home thoughts from abroad

Home thoughts from abroad is a new series on Travel Words featuring a single photograph that reminds me of a country visited and showing something that uniquely identifies it as being ‘abroad’.

Our few days in Montreux were very busy. On our first day we caught a bus* to Vevey Funi and took the funicular railway up the mountainside to Mont Pèlerin (no views sadly because of the fog lingering over the water) then walked back along the promenade (Quai Ernest-Ansermet) into Vevey town centre for a look around. From Vevey-Marché (lac) we caught a ferry boat to the Castle of Chillon which is at the far side of Montreux, with the intention of visiting the castle in the afternon before walking back via Quai des Fleurs and Quai Alfred Chatelanat to our hotel (2 miles). A full self-guiding tour takes approximately 1.5 – 2 hours, depending on how fast you walk and how much reading you do. Castle of Chillon is the result of several centuries of constant building, adaptations, renovations and restorations with excavations affirming this site has been occupied since the Bronze Age.

*free transport passes are provided to visitors by your hotel in many parts of Switzerland on local buses, trams and trains.

Postcard from Montreux

September 2009 – “Lakeside Promenade Fleuri”

I am sitting here on a bench overlooking Lake Geneva in the lakeside town of Montreux. Whenever I hear that name it makes me smile and remember a band from my youth, Deep Purple, and their song “Smoke on the Water”.

We all came out to Montreux
On the Lake Geneva shoreline
To make records with a mobile
We didn’t have much time…

The lead singer Ian Gillan was one of only two posters on my bedroom wall when I was a teenager. The other was Robert Plant. It was a very small bedroom.

It is mid-afternoon and the sun is shining on me, though the other side of the lake is shrouded in mist and I can only see vague outlines of the stunning mountains that I know are there. I am on my own at the moment as my husband is still at a conference in Geneva where we have been for the past week. I had decided that after the conference in Geneva we should extend our stay in Switzerland to celebrate my birthday and wedding anniversary in Montreux in a romantic old hotel on the lakeside.

The Hotel Eden Palace au Lac – an old lady right on the lakeside. Cheaper than some of the more modern hotels and a little faded gem. There are no buildings in front of us so our room overlooks the lake. The views will be impressive if the fog lifts. I hope it does before we leave on Tuesday.  It is a tiny bedroom with a disproportionately large chandelier, but it does have a petite balcony with a table and two chairs so we can sit outside and the bathroom has definitely seen better days and is quite a squeeze, but the room is clean which is my main concern. (Our room is behind the letter L in Palace)

After checking in this afternoon I came down to the promenade that runs for 10km along the shore of Lake Geneva, from Vevey to the Château de Chillon. This path is lined with palm trees and exotic flowers, while the magnificent views extend across the lake to the Alps and into Savoy. Have I mentioned the fog? I can’t really see much of the mountains, but I can sense their presence all around me. Continue reading Postcard from Montreux