Rochers de Naye, Swiss Alps

MONTREUX, AUGUST 2001 – The railway going from Geneva to Montreux follows the borders of the Geneva lake.  After a short visit to the beautiful town of Lausanne, with presumably one of the nicest cathedrals of Switzerland, we went on to Montreux, to visit the world famous ‘Chillon castle’ and to get away for a couple of hours into the mountains.  The Chillon castle, built on a rock in the Geneva lake, seems kind of small when seen from a distance, but when visiting the numerous rooms, cellars, passways and towers, it becomes soon clear this is an immense fortress.  In the past many of its visitors have fallen in love with the castle and its surroundings, among them Lord Byron which has put his name on one of the pillars in the former prisoner cells.  

The wooden passways, that used to be manned by the guards defending this castle, now constantly crack under the burden of the many tourists from all over the world.

Chillon Castle

From the station of Teritet, about a 15 minutes walk from the Chillon castle, a fully automated cable car takes you in 4 minutes time to the station of Glion, from where you can admire the castle once again, now surrounded by views of the mountains.  To be able to really admire the Alps however, we had to go higher, up to a place called ‘Rochers de Naye’, at an altitude of 2041 metres.  The pinion railway train takes you there, a ride that is maybe the most expensive I’ve ever taken but it’s a real adventure and worth every Euro !  Moreover at the very end of the ride, you are on top of Rochers de Naye, and from there the views are absolutely stunning.  On the top, we visited the Alpine garden, which hosts a collection of mountain flowers from the Alps (e.g. the Edelweiss) but also from elsewhere in the world (Himalayas, Andes,…).

Rochers de Naye train station Look this way for Eiger !

What struck me the most was the fast changing landscape.  The many clouds that were there that day played with the sun and the shadows on the mountains, resulting each time in a different scenery.  When it’s clear you can see the Eiger from up here. The bells of the Alpine cows are the only music that is heard here.  Yet another discovery, a small concrete Tibetan chörten – Switzerland hosts the most Tibetan refugees next to India.  We walked around for some hours and saw the lakeside view disappear completely in the mist.  By the time we heard the last train came up to bring us down again, the mist had reached the train station.  But the trip was not over yet.  By the time we reached Glion again, it was raining but we nevertheless decided to walk back to Montreux. It’s an easy path to follow but in rainy conditions, it’s very slippery.  This was a descent some of us will remember for a long time…

We went into Montreux town for diner, admiring the thunder and lighting raging above the lake, from in between the palm trees on a lakeside terasse.  We were all a little tired but yet another experience richer.

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