesticulate like a loonie to get your attention.

The old steamship's inner works

Oh wow.

William may be unimpressed. He's got nothing to compare it to yet.

Lakeside village along the Lavaux coast

The big tree of Cully

And in the distance, a tourist train!

An unfamiliar model of tourist train

Not so, it's a Dotto Train Muson River Electric classic with hoardings on it, called the Lavaux Express -- "Tourist train in the land of the 'grands crus'!" -- running one-hour trips along the shore and up through the UNESCO World Heritage vineyards of the villages in the Commune de Bourg en Lavaux.

From village to village along the Lavaux lakeshore

The Lavaux villages and the autoroute at the top of the view

The Lavaux vineyards

It's half-freezing out, but Marlowe still disdains sweaters and jackets.

Lake Geneva shore views

More shore views

The world headquarters of Nestlé in Vevey

The old market square of Vevey

Above Vevey and Montreux, the Dent de Jaman on the left, and the Rochers de Naye

There was a time (30 years ago) when the Dent de Jaman was our most frequently visited destination, summer or winter.

William snatching a quick power-nap

The end of the lake

Montreux, and the famous statue of Freddie Mercury

The castle of Chillon, and the autoroute overpass on the way to Milan

This is what we're here for, aside from the boat ride.

Disembarking, filled with anticipation

La Suisse heading back to Lausanne

Marlowe and William in Switzerland, October 2012


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 14 November 2012.

Recent Events