Trip Report - Day 1 : Montreux Promenade, Lake Geneva Cruise
26.07.2014 - 28.07.2014 16 °C
Since the time I fell in love with travelling, one destination which had captured my mind and heart was Switzerland. This love for Switzerland grew even more after watching DDLJ. For those who have not heard of DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le jayenge), it is a romantic bollywood movie of the 1990's which tells the story of a young couple who fall in love on a vacation in Europe. A part of this film has been shot in Switzerland and the craze for this movie and in turn Switzerland grew along with me all these years. A lot of people, including my husband ridicule me for this love of mine, but a holiday in Switzerland had always been a dream for me. And here I was, awed and dazed from the moment I got down at the Montreux train station. The romantic town of Montreux is nestled in a sheltered Lake Geneva bay, surrounded by vineyards and against the breathtaking backdrop of snow-covered Alps.
We arrived in Montreux at around 11:30 AM after a 8 day trip to Italy. The first thing we did after arriving here was visiting the information counter at the train station to get our Swiss passes validated. We had purchased our 8 day Swiss passes at the Rail Europe website as they were offering a discount. The passes had arrived well in time before our trip was scheduled and in order to use them, we had to get them validated. The Swiss pass gives unlimited free travel on trains, buses, cruise boats and discounts on most mountain peaks and we found it extremely useful. Also, we had to collect our chocolate train reservation tickets from the information counter. It is a quick procedure and we were out of the train station in around 15 minutes.
We took a taxi to our hotel - Hotel Bon Port and were pleasantly surprised. This was the only hotel of our 15 day trip which had got me really anxious. We had booked this hotel without reading proper reviews. On reading the bad reviews on tripadvisor later, we tried to cancel our booking but were not able to as they were non refundable rooms. However, the rooms were decently sized and had all the required amenities. Also it was a 5 minute walk from the beautiful Lake promenade area. In fact, I would not mind staying here again if we are to visit Montreux in future.
After freshening up, we went to pick up a parcel for our lunch. We walked along the promenade and got our first feel of the beauty of Switzerland.
We visited the Migros Gourmessa which is located along the promenade and picked up some lunch. Also, next to Migros is a swisscom store where we purchased a sim card. We returned to our rooms, had lunch and then left for the Lake Geneva cruise.
We took the Alpine Scenery Cruise on lake Geneva which was covered by our Swiss pass. For more information on the different cruises available on Lake Geneva, refer to the CGN website. We had opted for the Alpine Cruise as it was the best option we had (duration 2 hours) in the time available to us. This cruise took us along all the Riviera beauties, such as Montreux, the Chillon castle and the Dents du Midi mountains. It was a beautiful experience. This cruise also crosses Vevey, another beautiful lakeside town and Chillon Castle which is an island castle located on Lake Geneva. Though Chillon Castle was on our to-do list in Montreux, Vevey was something which we did not have time for, though I really wish I could get down and walk around this little town.
After the cruise, we continued on-board and got off at the Chillon Castle stop. Chillon is listed as "Switzerland's most visited historic monument". Inside the castle there are several recreations of the interiors of some of the main rooms including the grand bedroom, hall and cave stores. The Chillon Castle was again covered for free under our Swiss pass. We spent around an hour here exploring the different rooms and courtyards, and reading about the history of this place on the very informative brochures provided at the time of our entry.
We took the bus back to our hotel and walked along the lakeside promenade for some time. We walked along the promenade several times in the two days that we were in Montreux and every time we were mesmerized. It's beautiful all along...the flowers, the mountains, the ducks and swans in the lake...the atmosphere all around is just fantastic. Isha had a great time feeding the ducks.
We had dinner at the McDonalds located along the promenade and retired to our rooms after another long walk. Frankly speaking, I could just sit there watching the lake and mountains for hours together. However, we knew that it was important to give our little champ the much required rest in order to prepare her for the chocolate train the next day.