Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lovin' le Lac

Port Bellerive
When I was growing up, a lake was a relatively small, intimate, tree-encircled body of water. You could easily see one end from the other, and walk around the entirety in a couple of hours max. My aunt and uncle had an A-frame cottage on Echo Lake near Greene, NY, and we were frequent guests. It had everything a kid needed: a fixed dock for jumping off, a floating dock (far enough out to seem a challenge to swim to), plenty of pebbles to hit into the lake with a plastic baseball bat, a fireplace for roasting marshmallows at night, and a two-seater outhouse. My grandmother had a cottage on Cranberry Lake, dubbed Mud Pond by the locals, over the border in northern Pennsylvania; between the shore and the water was a wide swath of brambles, which I always assumed were the cranberry bog.

Now I live near the southern shore of the largest lake in Europe, Lac Leman, aka Lake Geneva. It takes a couple hours to drive around; walking would require days. Yet it, too, has an intimacy which has grown on me steadily over several years. Certainly for "our part" of the lake with which we have become very familiar. Every day, indeed every hour, the lake has a different "mood," depending on the clouds, sunlight, wave-inducing winds, and the variations in the colours of the water.

Nearby there are two fixed docks, Port Bellerive and Port Bleu.
Port Bleu
Between them is some of the most expensive real estate in Switzerland. But the small ports are accessible to the public. As you can see from the photo of Port Bleu, Sherlock and I often have it to ourselves (plus maybe a couple of ducks and swans), especially in cold or even cool months. Now that we're into summer, there's a steady stream of waveboarders, swimmers and amateur sailors.
La Sirene
One place we miss going is the small park leading to a view of La Sirene, our own Little Mermaid. The park is interdit to Sherlock, though we ignore that when no one is around. But alas, since the virus crisis, the gate to the park has been locked.
When I look to the west from either of our ports, I can see if the Jet d'Eau is on; it usually spouts up around 9 in the morning. To the east, beyond our view, is Montreux, home of the famous jazz festival, where the Alps huddle close to the lake and the views are spectacular.
Lac Leman is so large, it is said it takes a drop of water 11 years to flow from one end to the other, then into the Rhone River.

I prefer the lake to the sea (we have another home in a village on the Med), in part because the lake is confined whereas the sea seems endless, there is only horizon and, somewhere beyond, Corsica and Africa. Lac Leman is flanked by guardian mountains, the gentle Jura opposite us and the awesome Alps behind us.
A 3D depth map of Lac Leman,
a gift from my wife

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