For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Monday, 13 October 2014

Day 37: Montreux To Aigle

Looking back towards Clarens and Vevey.

The challenging terrain means that the Swiss have had to become master engineers, both in railway construction and road building.

Montreux in the early morning.

The older part of Montreux the tourists often miss — so busy are they celebrity spotting in the casinos.

Yes, it's another quirky sign! 

I just can't stop . . .

. . . taking photographs of Lake Geneva, and have a hundred more you haven't seen (thank God, you cry . . .)

You've viewed this on a thousand calendars and chocolate boxes. It's the Château de Chillon, and the Via Francigena goes right by it. Naturally I went inside — it was 9 am, so there weren't many other visitors. I spent a happy hour or two there. This is a popular tourist destination, and I was lucky to see it so uncrowded.

Just look at that walkway! This legendary castle is associated with DelacroixLord ByronGustave CourbetHenry JamesSalvador Dalí and numerous other literary and artistic figures  . . . 

I love this humble strip of geraniums. Ok, it may not be mentioned in the serious historical literature and audio guides most of the visitors were hauling around, but, hey, I like these choses cachées et imprévues . . . 

This is positively the last picture of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman in French and Genfersee in German. Both French and German are spoken in Switzerland  — as are Italian and Romansh in some southern parts). You can see the motorway curving round on the left.


Oh, well, just one more. Here another paddle steamer chugs out of Villeneuve at the head of the lake. And it's that Swiss flag again!

In Villeneuve I did a very foolish thing. It was lunchtime, and I passed a Thai restaurant offering as much food as you could eat for 20 Swiss francs. I couldn't resist. I stuffed myself — soup, salad, spring rolls, pork, chicken, rice, noodles. I would regret this later. At 2 pm I took a cycle path through the woods and left Lake Geneva behind. I was heading up a wide, flat-bottomed valley dotted with farms and maize fields, the valley of the river Rhône. High, wooded hills rose sharply on either side. I would be following this valley for three days as far as Martigny. After negotiating a maze of farm tracks, I joined the route I should have taken according to my guidebook, the cycle track by the railway line. By the time I reached Aigle (meaning 'Eagle'), I felt very lethargic and had stomach ache. I was glad to retire to the Auberge des Messageries and a room with a comfortable bed. I vowed to eat less the next day, though I had lost weight during my trek. Highlight of the afternoon: a young grass snake coiling and uncoiling on the cycle track.

9 comments:

sackerson said...

Particularly like that Montreux in the Early Morning photo.

George said...

How refreshing to see the pilgrim become a sybarite stuffing himself in a Thai restaurant on Lake Geneva. This is the kind of transformation I would welcome on any pilgrimage. Loved the photos of the Chateau de Chillon, not to mention those of Lake Geneva, which I will surely miss as you head toward the Italian border.

Susan Scheid said...

Another wonderful post, and love the sign and the geraniums.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, all.

Lake Geneva lay behind, and I did miss it, but the landscape became even more ravishing and spectacular as I headed into the Alps...

am said...

Don't think I would ever get tired of Lake Geneva. Would find it difficult to leave. This is my first experience of Switzerland. I'm drawn to its landscape. Looking forward to seeing the Alps through your eyes.

Bonnie said...

I've been quietly following your pilgrimage, Robert, and marvelling at your dedication. What a wonderful record you have kept and shared here.
Like George, I would not object to more photos of beautiful Lake Geneva.

The Solitary Walker said...

I am sad about partings, Am, at the time of parting, but find I can quickly adjust. And the Alps beckoned!

The Solitary Walker said...

Hey, thanks for following along, Bonnie, and I'm pleased you are enjoying the trip.

Ruth said...

I wouldn't get tired of seeing Lake Geneva either. And I love George's comment, spot on.

How absolutely beautiful all of this is.