Today was a day of rest – well sort of rest. We walked for about 45 minutes on a wonderful, FLAT walkway along the side of Lake Geneva. Montreux has done an inspiring job of landscaping the space between the lake and the walkway. There also were many interesting sculptures and we enjoyed photographing as we walked to Chillon.
Several of the sculptures were about gymnastics.
We passed a very interesting tree that we thought might be a cork tree. Shirley was examining the trunk.
This is the tree.
There were a few ducks in the water that we did not recognize.
We also photographed a family of swans. We had never seen juvenile swans before. They came out of the water and onto the grass to eat.
Here are 4 of them together just happily eating the grass.
We got very, very close to them.
I was just saying how different they are from geese when one of the parents hissed a bit.
Our walk ended at Chillon which is a fascinating castle to visit. It is known as Switzerland’s most visited historic monument. I took a couple of photos of it from a distance
Shirley took this photo of the castle from above as she was watching an instructional video while we were at the castle.
Shirley and I both paid for the audio tour which helped to give us information that told us about the daily life of the Court of Savoy and also of the Bernese bailiffs.
I am not very good at remembering facts but these are a few about Chillon that stuck in my head:
- The entire castle was built on a rocky island which functioned both a natural protection and a strategic location to control the passage between northern and southern Europe.
- Each hall or room unveils a part of the castle’s history.
- The architecture of the underground rooms is reminiscent of the Gothic cathedrals of the 13th
- It was influenced by three major periods: the Savoy Period, the Bernese Period, and the Vaudois Period
- There were 4 different courtyards.
- Three formal great halls and looked out over the wonderful views of Lake Geneva through the window openings.
- The chapel has 14th century paintings on the ceiling that luckily escaped the iconoclastic zeal of the Reformation.
- The fireplace medieval kitchen was very interesting.
- There were some wooden boards left in one of the crowns of the vaulted ceilings. They are unique evidence that show the medieval method of construction.
- The latrines were used to evacuate waste, either human or rubbish, right into the water below. There were actually 2 of these holes near one another. The double openings suggested that they were for communal use.
- Castles of the time were usually whitewashed, but people of today like to see them in their original stone.
- The Chevron designs on the walls were the medieval type of wallpaper.
- Blue color used on walls indicated wealth because it was very expensive to obtain.
- Francios Bonivard was the castle’s most famous prisoner. He was captured in 1530 due to his anti-Savoyard stance and he ended up chained to the 5th pillar in the prison. He was freed by the Bernese in 1536. In the early 19th Century, the poet Lord Byron lauded him in his “Prisoner of Chillon.”
- Lord Byron wrote his name in the wall of the prison.
I have made a few collages of the photos I took at the castle (including some that Shirley took of an informational video she was watching. They are not in chronological order.
These are some of the chests from the period that were displayed.
In one of the areas they had a shadow box show with characters moving across the screen depicting the people of the time. We thought it was cool.
Shirley took a photo of me walking along the ramparts at the castle.
Yes, this was a rest day, but our walk to Chillon and going up and down the multitude of stairs in the castle meant we actually walked over 10,000 steps today. There were a lot of stairs to climb in the castle.
We took the bus back to our hotel and rushed – no literally ran – to the Gar to catch the train. This is the second day that we have caught a train by the skin of our teeth. We are really good at this.
We only had to transfer trains once today, but much to our surprise – the Gruyéres train stop is not in the village of Gruyéres. We had to take a bus to the village. Since we had about 15 minutes before the bus was leaving, we went to see the Guryéres Cheese factory. The demonstrations were over, but we watched the video on how the cheese is made.
Our hotel in Guryéres is lovely.
We walked all through the town and also visited the Chatteau Guryéres. Here is a view of the church from the castle.
It was a lovely little town.
We went out for dinner. I had mac and cheese made with Guryéres cheese and Shirley had Raclette with potatoes, pickles, and pickled onions.
Raclette was very interesting. The cheese was served on a device that heated the cheese and melted it from the top. Shirley scrapped the cheese off and put in onto her potatoes. Raclette is a very traditional Swiss dish.
This really has been a restful day compared to the past few