When one is settled in Lausanne, one-day trip to Vevey and Montreux is certain pick. But when the base is in Vevey or Montreux, one-day trip to Lausanne is quite different thing – one day is enough just to take glance of Lausanne. Anyway, day in Lausanne is the great choice even if only to wander.
There are frequent train departures from Vevey to Lausanne but more enjoyable is to take a boat ride.
The most amazing spectacle at the Lac Leman – Lake Geneva is the magnificent Chateau de Chillon. The castle is among the best-preserved medieval castles in Europe. Occupying the whole islet in the like, it looks like rising from the water – stunning and almost surreal!
Here are a few facts about the history of the castle taken from the leaflet-guide: "In its current state, the Castle of Chillon is the result of several centuries of constant building, adaptations, renovations and restorations. The small rocky island on which the castle is built, acted both as natural protection and a strategic location to control the movement between the north and south of Europe. The history of the castle was marked by three important periods: the Savoy era (12th century to 1536), the Bernese era (1536 – 1798) and the Vaudois era (1798 until today). Excavations carried out from the end of the 19th century, particularly those by the cantonal archeologist Albert Naef (1862 – 1936), indicate that the site of Chillon has been occupied since the Bronze Age. The oldest written mention of the castle dates from 1150 and establishes that the House of Savoy already controlled the fortress and hence the path along the lake shore. The Swiss, more specifically the Bernese, conquered the Vaud region and occupied Chillon in 1536. For more than 260 years the castle was used as a fortress, arsenal and prison. The Bernese left Chillon in 1798 at the time of the Vaud revolution. The castle became the property of the Canton of Vaud when it was founded in 1803. The restoration of the historical monument began at the end of the 19th century and continues today."
It is very easy to spend hours wandering all over the castle. Among the most interesting parts of the castle are huge Coat-of-Arms Hall with the designs painted in the 13th and the 16th century, and Aula Magna overlooking at the lake, Chapel of the dukes of Savoy with the partially preserved 14th century decoration, toilets… But the most breathtaking is underground prison, so called Bonivard Prison for its famous prisoner who inspired Lord Byron to wrote the poem The Prisoner Of Chillon.
Leaflet-guides and audio-guides propose systematic tour and short but very useful information. The best time to enter the castle and to avoid crowds is early in the morning, just after the opening.
Chateau de Chillon can be reached from Vevey by City bus #1 and by boat.
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.