Switzerland 05-06: Glion/Montreux/Chillon

I had read about a cave. It isn’t put on maps, the idea being that people don’t know about it. But I found it and since we were thinking about what to do at the weekend, I thought we should go there.
Peedee was meant to meet me at about 6 but the first tram wouldn’t get her here until about 7, so we met then instead, walked up to the station, got the tickets and the bread and got on the train. It was another big shiny white one. I was a bit alarmed to see frost on the ground at the western end of Lake Neuchatel – if it’s snowy down here, hiking up in the mountains will be fun!
We had about two minutes to change trains at Lausanne and then when we got to Montreux, we had to find the platform for the cog railway. This was not easy. They don’t seem to like you using any platform other than platform one, so it took us about twenty minutes to get to the other side.
This train had weird seats. The ones facing forwards were normal, but the ones facing backwards tipped right back, so you don’t fall out of them when it starts going uphill. It felt really strange to sit on.
We chugged all the way up, zig-zagging up above Lac Leman on our right, the mountains on the other side were snow-capped, then we went through a tunnel and when we came out, the lake was on our left. I still haven’t figured out exactly how that happened!
We only had tickets to Glion, so we had to get out there to get the tickets for the next stage – except that there is no next stage in the winter except on Sundays. Annoying!! Still, at least we knew now and we had a beautiful view. It was still only 9 in the morning, after we’d spent so long on the train and the sun was only just appearing over the edge of the mountains.

We stayed up there taking photos of the view and of each other (Peedee’s digital camera arrived yesterday) for half an hour, until the train came back and we went back down to Montreux.

Peedee spotted Chateau de Chillon on a map and immediately wanted to go there, so we went looking for a bus stop, although we got distracted by some tiny wooden huts which I had to take photos of Peedee inside. We got the bus and arrived at Chillon. It’s where Lord Byron wrote The Prisoner of Chillon – this is the very dungeon where the prisoner was chained.

It’s a beautiful castle, I’m not entirely sure we saw all of it. There are rooms full of plates and weapons and armour – it almost feels like people are still living in it, not like Neuchatel Castle, which has been more or less converted into a conference centre.
We went back to Montreux and took the train back to Lausanne. I like this station – it has massive lockers that you can store everything in. I was carrying a lot of stuff, ready to go caving and it was good to leave it all. This time, we had an address for Media Markt and the woman at the station told us exactly how to get there. We took a bus to the end of the line, waited about forty-five minutes for another one to take us one stop to where we had to get the third bus, waited there ten minutes and finally ended up in a pretty little town. We walked down the back of it and straight onto the main roads. We had to cross them and walk down them, and then cross them a few more times, but we were finally there. They do not make it easy to get to. Anyway, we were finally here. I found a microphone – they don’t sell them anywhere else apparently, unless you’re willing to pay £70-100 for a stereo one. I also got a nice big card for my camera and some spare batteries for when one set just won’t last long enough. Peedee found a stereo with built-in DVD player, a card and bag for her camera and some other things which I’ve forgotten now, but when we went to pay, we found they don’t take any cards, except Post Cards (not the sort you write on, the yellow sort which come with Post Office accounts) and the cash machine was broken down. Peedee lent me the extra ten francs I needed,we left her stuff and went hunting for a machine.
Media Markt is on a big industrial estate and there are no machines. The man at MacDonalds said he thought there might be one at the station – not Lausanne main station, another one – but we had no idea where that was. Our last hope was a giant Coop – a shopping centre in fact. And they had one!
We got out Peedee’s money, bought her stuff and began the epic journey back to Lausanne. We walked back to the village and got our bus, changed at the next village and from there, we only needed to get one bus. We got dropped off at the top of the hill, so as we were walking down towards the station, I stopped in the little shop I saw last week and bought my knife. Then we left the shopping at the station and went out again, in hunt of house stuff. We looked in a few shops and she bought towels, pots, and stainless steel saucepans. We stopped at the same restaurant again to eat before coming back to the station. It had been a long day, our feet ached and we had a lot to carry. I’d had a lot to start with and now Peedee looked like she was moving house. We dragged the stuff onto the station and waited for our train.

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