This post is the concluding post of an inordinately long drawn out series documenting our travel to a small corner of the beautiful Alpine country of Switzerland. This was the last day of our trip and we were based in Montreux. We had started the trip on the shores of lake Geneva at Lausanne & were ending it at another corner of the huge lake at Montreux.
We had chosen Montreux as the last stop on our trip mainly because of its proximity to the most visited historical monument in the country – the Chateau de Chillon. The town itself is a typical resort town with nice walkways/ promenades around the lake itself, the only other attraction to me as a life long “Queen” fan (the band and not the monarch!) was the Freddie Mercury statue on the shores of the lake. Our Golf Hotel (that’s the name – no golf to be played there!) was chosen as it was right on the lake itself and a walkable distance to the Chateau too. I had splurged on a lake view room, which turned out to be a great decision as the weather had finally turned rainy and we could enjoy the views without getting wet but I hoped the wet weather would go away the next morning when we planned to visit the Chateau itself.
In our comfortable lake view room at the Golf Hotel, Montreux
Ominous skies above the lake Geneva from the comfort of our hotel balcony
A ferry takes people across the lake
As the day proceeded the rain stopped and the long summer days meant that there was still enough light for us to head out for a walk along the lakeside promenade before returning to the Hotel for dinner at the restaurant there.
The beautiful dusk colours over the lake
The Chateau de Chillon from our room balcony with the 300mm
I left my camera behind as I didn’t want to risk it if it started pouring again & regretted it the moment we started walking. The whole promenade was lined with various types of flowering plants which would have been great to take photos. To add to that there was a family of Crested Grebe merrily swimming around close to the shore. I consoled myself by saying that the light was poor for good photos but in my heart I knew that I would return again the next morning with camera in tow! Now I was really hoping that the weather would cooperate!
So we just walked down the promenade to the edge of the town itself and stopped at many small piers and coves that are built on the walkway to just sit and enjoy the view. It was the most relaxed evening walk we had had the entire trip. Soon it was time for us to return to the hotel for our reservation at the restaurant.
Walking the promenade of lake Geneva at Montreux
The dinner at the so called 4 star restaurant was the most underwhelming meal we had all trip. The better half’s spaghetti had the most minimum of sauce on top and my smoked duck risotto was just ok. Thankfully the dessert ( creme brule with coconut icecream) was much better and we ended the meal on a high.
The Spaghetti with red sauce for the better half
The Smoked Duck with Risotto for me
The saving grace of the meal – Creme Brulee with ice cream
We returned to our room and slept off hoping for a rain free morning. Once again we had the weather gods on our side. We woke up to a cloudy but dry morning and i took the chance to go to the promenade with the 300mm hoping that the Crested Grebe family had not wandered away too far.
A relatively clear morning greets us at Montreux
I didn’t miss the chance to photograph the wonderful flowers on display, some still having yesterday’s rain drops on them. I’m no flower expert so i don’t know any of their names, just that they were too pretty to ignore.
The sheer variety of flowering plants on display at the promenade
I got my time with the crested Grebe family and enjoyed watching the mother catch fish after fish to feed the young ones. I also got to see a common merganser fish at close quarters and the bird was kind enough to dry off in full view, giving me a great series of photos. I also got decent photos of the crested duck and mallards that were swimming close to the shore. It turned out to be a great morning’s birding in Switzerland.
I returned to the hotel where the better half was ready and we went for breakfast. The breakfast spread turned out to be a lot better than our dinner. That improved our mood further and we filled our tummies to the brim. We then checked out of our room and kept the luggage in the hotel’s storage and left to see the Chateau de Chillon.
The young ones harass the parents for food
The dad stands guard while the mom hunts
The expert fisher mom finds adequate food for all the young grebes
The Male looks warily at the lens being pointed at him
The Common Merganser gives me a drying off pose
A crested duck preens itself
A portrait of a fearless Mallard
The Chateau was a flat 1.5 km walk from the hotel. The walk was a pleasant one especially since we stopped ever so often to take photos with the sculptures dotting the promenade at frequent intervals. There were also locals walking their pets / walking with their pets.
Happy to see the sun out in Montreux
The town of Montreux in the background as we head to the Chateau
One of the numerous boats parked at the promenade
A pet parrot rides the shoulder of it’s owner
A perfect spot for a photo with the Chateau de Chillon in the background
Another beautiful sculpture with the Chateau in the background
I had to stop for a sunbathing cormorant posing superbly on a buoy. Such opportunities are never to be missed. While I was taking photos a Common coot got curious and came close enough for me to get a great portrait as a bonus.
