Having landed on Geneva, I...
Having landed on Geneva, I took the train from the airport to my first destination of MONTREUX in the French Canton of Vaud. It was a smooth ride with excellent landscape along the way. I can still recall the tranquility of the lake along Vevey just before arriving at Montreux.
Montreux holds a major Jazz Festival annually since 1967 & a classical music festival since WWII.
The Montreux Jazz Festival is held every Summer lasting for 2 weeks in early July.
The Montreux-Vevey Music Festival lasts for a month from late August to end September.
Montreux is one of the most popular resort on Lake Geneva. This is also a very charming town with gardens & chateau on the lakeside.
"Birthplace" of Eurovision (I&V)
On the 6th of June, 1954, Montreux became the venue for the first transmission by the European Broadcasting Union's Eurovision Network, or, to make it simpler – Eurovision began its life as a "summer season of European television exchanges". The first programme transmitted from Montreux was Narcissus Festival. It was eagerly watched on four million television sets in homes, bars, and shop windows in Germany, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland. Only the "next step", two years later, was Eurovision Song Contest, one of the most popular and the longest-running television programmes in the world.
Place de l'Eurovision – Eurovision Square commemorates this event by the plaque informing about the beginnings of Eurovision, inaugurated on the 50th anniversary, in 2004. Besides it, there is beautiful sulpture "Man/Fish/Flying", artwork of Lausanne sculptor Gaspard Delachaux, created in 1985, on this space by the shore of Lake Geneva.
Place de l'Eurovision is the meeting point of Montreux-Vevey Tourisme.
A must see (or do) for Vertigo amateur...
1st FAI World Hang Gliding and Paragliding Aerobatic Championship 18 - 27 August, 2006 – Villeneuve – Switzerland
For the 9th time, the world's best aerobatic hang gliders and paragliders will be converging in Villeneuve. For the first time, they will be competing for world champion titles. The skies above Lake Geneva will be transformed into an aerobatic playground, with the gliders pushing the limits of gravity. The titles at stake are hang gliding solo and paragliding – both solo and synchro (teams of two). Ten days of breathtaking aerobatic action touch down at the relaxed landing area on the shore of Lake Geneva – this is Red Bull Vertigo 2006.
Over 70 paragliders and 19 hanggliders will compete. Beside the now traditional countries that are France, Spain, Argentina, Norway or Germany, a new pilots’ generation coming from Poland, Macedonia, Hungary, Czech Republic or even a Japanese delegation.
The most amazing air show I have ever seen ;-)
Chateau de Chillon
The number one reason why many people come to Montreux is so that they may make a tour of Chateau de Chillon. It is regarded by some as the best preserved medieval castle in Europe. To me, that is quite a claim to make. The setting is spectacular as it sits out on the lake guarding a narrow point of land between the water and the steep hills. This has historically been an important trade route, thus the location of the castle.
The castle can be approached by walking from Montreux (45 minutes), taking a lake steamer, or taking a city train to a closer stop. We chose to take the steamer to the castle and then walk back to Montreux since it was a very nice day outside.
Indeed the castle is very well preserved, and is a pleasant sight. It has all of the elements that people associate with castles; turrets, walls, a moat, a dungeon, catwalks, and holes for arrows and cannons. This is likely the nicest castle I have seen to date. Of course, the appearance of the structure is just part of the reason to visit. It also has a lot of history behind it. The most famous visitors seem to be Lord Byron and Bonivard. Bonivard was a prisoner who was held in the dungeon. Lord Byron wrote a famous poem about him and then carved his name on a column in the dungeon.
It is easy to tour the castle. There is a sequence of numbers to follow to ensure that you see all parts of the chateau. A thorough tour could take a couple of hours. Admission is free if you have a Swiss Pass. This place is popular, therefore I suggest trying off peak times and days just as you would with any other famous European attraction.
Views at the top of Rochers de Naye.
The mountain top at Rochers De Naye is 2045 m above sea level and includes an area for Marmot colonies introduced from around the world, a walk to the top of the mountain overlooking the lake as well as a view point a little further north that takes in the rail line climbing to the top and the views to the east.
Several view points allow for a glimpse of the lake way down below.
The ability to see far depends on the humidity on a given day, the more humid it is the less clear the air and the less detail that can be seen.
On the mountain top it seems that one can see for miles.
At the top there is a cafeteria style restaurant with a resident chef and at times you can be very lucky and get a piece of hot apple pie. A pleasant place to sit and take in the view.
Also on top is the path that passes the Stupa and ends up at the Alpine Garden at 6000 ft is a gem that includes 1500 plants from around the Alpine world. It is a rock garden with plants and has been in operation for more than 100 years. Still to come in Off the Beaten Path is my view of this garden that seems to hang in space.