aka: Shannon's Shananigan's (Since there seems to be less & less knitting and more Shananigan-ing going on as of late and well, let's face it, she's just going to always be a techygeekgirl!!)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Lake Geneva Trip with Commentary

***Just a note: I posted a bunch of pictures from this trip yesterday, so scroll down to see them. I will add some more pictures as I go here too...

So some of you may know that I have been suffering a case of homesickness the last couple of weeks. It actually started before I left and continued into this week. It was bad and I did everything I could to combat it, but it was tough. Finally on Thursday this week, I was able to kick it - kick it hard and I've been good ever since!! I think planning this trip helped me get over it...

We met bright and early on Saturday morning at the train station to take the 6:01 train from Basel to Speiz. There were 7 of us in our group, which was a good size. The rest of the team went skiing, as it was the last weekend really of ski season. We bought 1st class tickets this time, so that we could access better seating later in the trip. 1st class was nice - plushier seats that reclined and not as many people. Not sure if it was worth the extra 27CHF in general, but it was nice.

In Speiz we boarded the Golden Pass train (special scenic route/line) on our way to Montreux. The first leg of the trip was Ok, but after changing trains again, the second leg proved to be breathtaking. We traveled through the Alps on the way to the lake and it was AMAZING to come over the top of the mountain and see the lake surrounded by the French Alps on the other side. Words cannot even begin to describe the scene:

Once in Montreux, we walked around a bit, to get a feel for where we were. Down from the boat launch and tourism center, we saw the Freddie Mercury memorial.

Apparently at some point in time he moved to Montreux and worked in Mountain Music Studios which is located there. While not a Queen fan, it was one of those "must sees", as we came that way and seeing all the "touristy" things is just fun.

From there, we walked about 1.5 miles along the lake to Le Chateau de Chillon (the castle). The walk was beautiful, as the weather was in the 60s and sunny. It was so incredible to walk along the lake with palm trees and look across and see the Alps!

There were a ton of sailboats along the shores and we imagined that the houses and apartments along there too were probably pretty pricey, but well worth it.

There were some great views as we came up on the castle and I took a ton of pictures. The view of the castle, lake and mountains in the background was spectacular and I just couldn't get over seeing it.

Since we opted for the walk, rather than the boat ride, we had about 45 minutes to spare waiting for part of our group. There was a courtyard outside the entrance with chairs along the lake, so we relaxed with an ice cream and sat for awhile. (I even got sunburned on my face!) We loved taking pictures with our feet up on the stone wall, next to a beer overlooking the lake and mountains.

The castle tour was great. It was self-guided, so we wandered all over looking at everything. Again, I took a ton of pictures, though my favorite were of the mountains through the windows -

there was just something about looking through those historical windows out over the lake to the mountains. The history of the site dates back to the 17th & 18th century BC, though the castle itself was built (or at least started) around 1005 AD. There is a lot of history with it, as it was mainly a prison. And there is fabulous artwork and interesting facets of the building which were really impressive. I am very happy that I opted to buy the 2GB card for my camera, as I took pictures of EVERYTHING! (now I need a new battery though, as it ran out first!)

After the tour of the castle, I purchased a "tacky" magnet and the little history book of the castle, along with a 2-pack of wine as souvenirs. One of the bottles will probably make it home, though the other will be enjoyed here. We took the bus back into Montreux, as most of us were tired of walking and "hung out" for the 5:15 boat to Lausanne.

The boat to Lausanne was really cool. We started out sitting outside upstairs (1st class ticket!), but once the sun went in, it got chilly fast and we ended up inside. I still took a bunch of pictures from outside though.

All along the lake are vineyards built into the sides of the mountain. (see picture 7 in the previous post) We were marveling at the ability to be able to plant them like that and how tough it must be to harvest!!

We landed in Lausanne and decided to eat dinner, as most of us were pretty hungry and tired. After dinner, we caught the tram to the train station and made the train home with time to spare. Luckily it was a 'fast' train, so after a switch in Bern, it took us a little over 2 hours to get home total. We had been gone for over 16 hours, but the day seem to fly by really.

I was really impressed with Lausanne and may have to go back soon. We really spent no time there, but from what I could see, it was beautiful.

It looks like I'm going to be here for most of May and most of June. The Eurocup 2008 is coming to Basel, so June will be crazy, but fun! More on that later...


At 6:31 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Your photos looked great.

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