Had everything packed so I could spend the day in Lausanne again – I caught the metro in with Anna who was on her way to work and got off near the Cathedral. Decided to go up the cathedral tower first before the day got too hot and saw a beautiful panoramic view of Lausanne. Went down again to Ouchy and walked along the water the opposite way from the Olympic museum and sat in the sun for a while. Then made my way back to the centre of Lausanne and joined a walking tour. It was a small group of about 5 and our guide was a retired town counsellor. It was extremely good, it lasted about 2 hours and he took us in and around all these great buildings: Palis de Rumine, Hotel de Ville (Town hall building), Chateau st-Maire, Cathedral of Notre-Dame, even into an underground car-park to show us where the river used to flow but has since dried up and been built over. He explained the history of the town well and I really enjoyed it. Caught the metro back and David picked me up in his porche and drove me to L’Abri. The drive took around 40 mins and was amazing to go in his porche again!! The trip was really picturesque – along the lake and then up through the mountains – we kept driving up and up and the view just kept getting better and better! Found L’Abri alright – it is on the edge of a tiny village called Huemoz (but pronounced ‘way mo’ ). The map here kind of shows you where abouts in Switzerland I have been – flew into Geneva (7 on the map), spent a few days in Lausanne (12) and L’Abri is just below (14) near Aigle and Villars.
Was getting a little nervous during the drive as I didn’t know 100% what to expect but knocked on the door and was greeted by Jasmine – one of the helpers who worked there and was just in time for dinner so went into the dining room and ate dinner with everyone else – there was about 15 students and 6 helpers. Everyone had arrived that day – was the first day of the term so there was lots of introducing and explaining where everyone was from/what they do/why they were here.
I’ll quickly explain what L’Abri is for those who don’t know – “L’Abri” means Shelter in French and its a Christian community where anyone can come for as little or as long as they like. It’s a study/work place – the day is broken up into two parts. For one half of the day you will be studying and the other half working. It is a really simple and relaxing lifestyle with people coming from any and everywhere and from all stages of life. They have lectures twice a week with guest speakers coming or workers from L’Abri giving them. They have ‘formal lunches’ three times a week where someone can ask a question or bring up a topic and we discuss it/throw ideas around. Each person is assigned a tutor – one of the workers who we meet up with weekly to discuss what we are studying – mine was Eileen who is from America and was really helpful – she pointed me in the direction of some good talks and books to read and was really lovely to talk things over with. L’Abri has a few swiss chalet’s – the main one was called Chalet Bellevue and that was where we spent most of our time – the downstairs level had the kitchen, dining and lounge rooms and a computer room and study – upstairs were the dorm rooms – I shared a twin room with Christiane from Germany. The 3rd and 4th level were for the workers and the ‘dungeon’ as we called it had the laundry, office and few unlucky bedrooms. But the views from the chalet were absolutely spectacular. It was on a hill so faced directly toward the most amazing view of the mountains and valley where you could see lots of little villages sprinkled on the mountains. My room faced this so every morning I was awoke to absolute beauty. My photos don’t pick up the detail of the mountain ranges and how far you could see. But trust me it is was amazing!!
They have another Chalet called Farrel House which was a library on the lower level and a chapel/room where we had lectures and Sunday service. It was down a hill about 2 mins walk – walking back took about 5 mins as it was up the steep hill!! Quite a workout! J Anyway – I’ll describe more of L’Abri in later posts but for now let me tell you it was a wonderful place and after the first night of meeting and talking to everyone I was super glad I was staying. After dinner a group of about 6 girls and me went for a little walk to explore. It started to rain so we turned back and got back just before it started pouring and there was lightning and thunder really close. We stood outside under the cover and watched the brilliant lightning show.