The Desi Nomads

Switzerland: Day 1: Geneva & Montreux, visiting Castle Chillon

We landed in Geneva airport at around 8 am and took a train into downtown Geneva.  There was a free ticket machine at the airport that made it easy.  The first thing we did at the Geneva main station was buy a swiss pass for the next 4 days.  This cost us around 250 USD per person, but would give us unlimited rides on trains, buses, and most cablecars. Our first agenda for the day was to walk around Geneva, before heading to Montreux.

Honestly, there did not seem to be much in Geneva.  After putting our bags in the lockers at the station, we first headed to the Jet D’eau.  This is a huge jet of water shooting up into the air.

We walked along a promenade in the Jardin Anglais (English garden) and took some pictures with the jet.

Jet D’eau

Then, we walked to the old town part of Geneva.  We climbed up a hill to the St. Peter’s cathedral, which looked pretty nice from the outside.

We walked inside the church as well, and there were some nice stained glass windows, but nothing you wouldn’t see in other churches.  There was an archeological site in the basement that costs 8 francs, so we skipped it.
Church in old city, Geneva

There did not seem to be much else in old town (seemed pretty dead to me), so we headed back to the station, getting some lunch at Starbucks, on the way.  On the whole, Geneva seemed pretty boring to me, and if I were to plan again, I would skip it.

Collecting our bags, we took a one hour train to Montreux, which is on the eastern end of Lake Geneva.  The train ride passed through the Lavaux wineyards, which were pretty.

Dropping our bags off in lockers at Montreux station, we took a bus to Castle Chillon.  This was a 20 min bus ride.  At the castle, we also bought an audio tour in  English, which I think really enhanced our visit.

I hate tour groups and guides, but the ipod audio tour let us go at our own pace, while learning about the castle.  The tour took around 1.5 hours.  We also walked up to the tall keep in the castle, which offered nice views of Montreux and Lake Geneva.

It was dinner time once we were done at the castle, so we headed back to the station, via bus.  We found a buffet place for dinner, collected our bags from the lockers, and took a bus to our hotel for the night, Hotel Tralala.  The room was small, but clean.  The hotel seemed like a hip spot, and they had music and dancing at night.  Fortunately, the sound did not carry over to our room on the top floor.  They even offered us free drinks when we came in.

Lake Geneva from the promenade in Montreux
Hotel Tralala in Montreux

Compared to the rest of our trip, this was the least interesting day, but a good warm up, since we were jet lagged.

Tomorrow, we head to Interlaken, via the Golden pass!

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