| Pros: amazing beauty, fabulous mountains, picturesque lake, many fountains, delicious food,
Monday, Jun 20, 2005 07:33
Our first stop in Switzerland. We knew nothing of Montreux until arriving and were amazed at the beauty. It’s on Lake Geneva (although the non-Genevans call it Lac Lemand or something like that) and it’s situated in the middle of fabulous mountains. It has a lovely park along the lake with a walking path. Not far from the park is a castle that Lord Byron wrote about and you can see where he scratched his name in a pillar.
When we first arrived we sat in a café near the train station and ordered a coffee. When we tried to pay that told us they didn’t accept euros. What?! Oh. Switzerland isn’t part of the EU. I rushed to the nearest change office for spending money.
We had some time to kill before meeting our host so we plopped down in a shady spot in the wonderful park and updated our travelog. Our host was nearby and we found him without difficulty. He had a wonderful flat and gave us a room to ourselves with a desktop and WiFi for our laptop.
The next day the three of us took a ferry around the picturesque lake to a nearby town and then took a train up a hill so we could have a nice hike down. It was hot but the thoughtful Swiss had placed many fountains along the path down. Most of the trek was through vineyards with a beautiful mountainside view. That night we made tacos which our host (Phillipe) seemed to like.
The next day we felt lazy and spent most of the day doing life maintenance and talking to the insurance company about replacing our bikes. We got out of the house long enough to bike down to the castle. That night we had Rösti for dinner. Rösti is a traditional Swiss meal where you expose a huge block of cheese to a high heat and roast the outer layer. You scrape off that roasted cheese onto a plate and eat it with potatoes, pickled onions, and whatever else you like. It was very yummy. Before bed we saw a movie, Cinema Paradiso. So we watched an Italian movie dubbed in English in Switzerland.
The next morning we got up early and Philipe drove us to Bern where he works. Philipe was a wonderful host. He showed us around,
My overall thoughts were that Montreux was beautiful, everyone was very nice, and there is lots to do. The only negative thing about it is the high cost of living, largely due to the weakness of the dollar. A typical small coffee cost about $1 in Italy but about $2.50 in Montreux. Ice cream vendors are $1.60 for two large scoops in Italy but $2.60 for one small scoop in Switzerland. Eating out in Switzerland is very expensive.
I found the language in Montreux very interesting. French is the predominant language but German is also spoken (actually a dialect called Swiss-German). Most people would admit to speaking English. It is very near the border to France and the border splits the lake in half.