Women-friendly parking :-)
All women, pay attention! You will love parking your car in Swiss parking garages. Why? Because they've made some effort for us. We have our own broad parking spaces, which are (as as extra) closest to the elevators and stairs. Shopping can be sooo easy ;-)
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces (I&V)
We do prepare for our travels, but every place (including the area around the city we live in) hides something that could produce great feeling of surprise and thrill, no matter how solemn our preparations were… That "something" (regarding our travel to Lausanne) was astonishing landscape of the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces.
Quite a long time later we have found out that the Lavaux is the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. World Heritage web page gives the following description of the site: "The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, stretching for about 30 km along the south-facing northern shores of Lake Geneva from the Chateau de Chillon to the eastern outskirts of Lausanne in the Vaud region, cover the lower slopes of the mountainside between the villages and the lake. Although there is some evidence that vines were grown in the area in Roman times, the present vine terraces can be traced back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area. It is an outstanding example of a centuries-long interaction between people and their environment, developed to optimize local resources so as to produce a highly valued wine that has always been important to the economy. […] The Lavaux vineyard landscape is an outstanding example that displays centuries of interaction between people and their environment in a very specific and productive way, optimizing the local resources to produce a highly valued wine that was a significant part of the local economy. Its vulnerability in the face of fast-growing urban settlements has prompted protection measures strongly supported by local communities."
We saw the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces from the Geneva Lake. Hopefully, next time we'll have opportunity to take a closer look of Lavaux.
Take a cruise on Lake Geneva
If you fancy a relaxing way to do some sightseeing, or to travel from/to Montreux, jump on a ferry on Lake Geneva. Ferries depart from Montreux to various places on the lake, such as Lausanne, Vevey and Chateau de Chillon, or even across the lake to Evian-les-Bains in France.
We ended up spending a few hours on the lake, first travelling from Lausanne to Chateau de Chillon, and then from Montreux back to Lausanne. The cost of the ferry was covered by our Swiss Pass which we thought was good value considering that the ferry usually costs more than the alternative train trip.
On the way to Chateau de Chillon we first caught a smaller, modern boat to Vevey (25 minutes), where we changed onto an old Belle Epoque style ferry for the trip onto the castle (55 minutes). There are a few stops along the way, along with an extended stop at Montreux, but we were happy just sitting towards the front of the boat relaxing and enjoying the scenery. On the way back from Montreux to Lausanne we caught the smaller, faster ferry which took around 40 minutes.
Montreux has a lovely lakefront path if you care to go for a stroll, you can walk all the way to the Chateau de Chillon should you care to walk 2 miles in each direction. We walked just a short stretch before heading to the street, the path is well utilized.
I believe one side is for bikes and the other for pedestrians so make sure to watch for the bicycle symbols on the pavement to know which one to use.
Montreux, the Swiss Riviera
"Born through literature"
Almost anyone has ever heard of the Montreux Jazz Festival or the Film
Festival. The Fiml Festival is already "passé", but every year in July, thousands of Jazz lovers visit this beautiful, posh, little city.
Montreux has always attracted the rich and famous, the upperclass of society. Why? Well, of course the " ambiance " has always played a big role. Lake Geneva's a beautiful lake, with lovely shores and a breathtaking view on the Alpine Mountains. But that's not all... it all began with Chateau Chillon, a beautiful castle where the Prince of Savoie used to live in the old days.
Throughout the centuries the chateau - in fact, the whole region- was taken over by new masters and religions. In 1536 this happened again. On January 29 almost 6000 soldiers of the Bernese army bombarded Château Chillon, which capitulated a few days later. The soldiers found the a prisoner called François Bonivard, who was the prior of Saint Victor locked up in the castle. He had been imprisoned there since 1530, because he had fought for Geneva against the Duke of Savoy. He then became extremely famous.
Lord Byron, following in Rousseau’s footsteps, was captivated by the story of the prisoner Bonivard and wrote his famous poem “The prisoner of Chillon ”, which was read and recited all over the world . Very soon people from all over the world rushed to follow in Byron’s footsteps. They wanted to see the terrifying castle of Chillon brought to life by Byron.
Towards the beginning of the 19th century, authors from all over Europe wanted to discover the region of Montreux at all costs. They wanted to stay in the area even before there was any accommodation to offer. Montreux had entered the tourism industry without even being aware of it! They were to find out slowly, but in time realised the future destiny of Montreux: that of accommodating travellers eager to visit their region.
In 1830, some of Byron’s young admirers stayed with a local family. They were charmed by the warm welcome they received. Back in London, they handed the address of these “charming people” over to some friends who, well accommodated and fed, passed the address on to others… the snowball effect! It was therefore thanks to literature that tourism started in Montreux.