Switzerland! We arrived at the Neuchâtel train station on a Sunday afternoon where our sweet hostess Mary Anne awaited us. The landscape changed drastically since leaving Austria, trading in the rugged peaks for rolling green hills and lakes. Neuchâtel is a canton of French-speaking Switzerland. (From what I understand, a Canton, pronounced can-tone, is similar to our states or counties.) It’s known for its wine among other things, and we spotted vineyards scattered across the countryside.
Spring was just starting to bloom in Old Town. Mary Anne showed us around the area near Lake Neuchâtel, and up a steep hillside to the town’s landmark, the Castle and Collegiate Church, both built in the Gothic style in the Middle Ages, perched high above the town overlooking the lake.
Neuchâtel is unique in that it was passed back and forth between Switzerland and Prussia rule between the 18th and 19th centuries. The Prussian influence can still be seen in much of the architecture in Old Town.
More narrow streets and old shop signs. I love it! (Again, why don’t I live in Europe?)
This may not look like much of a hill, but trust me . . . it was!
The French preacher Guillaume (William) Farel, depicted in this statue in the church courtyard, brought the teachings of the Protestant Reformation to this area in 1530.
I. Love. Antique. Doors.
The interior is as beautiful as the exterior. Mary Anne and her husband Sylvain were actually married in this church.
The view from the top of the mountain near the church.
View from the opposite side overlooking the lake.
Another set of doors. These led into the courtyard of the castle.
Mary Anne’s home was a 30-minute drive away in the village of Môtiers, located in the valley of Travers, pictured below.
Here we are atop a mountainside with the Swiss valley on one side and, if we were to keep driving over the mountain, the French border on the other.
Our final stop before going home was at Mary Anne’s French-speaking church. We met her pastor and his wife who live below the church, and from them I experienced my first French greeting. (heehee)
Mary Anne fed us tired, hungry travelers a yummy, local dish (some sort of cabbage and bacon stew over pasta) and made plans for a big adventure the following day–a journey to the Bernise Alps!
Au revoir à demain! (Until tomorrow!)