5-5 & 6-19 Geneva, A Castle and a Statue of some guy

After visiting in Bern we drove to Geneva,the starting point for our Insight Tours – Glorious Switzerland adventure. This fit perfectly into our schedule and filled the gap between the end of our river cruise and our departure on the 15th of May. Neither of us had really been to Switzerland and signing on for this tour seemed a good way to get an overview of the Country.

Geneva – Situated along the banks of, you guessed it, Lake Geneva is the Headquarters of Europe’s United Nations,

The Headquarters for United Nations – every member nation has a flag

the Red Cross, UNICEF and a number of other world organizations. Aside from all the. international organizations, it is also the headquarters for some of the best known watchmakers in the world including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Raymond Weil and many others. It also has a very large banking operation so the City isn’t lacking for money.

Our first evening included a welcome dinner at a local restaurant (did I mention we were staying in a 5 star hotel? Hotel d’Angleterre which was wonderful) and tastes of local dishes. Dinner included adult beverages which is always nice.

The Duke of Brunswick gave the City of Geneva his inheritance on the condition they create a mausoleum in the late 1800’s overlooking the Lake for his remains. This is what happens when you have a lot of money to give to a city.

The following morning on the coach (that sounds so much better than bus doesn’t it?) off we went. First stop was The International Monument to the Reformation but usually just called the Reformation Wall.

Reformation Wall – An impressive site .
Here we are at the Reformation Wall

This honors individuals, events and documents of the protestant Reformation depicted as statues and bas-reliefs on the wall.

We have seen this style of fountain (there is a constant stream of water in the middle)  in several different cities both in Switzerland and France!

This is in a lovely park and could certainly get crowded so it was good we were there early.

In memory of the joining of the State of Geneva to the Swiss Confederation

After a stop at the Floral Clock

The Floral Clock – maintained by all the watch makers who have headquarters in the City

we drove by many of the headquarter buildings for the various world organizations.

After leaving Geneva, and driving along the shores of the lake, we stopped at a medieval castle, Chillon. This Castle is a fortress celebrated for its beauty and is widely regarded as one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Europe.

The front of the Castle from the road.
The Chillon Castle as viewed from the water.

The Castle is the former home of the Counts of Savoy (Major power for a very long time in the middle ages) and was immortalized by Byron’s poem, ‘Prisoner of Chillon’. It sits on an outcropping of rock along the banks of the Lake and was a defensive installation and also a place where taxes were collected for goods passing along the road on one side and the river on the other.

The road side of the castle.
Only this one bridge allows access to the castle.
You can clearly see that this place was built on the rock structure
The “cells” of the castle.
On the right is the rampart, on the left a defensive position should anyone get over the rampart.
One of the interior courtyards of the castle
Seems they make wine too! We didn’t sample or buy any of the juice.

Our guide toured us through the structure and pointed out a number of very interesting areas. It was interesting to see the construction of the place and how well it has been preserved over the years.

After touring the castle, we continued our travels around the lake ending up in Montreux.

A view from the coach of the lake – lovely.

Now all I really know about Montreux is they have a world class Jazz Festival each year and have been doing it since 1967 making it possible the longest running festival of its kind and to which I would love to go.

The poster from 1983 festival

This event is 2 weeks of music along the Lake and maybe sometime I’ll be able to attend. There are several other music events throughout the year and the place really is beautiful as it is situated on the Lake with the Alps all around.

Last year a movie was released called Bohemian Rhapsody. I hadn’t seen it prior to being in Montreux but I soon learned the movie was about Freddie Mercury – lead singer for Queen. During the ‘80’s I wasn’t a Queen fan so really had no clue about Freddie or knew anything about him. Well, turns out he spent a lot of time in Montreux and after his death the City erected a statue in his honor

Freddie Mercury looking out over the lake
Janeen doing her Freddy Mercury impression

and there is a Freddie Mercury Montreux Memorial Day festival that has been on-going since 2003. So, of course, we had to stop at the Statue had take a picture or two.

Janeen found some lovely flowers in Montreux
I even got to be in the picture!

After walking around and taking some lovely pictures we had a very nice Italian lunch.

Janeen had a Caffè corretto – an espresso with a shot of grappa. This was the most impressive presentation of taking grappa out of a bottle we have seen.

After leaving Montreux we were off to Zermatt and a visit to the Matterhorn.

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