One of the most gorgeous, gorgeous places I have EVER been to in my entire life. Besides Interlaken, but I will write about that another time.
After leaving Geneva, I took a 30 minute train ride to Lausanne, my first ever trip on a European train. So of course, I didn’t know that I had to get my ticket validated. Luckily, my Air bnb host in Geneva helped me out – he was getting off at a stop before me, and wanted to make sure I went to the correct place (do you see a recurring theme here of people helping me out because I get lost so easily?!). Anyways, we literally sprinted to the ticket office, cut in front of people in line, got my train ticket stamped, and sprinted up 2 flights of stairs to make the train on time. I honestly thought I was in shape, but I guess having a huge backpack on your back makes you rethink your true fitness level. Below is a recap, with pictures, of my time in Lausanne:
Day 3: September 16, 2015 – Lausanne, Switzerland
7:30 am: train from Geneva to Lausanne
8 am: Arrive at Lausanne train station
Luckily, I found a great hostel located right next to the train station, and I saw it as soon as the train pulled into the city. At this point, I was starting to get more comfortable with directions and making my way around – I only got lost 2 other times the rest of the trip, and only for about 10 minutes. So you could say I learned a lot in my travels haha.
After getting off the train, I walked over to my hostel and hung out a little bit. I couldn’t check in until the afternoon, so I decided to hang out and plan my day. There were a few places I wanted to visit, and I found an awesome guide for bus transit through out the entire city. Which, I only ended up using once because the city wasn’t all that big – but I did walk a LOT. So I planned my day, hitting every single one of the spots I wanted to see, with a plan B if I ran over time.
First Stop: Botanical Gardens
This was not in my initial plans, but since I loved the botanical garden in Geneva so much, I decided to stop here. And I am SO glad I did… beautiful. Everything was amazing, and the view at the top… worth the walk! Pictures don’t even do justice. The view of the city, the houses, the mountains across lake Geneva… just stunning
I also found an awesome mural at the top of the gardens and decided to do a few handstands. This place was deserted, so I got to play around as much as I wanted! The whole city was so peaceful.
After my trek around the botanical gardens, I found a huge water fountain to do handstands around… not really sure what was so great about the fountains, but they were in a pretty cool park.
After the gardens, I made my way to the Ouchy fishing pier. I can’t believe this wasn’t even on my list to see – the view was amazing. Nothing but water and mountains for miles! I really wish I had a better camera – to see everything in person was unbelievable. As soon as I walked around the area, I decided I was coming back in the afternoon for a run, not matter how tired I might be!
After walking (and handstanding) around Ouchy, I hopped on a bus to Rue De Bourge, the city’s shopping center. I went here for 2 things: Chocolate and Yoga. While at the hostel earlier, I found yoga studio – Yogashala – to take a 12 pm class at. And while most would think taking a yoga class in another language would be confusing, it is also very, very beautiful. Well, in French it is.
I took a Vinyasa/Anusara class led by Tracy Chaplin – and it is by far my most favorite yoga class I have ever taken in my life. The French language is absolutely beautiful – and while I had no idea what was being said half the time, I loved the movements, the mix of meditation in the practice, and the feeling of peace I felt in the class. While practicing, I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude – the though of, “Omg, look at yourself. You are taking a yoga class, in Switzerland, in french. WHAT IS THIS LIFE.” And I started to tear up in class, full of gratitude and awed by the fact that I was able to create this experience in my life. And this is the point that I truly, truly, began to believe in myself. Which is why, if anyone ever asks me, I will always say, this was my favorite class – because it was a moment in time that changed how I view myself and the power I have to create what I want.
After the class, I walked around the city, exploring little shops and enjoyed getting lost in the windy, hilly, brick streets of Lausanne. My last stop was actually right next to where I took the yoga class, so I stopped in to Blondel Chocolates – a highly recommended chocolatier in Switzerland. And, I swear, this is hands down the best chocolate I have ever eaten in my life. Also, the most expensive. But, life changing. The tiny store has an entire wall lined with sheets and sheets of different chocolates, and a case full of handmade truffles. I’m not going to say how much I spent here, but I will say that it was worth it. Also, I wish that I had bought more! If anyone is in the area, this is the place to stop.
