Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lausanne, Vevey and Montreux, Switzerland

After a heavy hectic week, I was excited about the weekend, actually I always am, esp. the weekends here in Geneva, I get to visit new places and explore new things. I had promised myself before I came here that I am never going to stay idle in the room during the weekends, thus I am fulfilling my promise very dutifully, so to say ;) 

The weekend of February 7, we had planned to visit the three beautiful cities of Switzerland ~ Lausanne, Vevey and Montreux.  We were counselled exhaustively by the course coordinators to travel to unfamiliar places only in  groups. I had to listen to the same advices from my family almost every time.

We were five at the start of the plan though. The guide, who is a sweet friend of mine, who lives in Geneva, caught a very bad flu, so she had informed us about her unavailability about a week earlier. Thus, four of us were left. An another friend was invited over by his national friends to visit some other places, he deceived (:P) us for them. To add up, another friend fell ill the day before the weekend. So finally, only two of us were left, the two people who had completely no idea about the what, where and how of the above three places. 

My partner gave up instantly. Let’s not risk it, she said. I promptly added, lets risk it, let’s do some adventure, we are not alone; we are a pair I told her with a wink. We don’t know how to get there, she said. I said let’s find that out from the train station. She frowned, we don’t know where to go there, we don’t know any places of interest. I said , I do, I had googled it so many times actually, right after I had been selected for the course which was almost three months ago :P, I knew where to go but I had no idea how to get there. I was thinking about it when she asked me as if she was reading my mind. I quickly answered, we will carry maps or ask people, these are famous places, everyone would know. Finally, my partner agreed with the last grunt, Lady, you are just too adventurous; I smiled and then laughed not because she had told me something nobody else ever had, but because, I had realised that I actually have the power to convince. 

As expected, after asking some kind people in the train station, we got tickets for Montreux, which was the farthest of all and was en route to Lausanne and Vevey. The ticket was for a day and we decided to go to Montreux first and visit the other two cities when we return. After almost an hr and half, we reached the beautiful city of Montreux. The snow was still there, the air was fresh. Shops, people and houses were lesser than in Geneva, it was indeed peaceful. 

On our route to Montreux we did pass by some extremely beautiful snow covered villages, some trees like they have been just carved, some fields, beautifully structured houses with smokes coming out of their chimney, the stunning Geneva lake that followed us till the end. Switzerland has a gifted countryside, I thought.

In Montreux, we had planned to visit the Château de Chillon. As planned, we went to the station and asked for the direction. All people we met this day were very generous, I concluded (as I expected) the swiss are indeed generous people. This Castle is an island castle located on the shore of Geneva Lake in Montruex. It is one of the most visited historic monuments in Europe. Chillon was the Roman station which guarded the strategic road through the Alpine passes, decades ago. It was breathtakingly beautiful. We did a tour of the castle entering every room that were allowed to us, there were some antique furniture, paintings and belongings of the great leaders. They also had videos and recordings of the history of the castle. 

A summary of our Montreux moments :)

We were hungry by the time we finished the castle tour. We hurried to the Montreux city, got in a restaurant, had some hot chocolate and cheese pizza. It was like heaven, it was freezing cold outside. Though we wished we could stay more in the restaurant, we had to rush because we had no time to waste.
In half an hour, we caught the train back to Geneva. We got out in Vevey. There were three places to visit there ~ the Charlie Chaplin Statue, the Giant Fork and the Nestle Museum. I had checked the google map, but it kind of showed different locations for these three places. However, when we asked a passer-by, he said these three were just close to each other. It was a lucky day for us indeed.

Well, it dates back to some 20 years of my life,  I was one of the biggest fan of the Great Charlie Chaplin (well i still am), he made me laugh and I simply felt happy to watch him. Whenever I saw this great actor, who made millions of people laugh till it hurt, on TV, I wanted my dad to have a moustache like his. My mom wouldn’t allow him to keep a moustache though; she somehow didn’t quite like it. One night, when my dad was sleeping and others were watching TV, I silently entered his bedroom with a green permanent marker pen (Green, coz I didn’t find any other colours) and drew a moustache below his nose like Charlie Chaplin’s. The next day, dad had a tough time removing the moustache and the others had a good laugh. I can never forget this incident maybe because, it was probably the first time, my dad nearly hit me. :(

Our Vevey moments..

The moment I knew there was a statue of the great actor in Switzerland; I had already decided that I am going to see it. The great soul lived in Vevey. The statue was built to commemorate the 25 years he spent there. We spent almost an hour with the statue and the giant fork which faced each other, looking at them, trying different poses to appreciate the beauty of it, laughing as if the actor was alive and performing. It was awesome ;), we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We visited the Nestle museum nearby; it was the first Nestle factory and the current headquarter of Nestle Company. We watched how the chocolates were being made. We could also buy chocolate drinks and purchase chocolate at discount prices. In Vevey we wasted some time on shopping – wasted, because shopping was not on the agenda.

It was almost dark when we reached Lausanne. We had to visit the Olympic museum there. Sadly we didn’t have enough time; however, instead of grumbling we decided to go around the city, the city was indeed beautiful. It was extremely cold as the chilly breeze from the lake blew.

At around 6:30 we caught a train back to Geneva. Both of us were so tired that we hardly talked, one time we were buzy eating the cheese we bought in Lausanne, one time both of us fell asleep and when we woke up, we were in the Geneva train station. As we walked to our apartment in the cold, we had that feeling of contentment. The day was well spent. As we thanked eachother for the wonderful adventurous day, we went to our respective rooms to get ready for many other exciting trips.