Lake Geneva and train trip

Trip Start Apr 02, 2013
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Trip End Apr 28, 2013


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Flag of Switzerland  , Bern,
Saturday, April 20, 2013

The weather here has been crazy, almost 80 the day I arrived, rainy and cool  yesterday and snowing today!!  About a 50 degree drop in temperature in 3 days.  Overcast most if the day but no snow once we were up in the mountains. 

Today was a VERY full day, out by 8 am and back about 9 pm. It was an all day trip up into the Swiss alps, first to Lake Geneva. It looked very much about the size of Lake Como but not as many houses  around. I took lots of photos of snowy mountains and will hopefully download some.

First we stopped and toured a famous picturesque castle, Chateau de Chillon, built more than 800 years ago and right on the lake. Amazing. See  pictures. It was made famous by the English poet, Byron, who visited it in 1816 and was told the sad story of a nobleman who was supposedly unjustly imprisoned for 6 years in the basement dungeon. The poem he subsequently wrote about this legend "The  Prisoner of Chillon" became an ode to the subject of man against tyranny and injustice. The reality is really not that tragic as he was a nobleman who was kidnapped for ransom against unpaid debts and was never put in the cellar prison but wined and dined upstairs in royal style until his ransom was paid. 

A few interesting facts about Chillon:  it was made of the local green sandstone but in the distant past was painted totally white. This was a status symbol to all around as paint was extremely expensive and to paint an entire castle white was an extravagent show of great wealth.. 

The man who originally built it, the Count of Savoy, owned over 30 castles throughout the area and only spent about 2 weeks a year there before moving on to another castle (rough life!!). When he moved each time, he took EVERYTHING in the castle with him, furniture, carpets, tapestries, etc. He left it a total shell.  Note to Bob:  And you say I always pack too much!

When they had banquets there, there were usually about 600 guests who ate and drank for 7 days and nights in a large reception hall, only leaving to go to the WC as they say. When sleepy, they just lay down on the floor. See pictures and click on them for more  info. 

After that, we drove to a local town right on the lake, Montreux, called part of the Swiss riviera. Sort of like Bellagio in Italy to the Belloli family. Bob - I had "rosti" for lunch - remember sort of a grated crispy potato pancake - delicious. See pictures. 

After that, we took a scenic train from Montreux to Gstaad, a famous ski resort. This was about a 2 hour trip on a beautiful train with high dome clear windows. It was called the GoldenPass Panoramic Train. Some snow in places but beautiful. We had about one hour to walk around - not much going on - many stores closed - in between ski and summer season. We were very lucky because apparently the town was finishing a local festival so we were treated to a sight of two different groups of cows with flower head dresses and bells being lead through the town by people in local costumes.  Click on the two movies which hopefully download. 


We then got back on the bus and drove to Interlaken (which means between two lakes) high in the Alps and had dinner at a very "different" restaurant, locally owned but a very enthusiastic owner who put on a  very energetic show blowing an alpenhorn (I tried this too - see picture) and had a dinner of bratwurst, sauerkraut and again rosti (roast grated potatoes). 



Tomorrow, an earlier day, wakeup call at 615, breakfast at 715 and out by 8. Going to Lucerne. 

I really appreciate all of your comments and emails.Note to Lisa:: no, i did not do the segway here, it would have been very difficult because of the cobbleststones.. In Amsterdam,  Segway has just arrived and is very expensive - about $150 for one hour. Reminder - I still have a Segway coupon for some beach city for when you next visit. 

Joyce, where are going in Utah. Please respond. 

Love to all and PLEASE respond as I really love to hear from you "homies" when I travel  alone. As a matter of fact, just MAYBE I will delete you from my email list if you do not respond. 


Love to all

Swiss Shirley
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Comments

Lisa on

After Segway experience on Catalina island on trails you would think a few cobblestones would be easy! And yes we will have to do a beach tour this summer. I will be in San Diego a good amount of time this summer with Tony but he has to work, so I am hoping we'll be able to get in some play time when you aren't gallavanting about to foreign lands. So one last question (besides where are the photos for this days adventure) - did you buy an aplenhorn to go with your Australian didgeridoo?

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