Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Le Honeymoon, Day 7

Yah, that's right. We went from Day 5 to 7. But that's because I'm a doofus and included both Annecy days in one blog post. But that's because there wasn't as much to see in Annecy, and thus it didn't warrant two blog days.

The same goes for our next honeymoon stop, which was Montreux, Switzerland. We left Annecy by bus because that was the easiest way to get to Geneva, Switzerland, which is where we took a direct train to Montreux. The bus was a nice change from the train because we drove through a number of small towns rather than just buzzing past them at the train station.

We got to Montreux mid-day and immediately set out exploring. Montreux is on Lake Geneva with a backdrop of, yup, you guessed it, the Alps. The city is set right onto the side of a cliff and against the lake, and reminded me of a city that would be in a James Bond movie. (There were casinos in the town too.)

Sadly, we didn't see Daniel Craig. But, we did see all this:

And this was our view from the complimentary breakfast buffet at our hotel:

I mean, really??!! This view really drove home the whole honeymoon feeling. I pretended I was like Elizabeth Bennet, in Switzerland on my European honeymoon tour, eating croissants and thinking about where I'd get my freaking trousseau.

In all seriousness, though, Montreux is absolutely beautiful. There is a path that winds along the lake on the edge of town, and even the shrubs along the path are beautiful:

Yup, that's a bush. Shaved down and cropped to look like a fox. A fox that was staring up at a bush that looked like a bird with cheese in its mouth. Swanky.

We walked along this path for about forty minutes to get to Chillon Castle, or Château de Chillon, which is one of Montreux's big tourism draws.

That's the castle to the left of the lake.

Chillon Castle is famous for a number of reasons, primary among them being that it dates to the medieval period, around the twelfth century. That's old, peeps. And, unlike a lot of old stuff in Europe, this hasn't been changed so much and you can still feel what it felt like to be in the castle when it was, well, not so old.

A view from the area that was used as a prison, most famously for a monk named François Bonivard, who was kept there for six years--four of them in chains!!

Apparently the English poet Lord Byron was also moved by Bonivard's story, since he wrote a poem about it after visiting the castle.

Byron's actual engraving during his visit:

More shots of the castle rooms and views:

My takeaway from this? Don't live in a medieval castle--they _are_ actually quite cold and dank. I can't imagine the aches and pains and chills that Mr. Bonivard probably endured.

As far as the food in Montreux, we found it pretty good. We had free breakfast for both days, which included more really good bread, some tastes of mini-pastries, fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs, prunes (yes, I know most Americans find them gross. But I don't, and neither do the French or the Swiss; in addition to seeing them on the breakfast bar we saw them a lot in the markets in Paris), and NUTELLA! Yes, in Switzerland they assume that you want Nutella on your toast. I missed my almond/peanut butter, but I got over it pretty quickly.

Another nice thing about Switzerland was that they opened restaurants before seven-thirty p.m.! I'm not sure if this offsets the extremely expensive prices that we found in Montreux, but I guess it helps.

On Thanksgiving we had actually just arrived in Montreux, so despite my best efforts to find somewhere that seemed Thanksgiving-y, we were tired and hungry and ended up having Chinese at a restaurant that, from the outside, did not look appealing. Actually, it looked a lot like a chain restaurant that you'd find in a strip mall.

And yet, it was good. They didn't have much vegetarian food, but we settled for some spicy green beans and rice, along with some spring rolls. Word to the wise: "spring roll" doesn't necessarily mean non-fried. Yup, we ordered egg rolls. That's fried greasy goodness, people.

On our second night in Montreux we decided to splurge and try a well-recommended (and very expensive) Italian restaurant named La Rouvenaz.

We started with an unpictured green salad and some red wine. For dinner, we split the veggie pizza and an eggplant pasta dish.

By this point in our trip I had decided to just embrace all the cheese.

After dinner David and I walked over to the main street in Montreux, where they were holding a Christmas festival. Actually, they were holding what is reputedly the largest Christmas festival in Switzerland. Meh. I've seen better. But, it was pretty romantic...

And it was also a nice bit of festivity since we had missed our American Thanksgiving and eaten Chinese food instead of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Montreux was worth it, though. David and I both loved the town, the views, and the people. It was, quite simply, charming. You should do it to it if you get the chance.

In tomorrow's post: Zurich and the return home!

*How would you deal with eating Chinese food for Thanksgiving?

No comments:

Post a Comment