“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.”
Until the time I moved to Switzerland, I didn’t realize just how much there is to explore in the land of Fondue.
Speaking of Fondue, my dear friend Hemanth (who by the way could have his own travel blog – 15 countries in one year and what not) was visiting from Germany, and it was apparent that I had to take him to try Fondue. But I also wanted him to experience Bluche and one city neither of us had been to. Which brings me to my next destination: Montreux.
The one thing I admire about Switzerland is its infrastructure and connectivity. As opposed to how inaccessible everything usually seems from Bluche, getting from one town to another or one mountain to another is rather easy – thanks to the trains (let’s not forget: expensive)
Luckily enough, we found Super Saver Tickets, that I have mentioned in my earlier blog – To the Chaplin. A ticket that would normally cost around 25- 30 euros was about 5 Euros with the Super Saver Option on SBB.
Once again, how you can go about buying the Super Saver Ticket and optimize on travel plans in Switzerland:
As always, Patrick was the man behind the itinerary! The three of us set out early in the morning, with our usual drill of taking the funicular down to Sierre and then catching the train to Montreux.
Located on the Lake Geneva shoreline, Montreux instantly captures your heart. Understanding the significance behind the question “How does the weather seem today?”, I came to realize what a difference a sunny day in Europe can make! With the gracious weather that had been offered by the weather God’s, the vibrancy and colors of Montreux really stood out. We were so captivated by the beauty that we started walking along the shoreline with no particular agenda in mind.
There was so much to just stop, look at and admire. It wasn’t one particular thing that was extraordinary, but the way everything came together to become one marvel.
Note: All images featured in this blog have been captured by the extremely talented Hemanth Mandapati.
As we walked past different streets we realized we needed to check off the one big thing on our list: The Chillon Castle. Situated between Montreux and Villeneuve, the Castle is one of the first things you notice not just when you walk through the boulevards of Montreux, but also when you are on the train. This historical structure in the canton of Vaud is one of the most visited monuments in Switzerland.
What we didn’t realize was how long it was going to take us to walk there and how unprepared we were in terms of finding a cafe with decent food that would help us last through the walk. This is where I would like to point out that it always helps to carry some sandwiches and snacks in your bag!
At one point we were so hungry that we decided if not anything, we can grab some coffee and croissants and be on our way! We found the perfect little cafe with stunning views of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
3 expensive croissants and coffees later, off we went! And as you would expect this little town nestled on the shoreline with the most picturesque views just kept getting more beautiful. There were so many distractions that delayed us from reaching the Castle. I will just let the pictures do the talking now…
You see what I mean? And thanks to Hemanth, he does justice to the beauty of the place with his photography skills.
Because we had walked in a different direction from the station to hunt for food, it took us a little longer than expected to get to the Castle.
Don’t make any conclusions about the Castle until you enter. Because only once you do, do you get to experience this:
There is an entrance fee between 10 – 15 Euros (Use your student discount wherever applicable!) Whether or not history interests you, this place is highly recommended.
The first written record of the Castle dates back to 1005. How these structures still stand with all their glory, is beyond me. Its most famous prisoner was probably François de Bonivard, a Genevois monk, prior of St. Victor in Geneva and politician who was imprisoned there from 1530 to 1536 for defending his homeland from the dukes of Savoy.
And if you are a Disney fan, you can instantly relate it to the Castle in Little Mermaid.
You can read more about the Chillon Castle here.
Once we were able to take in all that the Castle had to offer and taking a breather from the overwhelm of it all, we had to head to an authentic Swiss place that Patrick had picked out for us. Cutting straight to it, we went to Caveau Des Vignerons, ordered the truffle fondue and beer and to our delight, Hemanth quite enjoyed it! (Since his verdict was all that mattered!)
Post lunch, we decided to stroll through the town once more to just enjoy it. We just sat by Lake Geneva, talked and just chilled (as simple as that!)
Since we were short on time, we couldn’t explore beyond this. However, if you have the time, I would recommend staying over night and experiencing the town a little more.
Montreux also hosts the world’s second largest Jazz Festival which is just around the corner, starting on June 29th!
Something I would have definitely loved to do would be to rent a bike and explore the place! So if you get the chance to, please do it! (This applies to a lot of places in Europe!)
Stay Tuned for the next one (I promise it will be sooner than this one!)