Published: July 30th 2009July 16th 2009
We had an early train booked (yet again) and due to the timing and the fact it the station we needed to go to wasn’t walking distance we were forced to catch a cab to the station and yet again ripped off an obscene amount of money for a 5 minute cab ride. (I hate taxis, don’t like them at home and really don’t like them in Europe so far). All settled in at the station we find our train has been delayed by 30 minutes, that’s okay still time to connect in Milan.....then 30 minutes turned into 75 minutes and ohh shit, we won’t make the Milan connection. Some quick investigation and paying an upgrade we were on the main train station (yeah, that would have been the one we could have walked to for FREE) and we were off on schedule to Milan.
From Milan we picked up a train to Brig and connected through to Bex where we were to catch a cog train to Gryon. In all, the scenery for the day was amazing however this is no way around it, train travel is just plain boring and after sitting down doing nothing for the full day. (we left the hostel at 6am and arrived in Gryon around 3.30pm, arriving into Gryon was heaven, a total breath of fresh air.
So what’s at Gryon? Well there is a fantastic hostel there called Chalet Martin for staters. With a huge kitchen and a great set up there is plenty to do within the hostel and if you are adventurous plenty outdoors as well. We have come to Gryon to relax, stop and chill out for a little while. Jay has been travelling now for 6 months and me 5, we need the rest.
The staff here are fantastic with an Australian guy, Matt, who bought into a partnership after working at the Chalet for many years runs the joint with his wife Elizabeth. It feels like a big family and makes it so much easier to chill. Jay and I made firm friends with everyone at Chalet Martin, many of whom seem to have come for a holiday and forgot to leave and other fellow travellers, particularly Josh from Bermuda.
Josh has a wicked sense of humour, could recite comedic skits in an instant and all up a great guy to hang around with, watch movies, attempt jigsaw puzzles and board games teaching us how to play the strategic game of Risk and alas, Jay & I teamed up with him and Jay won. Although Josh actually ventured out of the building more often during the day than us and went Parasailing one of the days and the thermal spas down the mountain.
The view from our room is of snow capped mountains and lush green valley’s below. Up the road there is the ski resort village of Villars and back down the mountain and out from Bex it is just a short train trip to Montreux on Lake Geneva and Geneva itself. If you are up to it you can go parasailing - the pictures look fantastic, but I like my feet firmly on the ground, or you can go hiking up any number of mountains you want or even a trip to the thermal spas. There is more than enough to keep you busy here.
Days consisted on heading down to the small store/deli for top up food and drinks and every other morning I’d pop down for fresh bread for breakfast. We did manage to head out a couple of times to Villars (a ski resort in winter) for some shopping and to go up one of the mountains for a bit of a walk/hike around to a cool lake and hiked it back down the mountain. On the Saturday Jay, Myself and Josh went to the Montreax Jazz Festival for an easy afternoon wondering around the stalls and eating as there wasn’t a lot of Jazz being played. Found out that Freddy Mercury and Queen did a lot of their recordings in Montreax and there is a large statue of Freddy on the waterfront. Overall we did do a lot of reading and watched plenty of movies of a night time in the very cool theatre room down stairs.
The Saturday happened to be my birthday and the staff and other travellers all got together and organised a Mojito night with everyone making a dish to contribute to a BBQ spread. It was an awesome night and a fantastic way to spend a Birthday with new friends and a great excuse for all to indulge.
In total we spent 10 nights at Gryon a place that you can forget to leave as it is so nice and the Chalet Martin so homely. My birthday fell over this period and everyone (staff and other travellers) treated me with a wonderful birthday barbeque and drinks and a great excuse to party.
From Gryon we went to Zurich for a night and a chance to catch up with one of Jay’s old friends, James and his wife Maya. With Maya having grown up in Zurich we had our own local guide for a lazy walk around Zurich with a few bar stops along the way. We saw more than we thought we would and it was great to catch up with some of Jay’s friends as well. Tomorrow it’s Austria.