France Road Trip travel blog

view from the garage...not bad!

France is very dog friendly!

beautiful Chamonix and Mont Blanc--to think I was up there yesterday

view from the top crossing into Switzerland

at Chillon

one of the fireplaces in the castle

unflattering angle for a swan

vineyards up the hillside

risk of handing your camera someone, you get a picture with the...

endless beautiful lake views

correction-the silk workshop in Lyon uses 15 different screens, not 1--thanks to my sister, a great editor!

An early start on Tuesday to get to the garage by 9:00. They were very helpful, figured out what I needed and arranged to have the right tire brought in from a neighboring town. It meant spending the day in Chamonix, but that is no hardship. The weather may be even nicer today. The view of the mountains from the garage was fabulous. I decided to figure out another Laundromat and get caught up on all that while I had the time. Then I explored Chamonix some more, had a great lunch in a sidewalk café—tartiflette, a cheese, onion, potato, bacon, cream thing. After that I wandered down the street and had a nutella crepe. I took the little tourist train around the town, covering some territory I walked yesterday! In the late afternoon I made my way back to the garage, and by 5:15 I was ready to go. I was pleasantly surprised with my bill (in the land of $8.00 fuel) The tire, a new Michelin, mounted and put on the car was only about $150. That will probably be the last bargain for a while as I am entering Switzerland! I went over the ‘hill’ to Switzerland on a very winding road—lots of switchbacks, but turned into freeway after I got down in the valley. After fueling up and buying my Swiss road tax sticker, I found the hotel near Montreux and settled in.

Wednesday morning dawned bright and clear. I suppose the rain will find me again, but not today! I decided to spend the day in this area and not go into the city (Lausanne). Turned out to be a good decision. Now that I am out of France, the hotel is including a more substantial breakfast, so I fueled up for the day and headed out to Chateau Chillon. This castle occupies a rocky island just off the lake shore, and has been a fortress since the 1100’s or earlier. The location gives it a natural moat on one side, and the expanse of the lake makes it easy to defend on the other side. It was in use as a military defense through the 1700’s, with defenses added over the centuries (like widening the arrow slit to allow for rifles, and adding another row of ramparts). Different rooms were refurbished according to the different eras of the castle. There were dining and governing halls on the lake side with large picture windows with great views, which is unusual for an old castle, but defenses were not such a concern on the water side. Almost every room had a huge fireplace, and I got into taking my picture standing in the fireplaces until there were just too many! There were great dungeons, and I climbed up to the ramparts surrounding the castle, but declined to climb the tower!

I made my way back to the car, and drove along the lakeshore to Vevey, a small town on the lake. They call this the Swiss Riviera, and it does have that look. There are a lot of buildings from the 1890’s with that elegant look, and I even saw a few palm trees. Of course having 80 degree weather adds to the feeling. One of my chores today was to find an ATM and get Swiss Francs. You would think being Switzerland, there would be a bank on every corner, but it took me a while to find one. Fortunately I was able to use Euros for lunch! The town had a lakefront walkway with lots of flowers, benches, and swans in the lake. Lots of people were spending their lunch hour enjoying the weather along with the tourists. I drove on further along where vineyards climbed up the steep hills along the lake then return t o Montreux to enjoy their lakefront, and to end the day with a boat ride that looped around the lower end of the lake for an hour and a half, stopping at several little towns on both the Swiss and French sides of the lake. This was a very pleasant and relaxing day.

Tomorrow I head north for more Switzerland. I’ll have to get used to hearing German for a few days now!

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