Monday, October 29

Swiss Rail Pass - Golden Pass to Montreaux

Our final day riding the rails! It was a very long day, but yet another good one! We got on the road early after breakfast to make a connection with the Golden Pass trains that would take us west to Lake Geneva. Our plan was to arrive in Montreaux and make our way to the medieval Chillon Castle before heading home to Stuttgart.
The kids passed the time playing games or listening to music on our Apple devices.

Jake's ready for his morning nap, his longest nap of the day. Each day on the trains, Ryan or I would have to put him in the backpack carrier and walk the aisles until he succumbed to sleepyland. Once he's snoozing away, it's kinda nice to have a snuggler with gorgeous scenery passing by! That day I listened to a CES devotional from the recently released member of the Seventy, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, in a great talk entitled "Stand in the Sacred Grove."His remarks begin about 15-20 minutes in and I highly recommend it! He paralleled what he learned from the keeper of the grounds at the Sacred Grove with what makes us strong enduring Saints. It was so good!


Once Jake was up, he had stuff to do! Little busy-body! 

Finally we arrived in Montreux under threat of impending rain. Neither Ryan or I speak French and we were pretty disoriented getting off the train. We started making our way to the waterfront area, also known as the Swiss Riviera where well-to-do have flocked for R&R for centuries. There were playgrounds sprinkled along the walking path but we were pressed for time to get to the castle before last admissions. The kids didn't like being rationed with so little time to play!

We couldn't pass up the ducks and swans since we had half a loaf of bread we needed to use up. Couldn't believe how close the swan came to the kids!

It was a two mile walk to the castle there on the water. Once again, there seemed to be at least 1-3 whiners or criers most of the way. Lovely! Little races and games along the way lightened them up a bit now and again.

Chillon Castle strategically sits upon the north eastern shore of Lake Geneva which is shaped like crescent, or croissant - my personal favorite French food, especially if it has chocolate inside! This French speaking part of Switzerland is situated where two major historic trade/travel routes cross the western Alps to link Italy with north-western Europe. Those that held this castle could command hefty taxes for safe passage through their land. The Counts of Savoy held it earlier than 1100 until the Swiss Bernese took it in 1536. In the spirit of revolution that was all the rage around 1800, local patriots took back the castle without much fight and it has been privately held since. Notable writers have been inspired by their visits here such as Rosseau, Victor Hugo, and Lord Byron. You'll see where Byron left his mark below.

Here's the kids climbing upon the bedrock in rooms used as a prison.

Love these ornate doors and wall decor!

One of my favorite trunks on display. Royals would travel to keep tabs on their holdings or to enjoy hunting grounds. They carried all their clothes and furnishings with them from castle to castle. I find this fascinating!

They had some great displays and multi-media centers which Easton loved. 

The part the kids will forever remember most is the bathrooms! Easton is blocking your view here of the toilet bench seat which is open to the lake below. Gross!

McKay of course loved the cannons and lookouts!

Some acrobats were practicing for their Halloween show, dressed as bats. Very fun!

I'm glad we made the long detour to see this part of Switzerland. The kids actually enjoyed the tour with all the rooms, towers, ramparts walk, and such! This castle had really good audio guides on ipods that you rented.It's fun to see how traveling can be fun as they get older. But they sure are opinionated as to what's fun and for how long!

We caught a local bus back to Montreaux since it was raining AND we had to begin our long trek home. We are train converts for sure! It was so great to be able to spread out and watch the scenery whisk by! Two big thumbs up for the Swiss Rail Pass, especially off season in autumn!