I took a flight to Geneva and then with the most wonderful company (Julija, Eneli and Juhani (later on we started calling him just You Honey)) we drove to Lausanne. Place that all Evian lovers should recognize ;) Lausanne faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura Mountains to its north-west.
We stayed in the Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa that occupies an elegant Art Nouveau-style building dating from 1909 in the centre of Lausanne.
After much laugh at a dinner and inspiring brief about our trip and Lexus UX Hybrid car, we were heading to our beds, because next morning we had to wake up at 4:30 am. As you already noticed - the trip was called "Sunrise to Sunrise". I am not an early bird but schedule ahead was so exciting that I could not wait what the next day will bring us.
Lexus team knows that hungry people shouldn't drive therefore at 5.00 AM the big buss was waiting outside to take us to Chexbres - village with a breath-taking sunrise view, for delicious morning gourmet pleasures.
Chexbres is a wine-growing village and enjoys a good selection of local vintages. It also enjoys notable views of Lac Léman, and therefore is nicknamed «Balcon du Lac Léman» in French. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces is located in Chexbres.
Restaurant Le Deck is a calm place to experience a magnificent sunrise over the Lac Léman. As if the sun was only rising for us. A new experience, a new horizon, and after tasty breakfast we all were ready to test Lexus UX Hybrid!
Some facts about Lexus UX Hybrid:
The development of the Lexus UX was led by Chika Kako, who is the first woman to be appointed Chief Engineer of any vehicle in the Lexus model range
This is the fact that felt so inspiring!
The Lexus UX 250h is the First and Only Self-Charging Hybrid in its Class
Offers Class-Leading Fuel Economy
5 Interior Colours
Has the World’s First Aero-Stabilizing Blade Lights
Offers Wireless Smartphone Charging
Has the Same Front Grille Design as the LS 500
Lexus 24 hour "Sunrise to Sunrise" experience across Europe (Switzerland-France-Italy) in celebration of the all new Lexus UX. From the mountanious panoramas at Chamonix to the bustling Milan, from the sunrise over lake Leman to the ancient site of Candelo in Italy and romantic Stresa.
At Mont Blanc we took a cable car to climb to 3,842m, the highest attraction in Europe with truly spectacular views that reminded me James Bond movie.
At the top we experienced 360° views, whilst ‘Stepping into the Void’ (created in December 2013). The view is 1,035 m straight down, and one can see Mont Blanc to the south.
Creating the cable car in 1955 and holding the title of the world’s highest cable car for about two decades is pure technology innovation. Still today it holds the record as the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, from 1,035 to 3,842 m. The idea for a cable car to the summit, the Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi, was originally pro-posed around 1909, but did not come into operation until 1955. There are two sections: from Chamonix to Plan de l’Aiguille at 2,317 m and then directly, without any support pillar, to the up- per station at 3,777 m. The span of the second section is 2,867m measured directly, but only 2,500 m measured horizontally. Thus it remains the second longest span width, measured directly. The cable car travels from Chamonix to the top of the Aiguille du Midi – an altitude gain of over 2,800 m in 20 minutes. The name «Aiguille du Midi» translates as Needle of the Mid-day, and it has been suggested this may be because the sun appears over its summit around noon when seen from one of the town’s churches.
After inspiring views at Chamonix through Aosta Valley we were heading to our lunch place Ristorante Il Torchio 1763.
In the Middle Ages, the Aosta Valley was a compulsory pas-sage towards Alpine passes. Toll collections were an important source of power and income. Since the Aosta Valley wasn’t directly controlled by any authority, it was easy to take the land and appoint yourself as its lord. Castles, towers and fortified houses arose on unaccessible elevations to dominate vast stretches of land from above. Until around 10000 years ago the entire valley was occupied by the Balteo Glacier, a huge mass of ice, 5 kilometres wide and 600 meters deep. Over the years of its slow moving advance and retreat, the glacier has re-modelled the valley into its characteristic «U» shape with steep slopes and flat valley floor. Fort Bard on the right, is a fortified complex built in the 19th century by the House of Savoy on a rocky prominence above Bard. It has been used for millennia to control the historic route between Italy and France. On the route you may wonder why so many forts and castles are along the valley.
This restaurant can be easily considered one of the most interesting in the entire area. The name comes from the huge wine press machine located inside its premises. The machinery exudes tradition and brings to mind distant times, when (probably in 1700) The whole village used it to press grapes to make liters of precious wine. A perfect place to dine surrounded by medieval walls that hold up centuries of history on their stones.
The charm of the environment is such that it has hosted numerous film and television sets, among which we can mention I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed - Novel by Alessandro Manzoni, possibly the most famous and read novel in the Italian language), La Freccia Nera (The black arrow is a television drama of 1968, directed by the director Anton Giulio Majano and freely based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson) Michelangelo’s Life and the last Dracula by Dario Argento. Il Torchio 1763 is a place of heritage wanting to serve a qualitative experience to it’s customers.
We had an amazing gourmet experience at Ristorante Il Torchio 1763, but later on we "hybride'ed" to Laggo Maggiore and place called 'Stresa'. Before this name did not mean anything to me but after visiting this gorgeous town by the lake it truly left a strong mark in my heart. It is so romantic and picture perfect that one day I want to go back there and spend more time. I can advise everybody to visit it and to enjoy magical moments by boating around the islands of Laggo Maggiore and exploring impressive castle and villas of Borromeo family.
In the 16th century, the Borromeo family bought most of the land around Lago Maggiore. Today, they still own most of it. The aristocratic Borromeo family were merchants at San Miniato around 1300 and became bankers at Milan after 1370. Vitaliano de’ Vitaliani, who acquired the name of Borromeo from his uncle Giovanni, became count of Arona in 1445. His descendants played important roles in the politics of the Duchy of Milan and as cardinals in the Catholic Reformation. In 1916 the head of the family was granted the title Prince of Angera. The best-known members of the family were the cardinals and Archbishops of Milan; Carlo (1538–1584), who was canonized by Pope Paul V in 1610, and Federico (1564–1631), who founded the Ambrosian Library.
This trip was amazing and what a better place to end it – Milano - fashionable destination for fashionable and conscious minded Japanese car - Lexus UX Hybrid. I love the philosophy of the car and each detail that Chika Kako has added to this small but very mighty vehicle. Driving 140km/h was so smooth and unnoticeable that I hope there will be no “tickets” for me :))
We stayed overnight in ME Milan Il Duca - with a rooftop terrace overlooking Milan's skyline. ME Milan Il Duca is a contemporary-style hotel with stylish interiors and 24-hour ambient music.
And we ended our amazing gourmet trip at Ristorante Tokuyoshi. The Contaminated Italian Cuisine is the very identity of Ristorante Tokuyoshi and is based on the encounter between the Italian and the Japanese culture that compliment and inspire each other rather than one overshadowing the other, and thereby giving life to a strong and creative identity. The Gyotaku reflects the meeting between two cultures: ingredients and flavors of the Italian tradition expressed through Japanese techniques and aesthetics. The chef portrays the ancient art of Japanese fishermen who, in special occasions, dyed the fish with ink and printed its shape on a piece of paper, creating works of art.
Video By: Juhani Sarglep
Photo Credits: Lexus, Personal Archive, Booking.com, Ristorante Tokuyoshi
Sunrise to Sunrise