Hey y’all! This morning we woke up in Montreux, Switzerland surrounded by the Swiss Alps. We started off the day by going down to the pool to swim. It was really cold, but I’m glad that we did it (and remembered to bring our bathing suits!). We also almost went into the sauna (something I’ve always wanted to do), but we decided to jump in the jacuzzi instead after the cold pool swim.
After we got showered and ready for the day, we headed down to eat some lunch. We just ate at our hotel’s restaurant because it is convenient and easy. I got a yummy Caesar salad with chicken on it and we had some awesome bread to go along with it (per usual in Europe). After lunch, we hoped on a boat on Lake Geneva to head to the Chateaux de Chillon. Here’s some history and information that I picked up while I was here!
This is an ancient castle located on Lake Geneva. To own this castle was to have control over the whole region as it was an entry way to the lake from the alps and vice versa. This place was a good castle because it was near the Alps.
People of Savoy, the “Doormen of the Alps,” (because they guarded the lake) moved around, starting in the Lake Bourget region and moving to Piedmont, Chablais, the Aosta valley, the Vaud country, the Bresse region, and Nice. When they landed in Montreaux, they enlarged this castle. They moved here because the good economy and international trade was favorable.
Later on, the Bernese took control of the castle and made it into a prison after The House of Savoy neglected it. In the 1890s, it was deemed a historical monument and there was a restoration until 1935 and today, this castle is the most visited castle in Switzerland.
The enchanting castle with the dark history interested many writers and painters. The legend of Chillon is made famous by Lord Byron when he visited this castle. He wrote a poem, “The Prisoner of Chillon,” that brought fame to Bonivard, the prisoner and Genevan monk who resided in the castle’s dungeon in the 1500s, and this castle. In his poem, Lord Byron makes the main character a deprived person with nothing but the sounds of the waves.
This castle represents romanticism as many writings of the genre were based here, such as Rousseau’s “La Nouvelle Héloïse” where a pregnant mother jumps in the lake by the castle to save her child who has fallen in the water. She gets a concussion and dies. Victor Hugo also visited this in 1839 and recorded his findings of the prison cells, the water, and the cellars.
In the time that this castle was a prison, many people were shut away in this prison, even thought many were innocent. Witches were also burned here.
After we finished at this castle, we decided to take the bus to a new city, just to explore a bit. We headed to Vevey, a town that is a 30 minute bus ride from Montreux. We expected to see more than we actually did, but it was good to see something new. We (of course) got some yummy chocolate and walked around for about 30 minutes before heading back to Montreux.
When we got back to Montreux, we knew that we just wanted to take it easy and relax. We went to the pool again to swim and soak up the sun while we could. The day started off by being overcast and cloudy, but by the time we left the castle, the skies were clear and the temperatures had risen. While at the pool/spa, I got to go in the sauna, too! I sweat so much! By the time we left the pool, we were very hungry so per the recommendation of the concierge, we headed to a Chinese/Thai restaurant. It was fair- not too good, not too bad. It was just average. I got some fried rice- my favorite asian dish, but we were eating outside and the bird were trying to eat my food! I was paranoid the whole dinner that they would come attack.
After we left dinner, we walked down to Lake Geneva to watch the sun set. Here, the sun sets very late. It was about 9:30PM before the sun set behind the mountains. It was great to just spend some quality time with my parents, soaking up the beauty of Switzerland one last time before heading back to Paris.