! Once again, the train ride up afforded beautiful views, and the higher we got, the more evident the mountains became. We were heading into the Alpes Vaudois. When we arrived in Villars, it was really, really beautiful....with a much different vibe than Grindelwald. Quiet, slow-paced, and just more mellow. You could feel it. We walked down the street to our hotel (Ecureuil) and here we found Louis ready to check us in. He was friendly and welcoming beyond words - we were definitely in a family run place. Our room was huge, with a bedroom, kitchenette, dining area, and a lovely terrace in the sun, which is where we spent most of the time. Total down-home wood-paneled swiss chalet....no design awards here but still it was perfect. We had lunch on a sunny deck overlooking the valley (WOW!) and again, really good food. Walked around the town, explored and took photos, found the bike shop where we would rent mountain bikes, drank wine on our terrace....yeah it was good. We later ate dinner at the Ecureuil's restaurant and were served by two ladies who were as old as the hills. I'm not kidding; it was hilarious. They were really sweet. We were definitely the young ones in this place.
It was a little bittersweet leaving Bern this morning. I've grown to feel very comfortable in this city, but am looking forward to some quiet, slower-paced times for the next few days. The trip to Villars is quite a jaunt - train from Bern to Lausanne, change trains and go from Lausanne to Bex, then a tiny BVB cog train climbs a big hill from Bex to Villars, stopping at a few tiny villages on the way up. First of all, the area around Lake Geneva between Lausanne and Montreux is GORGEOUS!! Hillside vineyards above the lake are an amazing sight, though I only got to experience them from the train. So when we arrived in Bex I knew we were headed to a different kind of place. So quiet, not much going on, and much less manicured looking than all we had seen so far. Riding the little BVB train was hilarious - it was like being on the school bus. We happened to be on it just when school was getting out and all these little kids flooded the train cars, getting off at their respective stops along the climb. They are much cuter when you don't understand what they're saying