The better half takes a photo of me doing what I love most
The Cormorant on the buoy is a wonderful subject
A portrait of a curious Common Coot
I once again came across another family of Crested Grebes , this time in perfect light. The Chateau could wait a few more minutes as we enjoyed the little ones climb on dad’s back while mom hunted. They were kind enough to swim in formation for a family photo. With that done we proceeded to the Chateau where we got our free tickets courtesy the Swiss travel pass.
I won’t bore you too much with the history of the Chateau itself, but the location and the architecture is worth it. The Chateau or more accurately a version of it has existed at this location since Roman times. Its location with steep slopes on one side and the lake with steep banks on the other made it a perfect site to patrol the trade in the mountain pass between modern day Switzerland & Italy. The present castle has been reconstructed in the 1800s with historical accuracy. We visited the various courtyards, halls, rooms , crypts and ramparts with the help of the provided free guide pamphlet.
Even if you aren’t interested in history the Chateau is a photogenic place with a photo worthy room or courtyard at every turn. We had great fun walking through the ramparts and finally reaching the top of the tower which gives great views over the castle and the lake beyond.
The picturesque location of the Chateau de Chillon
The outer courtyard of the Chateau
The ramp leading to the inner Courtyard
The Count’s Ball room
The Inner courtyard at the Chateau de Chillon
Yet another Hall with well restored fireplaces and wall mosaics
The Dark Crypts held many a prisoner in the religious wars
Now they hold barrels of the local wine!
The wooden ramparts are the best part of the castle
The moat between the inner and outer wall of the Chateau
The size of the walls and moat is nothing to be trifled with
More photos of a photogenic Chateau with my favourite model
The views from the Tower of the Chateau de Chillon – breathtaking!
The final place we visited was the St George’s Chapel inside the Chateau which was the private chapel of the Dukes of savoy & has some remnants of the original paintings on the roof and walls. We did our usual church routine before exiting the Chapel and then the Chateau itself.
Saying goodbye to the Chateau de Chillon
It had again become cloudy and starting to drizzle a bit so we decided to have a quick lunch at the cafe right outside the Chateau itself. We bought panini sandwiches for ourselves and I decided to have one last bottle of Swiss craft beer. This meal turned out to be much better than the one in the 4 star restaurant the night before!
Having Panini sandwiches as lunch right outside the Chateau
My last bottle of Swiss Craft beer
We then decided to save time and take the bus back from the Chateau to the town itself as I wanted to visit the statue of Freddie Mercury in the town itself. We reached the statue which had the expected crowd of people around it. I waited for my turn to take a photo with the statue before we started our walk back to the hotel.
Posing with Freddie at Montreux
We stopped for a cone of ice cream from the Swiss brand Movenpick which turned out to be really nice. We enjoyed the ice cream on a quiet part of the promenade before resuming our walk back to the hotel.
Enjoying a delicious cone of Swiss Ice cream
I had mentioned about a small “Queen” memorabilia museum that was on the way back to the hotel. It’s a place where Queen recorded a few of their albums in Montreux. The better half insisted that we visit because we had come all this way, so why not! We did a whirlwind tour of the small but quaint “museum” that’s great for fans of the band like me. By the time we were walking out I was humming “It’s a Kind of Magic!”
The Freddie Mercury outfit that I remember the most
The Queen museum /experience in Montreux
With all boxes in Montreux checked we started for the hotel but stopped one last time for what else, another family of Crested Grebe. And as luck would have it these are the photos I like the most.
The Crested Grebe comes to say goodbye
We returned to the hotel happy and well in time to collect our luggage and take the bus to the train station where a train would whisk us right into Geneva Airport for our flight back home.
It had been a great 9 days in the most beautiful country I have been to. I was glad I hadn’t continued on my reluctance to visit Switzerland because of the high costs – now I have to grudgingly accept that you get full returns for what you pay. We returned with countless memories that I have tried to share a fraction of with you in this series.
Till my next post from another destination.
Happy us at having concluded a great vacation to Switzerland
Stunning pictures of flowers and birds. What a wonderful ending to a great trip. I’m soo glad that you visited the Queen museum…i love the band. Waiting for the next series.
It’s one of my favourite bands too ma’am… thanks for the appreciation 😁👍🏽👍🏽