After shopping, I walked back to the hostel to check in and rest for a bit. After getting settled in, I went back out for a run, planning to stop at the Olympic Park/museum next to Ouchy. After walking for a solid 3+ hours that afternoon, my body was still up for a 4 mile run. Running down the hills – awesome. The 2 miles back up – not so awesome. The view = worth it. After making it to the Olympic park, I ran all the way to the top, and the view was worth it all. Amazing view of the lake + mountains! Overall, complete gratitude for a laundry list of things: one year ago, I was learning to walk/run again… and here I am, running 4+ miles up and down the hills of switzerland, exploring on my own, soaking up the beauty of the mountains, discovering things about myself, and feeling joy that I haven’t felt in a very long time. Completely Surreal.
Just a note – I didn’t actually go into the museum – museums really aren’t my thing. I am like a little kid – I’ll go in and look at everything, maybe touch a few things, then leave within 5 minutes. I’d rather just experience everything around me versus walk through a building.
After arriving back at my hostel, I showered, did some laundry, and chatted with a few people from the hostel. I was recommended to go to a local Italian restaurant nearby, Milan, so I took a walk around 9 pm and grabbed dinner by myself – the perfect end to a wonderful day. (Yes, those are fries on my plate. After eating nothing but chocolate all day, I decided to actually get some salty food in my body ;))
I wish I had more pictures that captured the beauty of Lausanne – it was truly a lovely city, and 1 day was the perfect amount of time to explore. If you are ever making your way through Switzerland, I highly recommend stopping at this gorgeous city!
1/2 cup butter (take out of fridge so it begins to come to room temperature)
3/4 cup coconut sugar (can use any type of sugar)
1.5 tbsp poppy seeds
1.5 tsp vanilla
white chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all dry ingredients together (minus the sugar) and set aside. Whip the butter, then add in the sugar. Add in the lemon juice, vanilla, and eggs, mixing until all are incorporated. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. If the batter seems a little thick there are 2 things you can do: 1), add a little bit more flour, and make cookies… or 2), add a little bit of milk (almond/coconut/etc) to the mix until the batter thins out for cupcakes!
If making cookies, place dough on greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until cooked through. Make sure to space these out a bit from each other, as the dough will spread a little bit!
If making cupcakes, pour into a lined cupcake pan. Top with white chocolate chips for some extra flavor. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until toothpick poked in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean.
While your baked goods are baking/cooling down, this is the time to make your icing!
White Chocolate Lemon Buttercream Icing
1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
Whip butter with a mixer, then add the vanilla. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Melt the chocolate chips, making sure to stir them consistently while heating. Add in the melted chocolate chips to the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Spread the icing on cooled cookies/cupcakes and enjoy!
Soooo sometimes I like to bake… And also, when I have a bunch of things in my cupboard that I forgot about. When I run into this conundrum, I like to throw all forgotten items together and see what happens. Insert: Baileys salted caramel liqueur, trader joe’s cocoa almond spread, caramel, and eggs that were going to expire soon. End result? A pan of ooey, gooey brownies, topped with chocolate caramel gelato and melted caramel sauce. Recipe is below!
Heat oven to 350 F. Mix all ingredients in 1 bowl, minus the caramel sauce and gelato. The consistency should be a little thicker than a normal brownie mix – If it looks a little runny, add in a little bit more flour. Grease a 9×9 glass pan with butter and pour the mixture in.
Bake for a total of 25-30 minutes. 5-10 minutes before the brownies are finished, take out and drizzle caramel sauce over top, then put back in oven for the remaining time. The caramel should be bubbling a little bit, and the brownies should a little gooey when they are taken out. Serve warm, topped with chocolate gelato, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and a pinch of salt. Enjoy!
If you are looking for a more “healthy” rice crispy treat, look no more. These treats have dried fruit in them… which, by my definition, makes them healthy 🙂 You can add any type of fruit – I made 1 batch and split into 2 – with dried strawberries & blueberries. These are perfect for spring… or just to make for a special treat!
Rice Crispy Treats with Dried Fruit Dipped in White Chocolate
6-8 Cups Rice Crispy Cereal
1/3 cup of chopped up dried strawberries (I used steves paleogoods & chopped up into tiny pieces)
1 bag of mini marshmallows (or tall jar of marshmallow fluff)
1/2 tsp salt
white chocolate chips
Melt butter in a large pot on low heat – about 3-4. When the butter is melted down into liquid, add in the marshmallows/marshmallow flluff. Stir until all marshmallows are melted down and add in vanilla & salt. Once all is mixed together, add in the cereal, about 2 cups at a time. Keep adding the cereal until you have a nice consistency – if it’s too runny, add a little extra cereal until the marshmallows have covered the rice crispies evenly.
Remove the mixture from the pot & split into 2 bowls. Add in the dried strawberries in one bowl and mix well. Add in the dried blueberries in the second bowl and mix well. Press each mixture into a separate 8×8 greased (i used butter to grease) glass pan. I wet my hands with water so that the mixture didn’t stick to my hands when molding the treats into the pan. Place in fridge for 30-60 minutes, or until the rice crispy treats have hardened up. Once ready, take out of fridge and cut into desired pieces – I cut into rectangles. Place on parchment paper.
For the white chocolate: put white chocolate chips in a double broiler until melted down. Dip rice crispy treats and cover with desired amount of chocolate. Place on parchment paper – top with sprinkles, if you are feeling adventurous ;).Let set until chocolate has hardened (or put in fridge to harden faster). Enjoy!
Bananas + Chocolate = the best. + Bacon = even better. I had some aging bananas that needed to be eaten, so I decided to make banana bread – one of my favorite things to eat! However, I don’t really like to eat anything made with nuts, almond flour or anything coconut. I am terrible at being Paleo, I know. I finally came up with the idea to make some Banana bread with a twist – chocolate & bacon. The ingredients kept coming to me, piece by piece, and I finally put the recipe together. However, upon eating this “bread”, I decided they were too moist and delicious to be called bread. So I changed the name to brownie, which most people like better anyways. Recipe is below!
2-3 eggs (I used 3, and my brownies turned out a little eggy… so 2 might be better to use)
4 Tbsp bacon fat (or you could use coconut oil, but bacon makes it taste 7892632 times better)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp almond butter (optional)
1/3 cup cacao powder
1 tsp baking soda
2-3 tbps tapioca/arrowroot flour
2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
pinch of salt
4-5 bacon strips, extra crispy
Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Cook your bacon strips on the stove top & gather the leftover bacon fat. Once the bacon is cooled down, put the strips in a plastic bag and smash to pieces. Set aside for later. Combine 3-4 tablespoons of the fat with the bananas, and mash up as much as you can. Grease a glass pan (I used a bread pan, you could use an 8×8 brownie pan) with the leftover bacon fat, making sure a little is left on the bottom of the pan (**This is necessary, because your brownies soak up the extra bacon fat. yum). Combine the rest of the wet ingredients with a mixer (or blender). There still might be some banana chunks left over, but that’s ok.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together and slooowwwly add to the wet ingredients. I say slowly, because your face will be engulfed in a cloud of cacao powder if you try to mix everything in at once. I know, from experience. Mix in half of the bacon bits into the bowl. **If you added chia seeds, let them soak up a little of the moisture before baking. Pour batter into pan (I used a bread pan and 2 mason jars, for eating chocolate bacon heaven on the run) and top with the remaining pieces of crushed up bacon.
Place in oven and bake for 25-35 minutes, being careful not to over cook. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes (psh, who does that??), topping with (optional) chocolate chips, maple syrup or honey. I honestly don’t know how many people this serves, but when creating the recipe, I put that it serves 8. Macros/Calories per serving are posted below. Enjoy!