The castle sits at the eastern tip of Lake Geneva, about 20 miles east of Lausanne (and about a mile east of Montreux)
This medieval castle is remarkably well-preserved, it has never been damaged or destroyed — always inhabited, always maintained. The Savoy family (their seal is the skinny red cross on the towers) enlarged it to its current state in the 13th century, when this was a prime location — at a crossroads of a major trade route from England and France to Rome.
Bonivard’s Prison, named for a renegade Savoy who was tortured here for five years
When the Romantic poet Lord Byron came to visit, Bonivard’s story inspired him to write The Prisoner of Chillon, which vividly recounts a prisoner’s dark and solitary life (“And mine has been the fate of those / To whom the goodly earth and air / Are bann’d, and barr’d — forbidden fare,” full text available in the gift shop). You can still see where Byron scratched his name in a column.
Randy ponders life while sitting on a 700 year-old toilet.
The inside of the clock tower.
Views from the highest tower in the castle, the top of the keep. The 130 stair climb was worth the panoramas.
After we had sufficiently toured the castle, we walked outside to the docks for a photo-op and some ice cream.
Empty ramp overlooking the water
+ these two dorks
oh, yes we did.
How we really looked to onlookers (read: ridiculous)
The ice cream pit stop is worth mentioning because 1) it was amazing Swiss chocolate ice cream 2) it was the very spot pictured below where Jacob lost his Fitbit, and 3) this shirtless photoshoot in the courtyard was our snack-time entertainment.
After a fruitless search for the aforementioned Fitbit, we left the castle and made our way to Montreux on the path along the lake.
They are awkward, but I so love these photos of me and Tam.
The walk to Montreux along the water was really beautiful.
Cable cars up the mountainside in Montreux.
On our walk we came across a bunch of great sculptures made out of branches that represented different movies. This one: Jurassic Park.
Wow. Even now, this seems too pretty to be real.
So nice I thought you should see it twice.
Another one! The Lion King
This is the look I get after the 2ooth “Jacob, stand over there. Smile!” of the day.
Daughter of a classic rock enthusiast nerd moment: This is the famous Montreux Casino.
Deep Purple came to Montreux in December 1971 to record Machine Head. The band’s famous song “Smoke on the Water” tells of the events of December 1971, when a Frank Zappa fan with a flare gun set the Montreux Casino on fire, destroying the casino where they had originally planned to record the album.
My favorite of the statues: Hagrid and the Hippogriff from Harry Potter
Another classic rock icon in Montreux is the statue of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.
Montreux was the subject of the 1995 Queen single “A Winter’s Tale” on the album Made in Heaven, one of Freddie’s last songs before his death on November 24, 1991. The album cover features the statue of Mercury beside the lake.
After we paid our respects to Freddie, we did some souvenir shopping (Cuckoo clocks!) and promptly decided we were starving and ready for a feast.
But not just any feast. Swiss fondue.
Oh my gosh, this meal was amazing. Traditional Swiss fondue is Gruyère and another kind of cheese melted in a pot and served with bread, fingerling potatoes, pearl onions and gherkin pickles. Beyond delicious.
We all but licked the bowl clean.
As for the rest of the evening, there may have been some wii karaoke and dance games involved, and it may have all been captured on video, but I’ll spare your eyeballs and show you Henry’s opinion of our singing and dancing skills instead.
Next up in our Swiss adventures: a chocolate factory and cheese galore!
AND In case you missed the first three days of our trip: