“On Lake Geneva” – by Debbie Ambrous

Flower-filled streets where we could wander past medieval fourteenth-century fortifications, through either of the two gateways to the castle and its massive square keep flanked by turrets were quite enough to entice us into the car for an hour’s journey from our rental house in Samoëns, France to Yvoire.

The charming, small village of Yvoire is splendidly poised on the shores of Lake Geneva, or Lac Leman if you are searching on a French map.  Views of the crescent-shaped lake spread below the village forming France’s largest lake at 44.7 miles long.  On the map, you will notice the lake is shared with Switzerland.  Fishing boats, elegant restored paddle steamers and sailboats cross the lake which resembles a small sea.  Several lighthouses are along water’s edge, and when the wind gets up possibly causing storms with waves several feet high, these lighthouses are helpful.  Other towns, some with old palaces and thermal spas line the lake.But our destination was the tiny village of Yvoire with a population of 875 inhabitants.  That’s our style.  There was only one problem, heavy fog obscured the view and blanketed much of the beautiful color.  Husband Jim and I were not discouraged since it was early in our trip to France.  Our allotted days were still numerous in our travel bank, like blank checks waiting to be cashed for fun and excitement in future days if this one was ho-hum.  Isn’t that true of life, especially when one is young with many choices?  If one decision doesn’t work out, there’s always time to correct the direction.  When the days dwindle, or the cash in the bank dwindles on the travel journey of life, the way is more hazardous.  Now, how did I wander off on this foggy, dark pathway?Charting a different course, we were happy to see the imposing castle on the shore which is closed to the public, but the exterior wasn’t closed to my camera.  The streets of the ancient village were lined with interesting shops, art galleries and restaurants.  The silver onion-domed Eglise St-Pancrace (14C-19C) crowned the sky brilliantly.  A beautiful stained glass window and a painting of Jesus learning the carpentry trade caught my attention inside.

The Jardin des Cinq Sens was not open when we were there, I’m sorry to say.  The former kitchen garden of the castle has been turned into a reconstruction of a medieval enclosed garden with vegetables and herbs.  Check the website for times and dates.

I found a classy lady on the corner of the street at an intersection by an art gallery with many crystal objects.  The exterior flower boxes were brimming with colorful, crystal flowers.  I had an animated one-sided conversation with the inanimate lady about her bright ensemble, and which diets we currently ignored Around the corner and down the hill, ferries departed to Nyon, but that could wait for a day with sunshine and blue skies.  A thrift store was a few miles away with the doors opening soon, which I planned to enter, but that story is for another dayWe left the lake with the graceful swans and the dogs walking with their owners, enjoying the peacefulness of few visitors, unlike the crowded streets in peak season.  Oh, we are ever so smart, aren’t we?

The un-cashed check in our travel bank with the sunny logo appeared near the end of our trip, and we rushed to spend it like a shopaholic with a travel fixation.  This time, Jim and I were greeted by donkeys in a field near the edge of the parking lot.

Their gaze seemed to say, “Oh, it’s you again!” We had the same vague reaction when we asked for directions at the tourist office. 

 

 

A sign at the bottom of the lane which led from the parking lot had hand-written wording: “Love is not so dead.”  Take courage.  Love is very much alive!  Not all folks are donkeys.

We lapped up the gorgeous views, basking in the sunshine, but the winds whipped the waters and splashed my legs when I walked on the rocks around the sailboats.  I worried about slipping, or damaging my camera, so I went back to dry land where pirates seemed to watch our every move. 

Three young boys darted along the pier with their fishing rods and tackle box.  Oh, I nearly died watching them scramble on the huge boulders by the deep water.

I wondered if their mothers had any idea what they were doing! I realize that my own children did stuff just as scary that I know about, and I hope I never ever know about any other. We wandered around, people-watching, seeing a mother pushing a baby in a stroller and calling to her little boy to hurry up and stop dawdling around.  Two adorable young girls in matching pink jackets rushed along with family.  Up above the street, a young man was in a bucket crane installing new lights along the street.  We checked all of the restaurants and decided on one for our trade, possibly based on the number of bright yellow chrysanthemums lighting the patio and windowsills

There are so many more discoveries on this lake and millions more on the waterways of the world.

I hope my travel bank of potential experiences keeps a good balance for me and my dearest travel companion, Jim.

We may sound like Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda with our way of banter, but we have our version of “On Golden Pond” which we played on Lake Geneva, and hope to continue performing.

I kept saying we would go to Lake Geneva, and now we have.  There’s more to come.  Thanks ever so much for traveling with us.

Ya’ll come back!!

 

Arthur says, “A French Opportunity” is a great lakeside, beach-side and backyard read.  Order a copy quickly!!”  Arthur may be pot-headed, but he knows a good thing when he sees it.

2 thoughts on ““On Lake Geneva” – by Debbie Ambrous

    • Thank you, Lynn! We enjoyed it very much. I only wish that I had “shopped” during our first visit because the cute shops were closed when we returned on the second trip. All the best, Debbie

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