Monday, May 28, 2018

Exploring the Swiss Plateau

Today, I made a circuit across the Swiss Plateau using the country's fine train network; smooth and efficient, the trains provide an excellent means to explore the landscape.  The Plateau region, nestled between the Alps and the Jura mountains, is characterized primarily by rolling farmlands (dairy cattle and sheep predominate), dotted with lakes and scenic towns.

As a birder, I was pleased to see a large number of black kites and red kites on my journey, joined by a half dozen white storks.  Though I passed through Lausanne and Bern, my primary stop was at Neuchatel, at the base of the Jura Mountains and on the north shore of Lac de Neuchatel.  A visit to the splendid lakeside park turned up several more European birds (red-crested pochards, chaffinches and black redstarts, to name a few) and offered a spectacular view of the Alps to the south.

On my final leg of the journey, I found that vineyards are abundant along the base of the Jura Mountains, certainly a reflection of the regional climate and the limestone geology.  I'll do my best to support their products during my stay in Switzerland!