Monday, July 27, 2015

Lake Geneva: Part Deux (this one's a long one)

Looking back over Saturday's pictures, I can fully understand why we're so tired. We packed a lot of doing in to this trip so far.

You'll remember that when we left you, the massive thunderstorm had just ended and we were all hot and exhausted. Well, Saturday morning dawned a little like this. We decided to have breakfast at the hotel, and it was 10000000% worth it. Swiss hotels know how to do breakfast. After stuffing ourselves on deliciousness like Birchermeusli, croissants, cheese and fresh fruit, we were well and truly ready to start our day. Oh, and we sat outside and looked at this while we ate.

None of us thought to check the train schedule on Friday, so we just missed the train to Vevey by minutes. That meant that Andrew and Dad had time to relax at the station while Elisabeth and I explored.

Chexbres is a gorgeous little town.

And despite the hill, everything seems to come back to the train station. It was pretty easy to navigate.

This little train takes you on a tour of the vineyards. I would have liked to have done that.

Also, there are endless walking trails. A walking holiday in this part of Switzerland would be amazing. So much of it could be done walking along the lake. Can you imagine walking from village to village? Or hopping on and off the boat at each village?

Switzerland is also in the midst of a drought. So much so that many of the local fountains are turned off. Also, fireworks are banned in Kanton Bern (and perhaps other parts of Switzerland) which means no fireworks for the erste august. :(

Elisabeth and I found this gorgeous little cafe restaurant.

Which had a little patio across the street and THIS was the view.

I thought it would be worth coming back here.

We finally made our train and found Montreux. We split up - dad and Andrew were looking for shoes and me and the kids went exploring.

The water was a little rougher today than it had been on Friday. One minute I was sitting on a step watching the waves crash.

Then suddenly this:

The kids thought it was pretty awesome. Hey Mom, I'm gonna go down there.

Elisabeth was nervously excited...

Are you really sure you want to do this, David?

It looks kind of scary.
The superhero pose starts to crumble.

The waves crash in....

So we went for a walk instead. We also got the kids hot dogs at a stand. They pulled out a little mini baguette and speared it on a steel pike. When the wiener was ready, they pulled the buns off the spike and squirted ketchup in the hole before shoving the wiener into the bun. It was kind of genius.

This is what happens when mum wants to be in some of the holiday pictures.

Since we could ride the boat for free, we decided to take the boat to Chateau Chillon. A decision I almost regretted while we were on the boat.

Once inside, we stopped and visited the gift shop and paused for a few photo ops.

And then it was time to explore.

Did you know that Chillon apparently inspired such great writers as Byron and Dumas?

Which is funny because I had no idea, but when I picture the Count of Monte Cristo, I think I always did picture Chillon...only on more of a cliff's edge.

The dungeon and execution rooms were pretty bleak. And surprisingly small. I'd always imagined they'd be great cavernous areas.

I was also surprised by their proximity to the store rooms. I'd have thought they wouldn't want their housekeeping staff down near the prisoners, nor their prisoners to have such close access to food.

In this picture David and Elisabeth are imagining that all these foods are actually left over from hundreds of years ago.

Lots of windows in this castle.

And the fireplaces were all massive.

We found one secret hallway going between two rooms. It was really small.

And one of the latrines! The great thing about having a castle over the water is that the plumbing is practically done for you!

I think this was up in one of the towers. David was probably pretending to be a sentry.

And this was the Knight's hall. Andrew was waiting for the Knights to get their party started.

Another latrine. This one with even better access to the plumbing system (and apparently also an escape system if necessary!)

I forget what this hall was.

But David pretended to be a statue here. He's holding the weight of the world.

Awesome hall with all the different crests the castle has born.

And crazy ceiling art.

We fired some cannons.

And then Dad and Andrew took the bus back to Montreux while the kids and I decided to walk along the lake shore.

We walked past the Montreux tennis club and spotted some sweet cars.

And some crazy old school hotels.

Even some banana trees.

And then we stumbled upon the garden of Eden.

And Freddie Mercury.

It was a lovely walk with way too much to look at. We even saw a boat that was about to be lifted from the water by a massive crane and then placed on a boat trailer that would then be pulled by a farm tractor. Would have loved to watch that play out, but we'd already stopped to take a million pictures, play table tennis and ride on wild animals at a small playground. It was time to move on.

We met Andrew and Dad at a restaurant near the boat dock, and had very traditional Swiss dinners. Andrew had spaghetti bolonese, Dad had horse steak and I had wurst with sauerkraut and new potatoes.

Then we proceeded home to Chexbres for the evening where we spotted yet another car.

David was kind of in car heaven this weekend. Although his favorites are the Golf GTIs, old bugs and hippy vans.

We stopped for coffee and dessert at the Cafe Poste and saw this crazy camo tree.

Elisabeth LOVES the coupes.

Then me and the kids went to a playground while Andrew and Dad walked back to the hotel.

We walked home a new way and found more neat buildings.

Back at the hotel we decided to play table tennis. At first David thought he was going to have to be the net.

Oh, and I got distracted by the sun set.

But then we found the net and all took turns playing.

Until I got distracted again.

And tried to take selfies with the sunset. Didn't workout somehow.

And just before bedtime we were treated to a magnificent moonscape.

And thus ended another day.