May 11, 2008
|Day 14 – Montreux
We woke up about 7:30 am, feeling somewhat refreshed after a good night’s sleep. It looks like another beautiful sunny day, and we are thankful that we’ve had such good weather so far.
We went up to the dining room for our continental buffet breakfast of cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, breads and jams. It was very good, and I am starting to feel more relaxed, now we have time to do things at a slower pace.
After breakfast, we decided to walk to the Chateau de Chillon, a medieval fortress perched on a rocky outcrop on Lac Leman. It only took us about 15 minutes, and the walk along the lake was lovely. It is such a majestic looking building, with turrets and moat – just what you’d imagine it’d look like.
There weren’t too many other people there at this point in the day, just a few tour groups. We opted not to use the audio guide, and instead use just the information pamphlet with guide to the rooms. We wandered through, up staircases to the battlements overlooking the moat and lake, and through the rooms, some of which had original furnishings. The Chateau had been excavated and restored around the turn of the 20th century, and they’ve done a good job of preserving what it would’ve looked like. Each room led through a narrow passageway to the next, and good thing we had a printed guide with a layout of the rooms, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to tell where we were.
The most interesting bits for me were the dining hall and the displays about medieval banquets – customs, food and furnishings. Also, just to be able to wander all of the nooks and crannies and wood walkways overlooking the pretty courtyards was interesting.
After we had finished seeing the Chateau, we decided to walk along the lakefront promenade to the centre of Montreux to see if we could find a place for lunch. There were a lot of people out enjoying the sunny day, both walking and cycling. Lots of dogs, too, but well-behaved and on leashes. The promenade is lined with trees and lovely flower gardens, and we could smell their scent heavy in the still, warm air. There were a few sailboats on the lake. It was clouding over, however, and we were thinking to head back in a short while.
We took a path leading up to the streets, and eventually found an outdoor café, where we ordered hot panini sandwiches, which were good. We walked a little further on, and discovered a pastry shop that had the most yummy looking pastries and chocolates in the display cases, so we took some to go, and caught a bus back to our hotel. We spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing with the window open, smelling the flowers on the vines outside our window, and listening to the rain fall. It was very peaceful.
Later, we went to the dining room for dinner. We had salmon tartar, cream of carrot soup, beef in gravy with rice pilaf and green salad for our main, then a kind of caramel custard for dessert. Again, it was a very good meal, and we were rested enough to be able to appreciate it. However, we heard some of the other guests (English-speaking) saying that they didn’t like the menu, and could they have another meal prepared. The waitresses, who are all politeness and efficiency, replied that they are not a restaurant, but a hotel with a fixed menu. I think they accommodated them anyway.
After supper, we walked down to the bus stop, to see what time we’d need to get going in the morning. It had stopped raining, and it was clearing up a bit. Everything smelled so fresh, and the blackbirds were singing in the hills behind us. At the bus stop, we found out that, since the next day was a holiday, the buses ran only every 20 minutes instead of every 10.
It was so nice, that we went back down to the lakeside promenade and walked for a while, enjoying the gardens and fine homes along the Swiss Riviera. We walked back up in the direction of the hotel, and found a cemetery, which was terraced and very tidily kept. The sun was a blazing orange ball setting over the mountains across the lake, and we felt so at peace there.
When we got back to the hotel, we read and watched TV for a bit, then went to bed at a decent hour.