FACTOID:  The average cow eats 100 kilograms (220 pounds!!!) of grass per day and drinks 85 liters (22.5 gallons!!!) of water per day to make 25 liters of milk.

This year we decided to take a side trip for three days to Lausanne, Switzerland. The Queen had a postdoc who had left her lab about 5 years ago and took a job in Lausanne. She married a Swiss scientist in her lab and has a new baby. She has wanted us to visit and we decided to go this year.

We flew to Geneva and rented a car for the two-hour trip to Lausanne. The highlight of the airport was the bathroom visit with the largest condom dispensing machine I have seen.


On our way to Lausanne we stopped in the small town of Nyon. This is where we discovered how expensive Switzerland was going to be. We had one sandwich and a drink and it cost 15 Euros ($20). The sandwich was a `baguel' and resembled a bagel only in looks. It did not taste or have the texture of a bagel.

The window of a butcher shop near where we had lunch in Nyon.

Nyon is right along the banks of Lake Geneva. We parked the car near the water and walked around the town. This is the Queen at a castle at the edge of the water. The castle is one of several medieval castles in the area.

The sun clock on one of the municipal buildings of the city.

This is an old fountain but the hardware makes it look modern.

The King along one of the upper walkways of the city of Nyon.

The Romans have been here and there is only one ruin that is left in the city. The Roman's were here from the 2nd century BCE to the 5th century.

Below the Roman columns was this very nice garden going down to the sea.

In the garden was this grass sculpture made with different colored rocks and grass.

This is an old school building in Nyon.

An election is coming up in Switzerland and like most of Europe there are left wing parties.

This was a street in the older port area of the city.


Lausanne is a very nice looking city and very clean. The population is about 150,000 and is the smallest city in Europe with a subway system.

We had dinner with Mayumi,  Micheal - her husband and Miyoko - the new baby.

The Queen with the new baby.

For dinner we had `raclette' which is grilled cheese, potatoes and vegetables. You self grill it by putting the cheese on the black flat spoon shown and then move it off with the wooden spatula putting it on the potatoes and adding the grilled vegetables.

The main cathedral is on the top of a hill in the city and the views from the top of the city, the lake and if it is clear the French side of the lake.

The mountains in the distance are in France. It was not a very clear day.

The Queen sits alone in the chapel inside the cathedral.

Some of the columns in the cathedral were held together by duct tape.

..and there were some cracks in the walls with small screws that could not have been doing very much.

The older buildings in the center of the city were quite ornate and very beautiful.

There were several little squares and lots of pedestrian streets in the center of the city.

There was a very large synagogue in the center of the city. We tried to go in to see in but the people were just leaving so we were only able to take a picture of the outside.

There were a few striped bicycle lanes in the city. This one had to be the shortest bicycle lane in the world.

This was taken in a super market and this was one of two isles that featured only chocolate.

The buses allow both bikes and baby strollers. There did not seem to be signs restricting the hours when they could be on buses.


Gruyeres is a small medieval town mountain town that is famous for cheese production. We took a trip there with Mayumi for the day. We toured a cheese factory and had lunch in the town.

We just missed the tour where we could watch them making cheese but we were still able to see all the rooms that are needed for the entire process. The rooms were all very clean.

This is the room downstairs where the cheese is left to cure. The good cheese is kept here for one year. This was one of several rows of cheese.

The store at the cheese factory sold lots of cheese but also sold chocolate Swiss Army knives.

Mayumi and Queen in the town of Gruyeres.

The King and Mayumi on our walk around the outside of the town walls.

The views from the town were beautiful.

The Queen and Mayumi at lunch.

The lunch included lots of things with cheese.

On the way back to Lausanne we stopped in a small village that had lots of vineyards along Lake Geneva.

On our way back to Geneva to fly back to Italy we stopped in the town of Montreux and the Castle Chillon just north of Montreux on Lake Geneva.

The castle, built by the Savoys on Lake Geneva, was probably first inhabited in the 11th century. It was the home of the Counts of Savoy and was greatly expanded in the 13th century. It is huge and the basement was used as a prison.

This sign warned tourists about pick pockets. Because the country is so clean you get the feeling that the country is crime free but I guess not.

Witch hunting was very prevalent in this area in the 15th to 17th century. Switzerland holds the record for not only the longest repression of witchcraft but also for the largest number of witches executed, in proportion to population. In the 16th and 17th century, Chillon Castle was the largest detention center for people accused of witchcraft. This is the view from a basement cell.

In the basement of the castle, the Queen examines a pole with chains where people were chained.

The rooms in the castle were enormous. There was not much furniture. Most of the rooms were empty with few wall decorations left.

A sign of the submission to the Devil was kissing the ass of a goat depicted here in this painting in the castle.

The castle was a labyrinth of rooms and courtyards. It is built in the shape of a large oval as opposed to the usual castle that was square or rectangular.

This was an instruction manual for how to use the potty.

Various views from the castle.

The town looking north up the lake is Montreux.

The Queen stands in front of the statute of Freddie Mercury on the shore of Lake Geneva. He bought a recording studio here and Queen recorded their last album in the studio. His statue is mentioned in all the tour books.

The Queen always makes stacked stone sculptures wherever we go and we found a garden of them in Montreux.

The walk along the lake was very nice and many people were out and eating lunch and walking.

The buildings in the older section of Montreux were beautiful. Very ornate. This town definitely gave off an feel of wealth and money. It had the feel of Sitges, a seaside town near Barcelona in Spain and also like the art deco part of South Beach on Miami Beach.

The Queen fed the birds in the park. At one time we had about 50 birds waiting for scraps.

RETURN TO:      ROME - FALL 2011