On Journey

It was hot. Unusually so for Switzerland in late September. The lake was covered in  a hazy fog as the boat (Henri Dunant) left Geneva at 09:15 and sailed from one quay to another along the Swiss shore before zigzagging across the lake to the French side.

After coffee and a croissant in the restaurant I took myself up onto the deck so I could absorb the scenery. As we approached each town, buildings appeared and disappeared through the mist: church towers and romantic turrets, quays adorned with flowers and queues of people patiently waiting in the soft sunshine, shuttered windows and petite balconies overlooked the lake.

Sleepy boats tied to wooden jettys belonging to millionaire’s houses on the shoreline. Autumnal tints in the trees. A white swan at Coppet. Straight lines of vineyards on the hillside.

The sun broke through as we left Nyon. A yacht lazily passed by, not much wind in its sails. As we approached Nernier on the French shore, the mist revealed a quiet harbour. Covered boats, closed parasols, empty chairs on the terrace of the café, odd pollarded trees.

Departing we got our first glimpse of Yvoire. My destination. The marina and the chateau and the shiny silver-topped church steeple.

I had read about this medieval town famous for its flowers and ‘Le Jardin des Cinq Sens’ (The Garden of Five Senses) and knew that during my brief visit to Geneva I had to try to get there. As the boat left the dock I was eager to depart and start photographing the floral town.

It is rare that I choose to travel by water. I am not a good sailor, but a lake is generally calm and it is not usually a problem plus on this occasion I was drawn a place that I couldn’t easily reach any other way. On the journey back to Geneva I managed to catch one of the jewels in the Belle Epoque fleet – the Savoie – an elegant paddle steamboat which deserves its own post.

~wander.essence~  On Journey

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

27 thoughts on “On Journey”

  1. You really capture the mystique of coming upon this place by boat, Jude. I love how buildings appeared and disappeared through the mist. Sleepy boats and lazy yachts capture the heat lingering in late September. What a lovely journey. 🙂

    1. Thanks Cathy. You have prompted me to write about places that have escaped the blog up to now. Having a different perspective i.e. the journey / photo essay / call to place / prose / poetry has awoken my travel juices!

      1. I’m so glad to inspire myself and you and anyone else to come up with creative ways to write about our travels. I hope it becomes more natural, at least for me, as time goes by. Sometimes it’s hard to approach it in a different way, but I hope to try out more ways in the future.

        I enjoyed coming along on this journey of yours, Jude. You know my next journey post won’t be until August 15; I’ve already linked this to that. 🙂

        1. Yes that’s fine. I know you only do one journey a month. I won’t be participating in the fictional writing, but I do have another poem and prose and some photo essays for you. I have been reading the travel journal for ideas 🙂

        2. I wouldn’t have enough journeys to write if I wrote more than one a month! 🙂 It may be that while I’m on the Camino, I may just ask people to link directly to the post if they want to participate. I can read them, and probably comment, but I won’t be able to easily attend to my blog by adding links, etc.

          I’m getting nervous and psyched all at once. I just hope I can make it. 🙂

        3. I am sure you will be fine, but even if you only do some of the trail you will have achieved something many people won’t (including me), don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and remember to enjoy the experience 🙂

        4. I certainly do plan to enjoy the experience, Jude, and most of all, to be flexible. If I have to send my pack ahead some days, take a bus to the next city, take a rest day, cut back mileage and skip ahead to Sarria and then do the last 100km – all are options I’ll allow myself if necessary. If I simply can’t finish, I’ll allow myself the option to come back another time and complete it. Of course, I’d like to complete the entire thing on foot, and to enjoy it all along the way. Physical limitations, I think, will be my biggest challenge, especially my knees and the pure misery of carrying a pack. So far I’ve only walked a max of 6 miles carrying 11 lb. Still need to increase to 10-12 miles with 15 lb. That part is not fun. If it were just the walking, sans pack, I think I’d be fine. 🙂

        5. My days of carrying a rucksack are long gone. No need to tell you to pack lightly. Clothes that can be washed out and dried overnight. Minimal toiletries. Sending luggage ahead seems a good option if you can do that. And I hope the knees behave. I hate the fact that getting older means becoming less mobile. I need all my joints replacing!! I am looking forward to your journey and I am sure your positive thinking will help you to succeed. xx

        6. Yes, I do know all of that. I will be as minimalist as possible, but still have to have the right gear for wet or cold weather. Mike will bring my luggage for our Portugal part. I might need a total knee replacement right after I do this rather than 4-5 years as the doctor said. You know I already have a partial replacement in my right knee, the one that’s giving me problems – not in the replacement area, but in the area on the outside. I hate becoming less mobile. I really don’t like it at all! Thanks for the good wishes. 🙂

        7. If the weather continues like it is now in Europe, you will be too hot! Hard to tell what it will be like come September. I recall you mentioning the knee replacement. That’s a bummer. Pain is difficult to deal with, I hope you can manage. From Jill’s blog I seem to remember some quite tough sections.

        8. It’s to be expected to have challenges on the Camino; I just need to have the right frame of mind, which doesn’t always come easily for me! I’ll be taking a lot of ibuprofen!

  2. It’s a beautiful shoreline, with all the different types of buildings. I that when I went to Interlaken (I forget which time) I flew to Geneva then took a boat along the lake to catch the train somewhere else, just so I could see the lake sights. 🙂

    1. Yes, slow travel is good. I took another boat from Vevey to the Chateau Chillon. Can’t think why I didn’t do this when I lived in Geneva, except as an au pair I earned a pittance and I suspect the ferries were too expensive for me then.

  3. Lakes and rivers are the only waters I venture on by boat, as any swell generally makes me feel ill immediately. I have never been to Switzerland, but there is something ‘fairytale’ about the place that draws me to it.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

        1. I feel that sometimes I am not descriptive enough. I just write the way the words come out of my head. And the photos sort of dictate what I include. I am pleased you enjoy reading the posts, makes it even more worthwhile.

  4. I love boats and a trip like this one would score very high on my list! … and with so many beautiful things to see along the way!

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