October 11 – We spend a cloudy, rainy morning on the train from Milan to Montreux. The clouds obscure what would have been spectacular mountain views as the train enters Switzerland and turns to the north west before hugging Lake Geneva. We’ve been fortunate with weather so far – almost perfectly sunny, not a drop of rain has touched our skin and the daytime temperatures have been in the low 20s. As the train pulls into Montreux, the rain has stopped.
Walking through this town feels comfortable. It’s a quaint, quintessential French town. Being able to easily understand the language feels reassuring after the first half of the trip battling through our limited understanding of German and Italian. We keep our streak alive of being able to check into our hotel early (traveling in October has its perks). The Hotel Splendid is an older property that hangs over Grand Rue. The view from our room over Lake Geneva is spectacular (more on that later). After a quick spot of lunch, we leave by bus for the Chateau de Chillon.
The castle dates back to 1150 and was developed in a number of stages. We take an audio-guided tour which tells the story of the castle (construction, battles/occupation, trade, prisons). It’s a fascinating afternoon wandering through the halls of the castle and learning about life in this area over 7 centuries. Here are some photos of the castle and views from its many towers:
Leaving the castle, we head back into town. As it’s Canadian Thanksgiving and we have a room with a view and a deck, we decide to pick up a few items from a grocery store on the lake. On the way to the store, we walk past this statue of Freddy Mercury:
A view from the lake front boardwalk:
Thanksgiving supper, so we pick up a roast chicken, some potato salad, some cheese, a baguette, and of course some wine (a local one from Sion):
The hotel succeeds because of it’s spectacular location. Inside the room, it’s a bit grimy in places. In particular, the two drinking glasses are really dirty – luckily wine comes in its own drinking vessel:
As the sun begins to set over Lake Geneva, it lights up the town perched on the hill:
Too bad the crane is there, but here’s a view of snow-capped mountains as we look east from our patio:
This is how we spend Thanksgiving evening – watching the sun set behind the mountains and into Lake Geneva on the horizon:
Not a traditional Thanksgiving, but appropriate nonetheless. Although we only had the one day/night in Montreux, the evening spent passing a wine bottle back and forth in the shadows of mountains with a spectacular view of a sun set was special. We both were smiling from ear to ear thankful to be in such a beautiful place.