The Tour des Alps: Munich to Geneva - Page 3
|As Clear as an Azure Sky of Deepest Summer: Lake Geneva from Montreux (PhotoDisc)|
Day 7: Appenzell to Interlaken (118 Miles)
Drive for about three hours southwest to Interlaken, one of the oldest mountain resorts in the country. On the way, stop for a picnic and an afternoon of sailing on Walensee, a dramatically beautiful alpine lake clad with steep, snowy peaks. Further south, Interlaken is a busy center of holiday-making, with the unmistakable countenances of the Eiger and Jungfrau mountains overlooking the lake's dark-blue water. Stiff legs? There's no shortage of solutions. Hike below the Eiger's dramatic walls, raft the Class IV Lutschine River, or canyoneer through the waterfalls of Saxeten Canyon. For a taste of the more peaceful country life, head about ten miles south to any number of microscopic Alpine towns, such as Gimmelwald. Numerous hikes start right from town, but don't be surprised if you have some bell-ringing bovine company along the way.
Day 8: Interlaken to Estavayer-le-Lac (71 Miles)
From Interlaken, drive about 70 miles west to the medieval Estavayer-le-Lac on Lake Neuchatel. Find the Place de Moudon, a medieval marketplace square where you can see unobstructed views of the lake, then wander through the courtyards of the town's Chateau de Chenaux. After viewing the Maison de la Dime, home to a colorful and worthwhile museum of local history, look for the abundant bird life in the serene Grande Caricaie nature reserve (+126.96.36.1995.18.88; www.grande-caricaie.ch) outside of town. Lake beaches perfect for sunning or fishing are never more than a hop away.
Days 9 and 10: Estavayer-le-Lac to Geneva (67 Miles)
Hug the shores of the lake as you steer southwest to Lake Geneva on Switzerland's western border. Centrally located, the strikingly international city of Geneva is a capital of European business and the home of the European United Nations. Yet it's also scenic and culturally sophisticated for the casual visitor. Walk the lakefront quays to see the Jet d'Eau, which shoots 132 gallons of water 460 feet into the air, and the Jardin Anglais with its clock made of flowers, a testament to Geneva's watch industry. Beyond the international monuments like the United Nations building, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum (17, Avenue de la Paix; +41.22.748.95.25; www.micr.ch), and the Hotel de Ville, where leaders met in 1864 for the Geneva Convention, sniff around for more intimate signs of daily life: ramble through the old town to see charming courtyards and squares, medieval lanes, and the Cathedrale de St-Pierre.