Day48 Montreux to St Maurice – faux Alps

5:30am alarm….you know the drill by now. But all that ends today (for awhile anyway). Ok, brain is moving too fast…let me back up.

Morning Update Day 48

We had a great nights sleep at the hotel. Did I mention it had one of those articulating beds where you can prop up your head, or more importantly raise your legs? That felt so good on tired legs, let me tell ya. Allison said…”I NEED one of these.” And she said this with a face that indicated there was no more discussion to be had. Gents….you know that face, right. Moving on….

We left the hotel in the morning coolness, knowing that the day would be long. We had the last, and I mean absolutely last optionally long day in our itinerary. With this, we’ve advanced yet another day ahead of our plans and have three rest days in Italy and a buffer day to boot. There is no more rationale to speed along…we can slow down.

Wrapping up the lake walking was pleasant. After leaving Montreaux with its funky art along the lake (including the tribute to Queen’s Freddy Mercury). The sun slowly crept down from the highest peaks and lit them up magically. We actually saw a castle early this morning. It sits on a little island right in Lake Léman. It was rather like a storybook.

The Chillon Clastle (Chateau de Chillon) was the last to be conquered in the Bernese assault on the Savoy. See more here:

The castle held its place in history due to its beauty. Painter Gustav Courbet used it as his subject frequently during his exile from France.

Chillion Castle

We bid the lake a farewell at the town of Villeneuve and headed into the gorge that would be our home for the next few days. We visited another Decathlon store (to replace a broken plastic spork), passed the Nestle headquarters and a Grey Pupon plant. Otherwise the walk into the gorge was uneventful. The scenery however became ever more dramatic.

Quirky art along the Lake

The gorge is the result of a glacier that has retreated over the centuries. The bordering mountains begin far apart and slowly mover closer. The range know as the Dents de Midi (teeth of the south) are snow capped year round.

Cool peak

Then came a momentous decision. We’d toyed with the idea of various stopping places for the day. We didn’t want a repeat of yesterday. We had to decide between a long day or two short days. If we chose the long day we then had to snooze the long or short way to get there.

Dents de Midi

So we stopped for a 30 minute break at 10 am and made some decisions about our stopping point and called ahead for a spot. I am thankful for small blessings as the Abbaye of St Maurice had room for us. And the Abbaye has quite the history too. It was built into the side of a rock cliff.


Alps, or this to stare at during a break and call with Rodney

The long day would take us through charming towns and some elevation with many kilometers or the shorter way which would shave off kilometers but be boring and flat along a train track. So we chose flat and boring since this after yesterday we need a break in km’s.

Model of Abbaye of St Maurice

Legend of Theban legion.

Abbaye doors

We made it to our destination of St Maurice and found the church (Abbaye) fairly easily. We walked into the reception area to find a fellow American needing a little assistance. We struck up a conversation and voila, we are now friends. And her little problem was solved. We exchanged phone numbers and Mona later met us for a glass of wine. Tomorrow morning we will meet to begin walking for the day. I love how friendships are made on these walks.

Night viewing the Abbaye

The village of St Maurice is famous for the legend of the Thebian Legion. This town used to hold a temple to the Roman God Mercury. At the decree of the Emperor all legionaries had to offer a sacrifice here en route to Gaul. Maurice, a commander of the Thebian legion was a Christian and refused to worship the Roman gods and was martyred. A chapel was built here on the sight of his martyrdom.

The strategic location controlled the entry into Italy and was the sight of numerous military conquests over the years.

Tomorrow will be a short day in km’s but will contain our first major elevation. We will sleep in (wake up at 6 vs 5:30). Woohoo! So why is today’s subtitle “Faux Alps”. Because we saw many but climbed few. This all changes tomorrow.

Day47 Lausanne to Montreux- Grapes

We woke again early this morning and had a good breakfast at the Lausanne hostel. We both had cereal with milk – something I rarely have at home but had been desiring for a while. The coffee was bottomless – bonus.

Morning Update Day47

Disappointingly the mountains across the lake were shrouded by cloud so we missed the magic hours for photography, but throughout the day the clouds lifted and we drew closer with every step to the steep peaks of the Alps.

But after walking for a few hours out of the sprawling Lausanne suburbs (the rich Riviera side of town this time), the landscape changed from suburban to vineyards. For the remainder of the day until the last couple of hours we were surrounded by Swiss vineyards.

What? You’ve never had a Swiss wine? Well that’s because they don’t export the stuff. As they say “it’s just too good to send away”.

Anyway the vines were loaded with fruit – the harvest must be coming soon. The vineyards grew ever steeper with the vines being terraced to capture every last ray of sunlight. Vineyards of ripe black Pinot Noir mixed with a golden yellow grape variety known as Chasselas spread for miles and miles.

Now today’s journey was around lake Leman so you’d expect it to be quite gentle and flat, right? Well I did. Actually I did know that the path went up and down just a bit into a village or two. But boy did I underestimate it. Today was both long and tough. The ups and the downs were so steep that my knees were aching before lunchtime.

We did stumble onto a wine tasting tent around noon. The gentleman there gave us a tasting of two of the wines for free. He gave it to us as a gift toward our journey which was very nice. We also asked where the nearest grocery was and he told us it was about 45 minutes away. I forgot to factor in that travel time was by car. Mark kept pointing out all the restaurants we passed. I was sure we were almost to the grocery store. Well, by 2:30 pm we finallly had our lunch supplies.


We ate sitting by the lake and enjoyed people watching. It was a beautiful day after all so there was a buzz of activity. Kids and families were out playing in the sun and water sports of all flavors thrived. The area is known as the Swiss Riviera after all. You can tell by the video though that we (I) was getting pretty tired.

We stumbled into our final destination of Montreux still without a place to sleep. In “desperation” we stopped by a hotel and begged for a cheap room. Well….we for a room. It was at the discount price of 170SF ($187/night). Sadly this was actually a decent price. To make up for it we had ramen for dinner ($35 from the supermarket). Folks…I kid you not, this place is crazy expensive.

We did get treated to some awesome sunset views.

Tomorrow we leave the “Swiss Riviera” and enter the gorge valley. The adventure continues.