In its very best moments , when the fog lifts from Lake Geneva, the city of Lausanne comes up as pretty neat place, clearly a feast for your eyes. Beautiful like the best picture you can imagine. Clean I guess, safe for sure, and overall not a bad place to live. You could argue of course that living here is all about adjusting to the short end of the stick. Shops close early – Restaurants take a day off when they feel like it – and I guess for a lack of a better description; the happenings are not raining down every day of the week.
However – all that is more of an initiated guess as I have never lived here. Thought about it from time to time during my career with the ITTF, but I guess that spending four to five days at the time was the perfect scenario. It gave you some downtime, important work- time and a breather of beauty strong enough to make you eager to return.
It was in Lausanne that the ITTF under the leadership of President Adham Sharara started to evolve – to grow – to drive forward. We positioned staff here and settled down close to the ever so important Olympic movement. Not exactly sure when we bought our castle at Chemin de la Roche nr 11 in Rennens, but I am probably not far off guessing some eleven years ago.
In the beginning we centralized resources, added people and made this place a meeting point for all our staff and officials. I have been here at least fifteen times over the years for meetings within my field of expertise – connecting with the Olympic Solidarity of simply meeting up with colleagues.
I have to admit that I always liked to come to our house – our castle. It didn’t take long before we also had a museum set up on the ground floor – a process that also brought in the caretaker and museum curator Chuck Hoey to the mix of people staying in Lausanne.
The building itself is beautiful – bought relatively cheap – renovated from the ground up and it is really something. It has sleeping arrangements for at least four to five people and plenty of office and meeting space – and listen to this ; we also have our own park on the premises.
Like Raul Calin said one time ; Lausanne is the perfect place for work. Like he cared for nothing for else, Raul could slice the nights away – break them down and chew them up like no other colleague of mine.
No disturbances of note meant that you quietly and easily just paced yourself through the night until the sun came up. Late night or for lunch the Restaurant Florissant, just a stone throw away, always treated you well. The world class pizzas and the excellent fast pace service never made you consider other options really.
But all this , the memories , suddenly appears like they are from the past. When I visited Lausanne last week for some meetings it was almost deserted land. Strange feeling. Things have changed. Gone is my senior Jordi Serra – off to new adventures and left is only two regular staff to work for the ITTF. Chuck was still there – but his museum not. Instead we had contractors on the ground floor in preparation for a new tenant to move in.
All Chucks stuff – a lifetime of work and passion is now packed in boxes to be sent to a new location – Shanghai they say. I thought “if we ever had an ITTF soul “ it was clearly not there anymore. Gone with the wind most likely drifting far east – perhaps to Singapore?
Let’s hope though that “our soul” will find a home somewhere – a peaceful place to put down it roots and rest again. Maybe – just maybe this is more important than we may think.