When I was a child, I was in an accident that rendered me bedridden for a good 4 months. It was the most boring experience time of my time. It was a time before internet surfing, cell phones, and my parents were much too poor to buy me a hand held device game (considering the fact they were paying medical bills—I was quite an ungrateful child). But for lack of entertainment, I grew to enjoy reading (library books became my best friends since friends were not allowed to visit), watching PBS from morning through afternoon until home tutoring in evening, and playing jigsaw puzzles. I played puzzles day in and day out. We had about 3 boxes of puzzles I played. Sometimes I would play puzzles upside down to challenge myself. My mother got sick of watching me play puzzles and taped them up and hung them on the wall at one point.
One of the puzzles I remembered playing well was a 1000 piece image of a castle on a lake. I used to tell my mom, I’m going to pretend I can walk into the picture and get away from this miserable body cast one day. It’s like imagining I can draw a door on a wall and walk into another world without taking a plane ride for several uncomfortable hours.
Who knew that the castle was in Switzerland and I was going to visit it! Finally after 18 years in the making.
Montreux and its nearby towns are considered the riviera of Switzerland, hence the rather inflated pricing (it could also be the higher minimum wage advertisement I’ve seen on posters around town). But if you stay in Montreux, ask the hotel, apartment, or a clinic for a card. This card will allow you (for 7 days) to ride the electric buses for free and get 50% off on trains, boats, and museum entrances if they had a symbol of a card at the ticketing booth. On Grand Rue, you can find Point I Montreux, the information station that you can also purchase the card.
As it were the bicycle tour of La Romandie, buses were slightly rerouted. I had wanted to make it out before rain came in so we managed to talk to some traffic officers who pointed to a rerouted pick up just a block away at the intersection of Avenue du Casino and Rue Nestlé. Normally, you can grab the bus on Ave du Casino in front of Confiserie Zurcher, a famous local chocolate shop.
It was quite interesting to watch as the bus approached the stop and a local helped steer the electric pole, attaching it to the electric lines that run throughout town. It’s quite am eyesore but as least the town doesn’t smell of gas. We got off one stop before Chillon stop to walk and see how the castle looked as you neared it. It’s am impressive building. The entrance is led by an old house bridge, leading down cobble stones to the main entrance. With the Riviera card, we got in at 6.25CHF a person. It also has free wifi! Take advantage of it!
This medieval castle was founded on a cliff back in the early 11th century. In the 12th century, it was taken over by the Savoy family, as we know is the current royal family of Italy. I always say that medieval castles are built for me, since I never have to duck or bend to get from room to room. My boyfriend was constantly turning his head that by the end, he was having a neck cramp. We explored from the bottom rooms where food and ammunition was stored in a cool gothic vaulted room all the way to the top of the main keep, it’s tower allowing you a view of the area around through open slots. The climb up was quite a scare for an acrophobia like myself but I braved it just to see it from the top.
I have a love for these ancient buildings. Their grandeur and pomp in its heyday must have been so exciting.
I recommend walking along the rocky shores of the castle to get a better view of the castle. The shore leads you towards a dock where you can catch a boat back. But it is cheaper to catch a bus.
Arriving in town, a short bite at Lino’s Coffee (a franchise for Italian coffee) followed by a purchase of ice cream from a nearby Coop helped settled for a nice mid-day nap.
There happened to be a bicycle race, La Romandie, the time we were there. After the short nap, we went down to catch the ending of the race. Cowbells rang and flags brandished welcomes as the cyclists raced madly to the finish line at the end of Grand Rue. It was the first time I saw the city marked with a flurry of people. It was quite exhilarating.
Rain poured over dinner time as we stopped at the Italian restaurant, Il Brigantine. The food was pretty good. We shared frittatine agli asparagus and langoustines and shrimp risotto before finishing off mango, lemon, and blood orange sorbet.