Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Very Physical City

Tiny sketch of giant mountains; view south east from lakeshore.

23 July 2017

            Lausanne makes New York and even San Francisco seem flat, two-dimensional.  An avenue follows the curve of the lakeshore, intersected by those that climb tortuous paths up steep hills. At pauses in the climb there are streets that are flat for some length. In the oldest part of the city, most quickly fork into corkscrews up and around ancient buildings.

            This makes physical demands on people and transport. Hence the system of trams and electric busses. In the city center, steps often have an up escalator placed next to them.

            I’ve learned to walk. I’m amazed that climbing the hills, even the stairs seem easier each day, even when carrying groceries. The downhills are the challenge.

            Outside my door and across the street, I can catch a bus and be at the lakeside pool in Pully in 8 minutes.  This is less time than it takes me to drive or bike from my home in Menlo Park to the city pool there.

            I get off the bus a stop early and walk past Pully Port, where the local sailing club tows lines sailing dinghies filled with children out to the middle of the lake for their sailing lessons. 

            Fall is already in the air, with a wind raising waves in the lake. I change and get into the mid-waist water where my fellow aged ladies do water walking and aerobics. I do the same, chattering with them about the cold wind. Sometimes they understand my French, other times not. One thought I said Mustique, rather than musique! She looked like she knew what she was talking about.

            Emerging, I walk over to the Olympic pool with its lanes for lap swimmers.  I swim until I feel a chill in my legs, and the growling of my stomach.

            Dried off and dressed, I catch the bus back towards Lausanne proper. Halfway there, at a roundabout called Montchoisi, I get off and take a seat outdoors. A café au lait warms me, although the cigarette smoke from a fellow patron mars at the illusion of a healthy citizenry. Restored, I remount the bus for the three stops on up, over the railroad tracks and home.

            Can you tell that I will miss this place come December 31? Worry not about fall and the end of lake swimming; when the outdoor pool closes in September, there is the indoor pool at Mon Repos, a few steep streets away.

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