Can I just say that I could totally live in Montreux? This is seriously one of the most beautiful places we went to – and we went to a lot of beautiful places on this trip! Montreux has this wonderful combination of architecture and nature with the never ending lake Geneva and the soaring Alps. The day started out gray and rainy, but in kind of a poetic way.
When we pulled into the train station at Montreux we could see Lake Geneva through the buildings. We walked down to the lake in a big group of a bunch of moving umbrellas. There was only thirty minutes to get our lunch before the boat ride to the Chateau de Chillon. We speed-walked by the lake to a McDonald’s since it’s quick (although I hate that we had to go there on vacation!) and picked up the most expensive McDonalds we’ve ever purchased! It ended up coming to about $14 per person for a burger, fries and drink. Crazy. Dad picked up a red Happy Meal balloon that followed us the rest of the day. We hurried back to the boat and made it in time to have a conversation with some sisters from Wichita (I always meet someone from Kansas in Europe!) and ate our food on the quick boat ride to the Chateau. 🙂
The following pictures are architecture taken at the train station, a view of the lake in Montreux, the traveling red balloon, our lunch, and our boat ride to the Chateau:
The Chateau de Chillon was a sight for sore eyes. It didn’t matter that it was raining, or that my forehead was all poison ivy covered or that the quickly eaten McDonalds wasn’t sitting too well. All that mattered was this sight:
Video of the exterior of the Chateau de Chillon:
I apologize for the quick movements. I need video taking 101 lessons. 😉
The oldest written document mentioning the castle dates from 1150; this was the Savoy period (12th century to 1536). Next came the Bernese period (1536-1798). Finally the Vaudois period (1798 to the present)- the castle became the property of the Canton of Vaud when it was founded in 1803. During the Romantic Movement the Middle Ages were rediscovered and Chillon began to become popular. In his La nouvelle Héloïse, published in 1762, Rousseau had already drawn attention to the site, setting one of the episodes of his novel at the castle and alluding briefly to the imprisonment of Bonivard. However, it was Lord Byron who was to invest Chillon with a mythical dimension, when in 1816, whilst on a pilgrimage to the places described by Rousseau, he wrote his famous poem The prisoner of Chillon.”
I was surprised to see a big focus on the witch hunt of the Savoy period. Before arriving at the castle I had no clue the castle’s history was so entrenched in witch hunts or of Switzerland’s past with the topic in general. “Switzerland within the current borders if the time holds not only the record for the longest-lasting repression of witchcraft but also for the largest number of people persecuted fro this crime, in relation to the population. In almost three centuries, 5,000 people were accused and 3,500 of them were put to death, mainly by fire, with 60 – 70% being women. Chillon Castle was an important detention centre for individuals suspected of witchcraft, either when awaiting trial or carrying out their sentence. During the term of the Bernese bailiff, Nicolas de Watteville, from 1595 to 1601, some forty-odd people were executed at Chillon, La Tour-de-Peilz and Vevey. And 27 more in 1613!”
The following pictures are the memorial to those executed for suspicion of witchcraft, the wine room (vineyards are owned by the lake and the wine is aged and bottled at the castle), Lord Byron’s signature that he scratched into a column in the dungeon that Bonivard was imprisoned in, Kevin in the Bernese Chamber, and the last is the dungeon that Bonivard was imprisoned in:
Video out of the window of one of the great halls. The Savoy family would have great banquets in them:
What a view!!
We had a great time exploring the castle. The following pictures are- me in the great hall, me exploring the dungeons, the upper walkway to the top tower, the center courtyard and views from the top tower:
Video of the view from the top tower in Chateau de Chillon:
We chose to take the hour + boat ride around Lake Geneva to get back to Montreux from the castle. It was so amazing and awe-inspiring to stand on the deck of the boat with the rain pitter pattering with the view of a Switzerland postcard moving around me. I couldn’t stay outside enough. I would go back in to where others were sitting and then run back out to take more pictures and stand there a while longer. During that boat ride the weather changed dramatically and a sunny beautiful day blossomed around us. It was so beautiful there are just no words. I think the captain of the boat has just about the best job ever:
Video of the boat ride around Lake Geneva:
More pictures of the boat ride:
The day turned out to be so beautiful!! I could have stayed here for the rest of the trip. The play of light on the mountains and the sparkling water with swans and snow topped mountains in the distance were to die for. I would love to come back someday and spend more time. 🙂
After a fun and long day we finally got back to the Zurich train station and finally after 8pm got dinner. Since we were only familiar with the top level of the train station at the time and the options are limited there I got a coke and a vanilla swirl pastry. Delicious. But if I had it to do over I would have gotten dinner on the boat! Such an awesome day, I loved every minute.
(Band-aid on my finger from messing with my brother’s new Swiss army knife he got at the souvenir shop next to the castle. It was super sharp and I totally got my finger with it.)
All quoted material is from the Chateau de Chillon’s official website: http://www.chillon.ch/en/