Lake Geneva cruise, Chillon Castle, Rhine falls

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June 6th 2010
Published: June 11th 2010
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If I had to pick my two favorite days, it would probably be today and yesterday. Yesterday because of the mountain and lunch, and the general beauty of the scenery, today because of the castle we went through, viewing the Rhine falls, and getting to go on another cruise.

Since I have been getting up at 6:30 AM every day anyway, I got up a little earlier, went out on my balcony, and took some pictures of the sun coming up over the Alps across the lake. It was pretty, but not as cold as I thought it might be before the sun came up.

Thankfully, after breakfast, we did not have to tear ourselves away from Montreux yet, as the castle we were going to tour next was on another side of the city. Chillon Castle was built on a natural island not too far out in Lake Geneva, and has a long history, but was ruled for much of its history by the Savoy family. It held several important guests and/or prisoners once: Lord Byron, the poet, and Francois de Bonivard, a political and religious dissident. I believe that the guide said it is the most visited castle in Switzerland, and that many of the foreign vacationers who come to Montreux also go through it. Once inside the castle, the scenery is awesome: deep blue water all around and the Alps surrounding the whole town and lake. We had a guided tour for half an hour, and then another half hour to explore the castle. The castle itself is actually quite small, but visitors can go almost everywhere in the castle. The tour guide was the best we have had so far.

After Chillon Castle, we walked to the dock that was close by and were picked up by a boat there to cruise around Lake Geneva for about an hour and a half. It was cold, but really nice. We crisscrossed the lake several times, picking up people and dropping them off at other towns clustered around the lake.

All too soon, it was time to get off and get back on the bus for a most-of-the-afternoon drive. The only break other than lunch at a truck stop was a stop to look at the Rhine Falls. Most of us were expecting a nice little waterfall or something, and instead we saw a large mass of water rushing over rocks and throwing up spray everywhere. Unfortunately we had to pay to go in, but once in there was a series of walks that took people right down to water-level next to the falls to observe the water. That part of the place was pretty wet, but secure, since the company had tunneled through the solid rock on one side of the falls for people to get next to it. On the other side, there must have been some kind of tunnel or bridge to the center of the falls, because we saw people standing on a rock formation in the middle of the falls, and we could not get to it from our side. There were also people in boats who got much closer to the falling water than I would want to get.

After observing the falls, we piled back in the bus to drive the rest of the way to our town for the night, Freiburg. The drive itself was probably the best drive of the whole trip, since we were passing through the Black Forest. I did not realize Europe still had such large forests,
Chillon Castle 1Chillon Castle 1Chillon Castle 1

Most of my inside pictures came out dark, so I will have to wait until I get home and can work with my software before I can post them.
I figured most of them would have been cut down during the Industrial Revolution. Probably many were, but there has been a long time in between to plant more. For most of the afternoon we passed through the Black Forest, and it really did look black back in there. I would have loved an opportunity to walk through it.

Once in Freiburg, we went to eat at an out-of-the-way German food place. I had two schnitzels (though I had ordered only one) with a nice salad and fries. The food was great, and since it was Sunday, there were not many people around, much less visitors. The hotel was kind of weird. I love the color green, but the walls were painted green, the tile was green, the soaps were green, the carpet was green, it was a little too much green. Other than the room being a little stuffy, it was a nice place to spend the night.

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