After leaving Leukerbad, we got another train. This time to Montreux which overlooks Lake Geneva. Our Swiss Travel Passes really have been a great investment. Apart from food, we’ve not had to pay for anything! As the train pulled into Montreux, we could see straight away that it was going to be a hot day. Now that we were down from the mountains and back around sea level, the sun was shining and was much more like the weather we’d had in Geneva. We made our way straight to our hotel – The Eurotel. It was too early to check in so we dumped our bags and went for a walk along the Riviera.
The lake was so blue and sparkly under the sun. It was also incredibly clear which we just didn’t expect from a lake like this. You could see giant mountains sitting on the opposite side of the lake and the pathway was lined with vibrant flowers.
Along the way, we came across lots of statues, but the most famous of them all was Freddie Mercury statue. The monument was created in honour of the Queen front-man as he used to record a lot of his songs in a recording studio in Montreux. He even had his own apartment in town and a lakeside chalet. Everyone was getting involved having their pictures taken with statue. There was even a guy playing Queen tunes on a piano he had on wheels!
We found ourselves a lovely shore side restaurant where we stopped to get something to eat. Barry had said on our way into Montreux that he wanted to sit in a café and have a coffee in a tiny coffee cup. Not sure why he wanted this, but we made it happen and I treated myself to a glass of Montreux wine.
The Rivera was littered with icecream parlours, so after our lunch we took a wander and found ourselves stopping at one. The choice of flavours was endless, but after much deliberating, we came to a decision. I opted for espresso and meringue and Barry went for Swiss chocolate and crème brulee.
Having seen some of what Montreux had to offer and tasted its delights; we headed back to the hotel to check in. We took a lift up to the twelfth floor and entered our room. BAM! We were hit with the most amazing views over the lake. We had windows all round our room, you could even pee with a view!
Not wanting to miss out on the views, we spent the night in our room watching the gorgeous golden sunset.
We woke the next morning, knowing it was our last full day in Switzerland. To say we were gutted about it, was an understatement. But we had to make the most of it, so we got up, had a breakfast of cheese and cold meats and started to walk down the Rivera again. This time we were going to be walking a lot further. About a 45 minute walk away was Montreux’s star attraction – the Chateau De Chillon. To get there we had to walk down the Chemin Fleuri (Flower Path). The walkway was lined with brightly coloured flowers, so although the walk was only supposed to take 45 minutes, it took us over an hour with all the stopping to take pictures.
The pathway followed Lake Geneva and as it snaked round, we were suddenly met with the stone mass that was Chateau De Chillon. Built in the 13th Century on a massive rock, it was a fortress that was a maze of courtyards, towers and giant halls with large open fireplaces.
When we went to pay, we discovered that our Swiss Travel Passes actually got us in for free – another bonus! Once we entered the castle, we found ourselves in the courtyard. Pretty little flower boxes lined the windows and the cobbled floor really made you feel like you had stepped back in time.
We were given a map and everything was numbered so you knew what order to see everything in. First stop was the cellar where the fortress produced and stored all it’s wine – which it still does today.
Then we continued on until we were in the dungeon where prisoners used to be held. Some were even thought to have been executed here in the 16th century. The prison has been made famous by the poet Byron who recounted the tale of Francois Bonivard who was held captive in the dungeon sometime between 1493 and 1570. Byron even scratched his name into the pillar where Bonivard was chained up.
There were many other rooms including a crypt, bedrooms, banquet halls and a kitchen, showcasing a very big menu!
We spent a good couple of hours touring the chateau and were now starting feel hungry. We took the 45-minute walk back down the flower path and finished our time in Switzerland by eating our way through a 3-course meal. Barry even pushed the boat out and tried a horse steak!
The journey from Leukerbad to Montreux: