The Retirees go Abroad – Chateau Chillon

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This is our last day in our idyll paradise amongst the vines. We re-organise our suitcases and fold the washing. It is pleasant just to be here watching the sun rise behind our rock lifting the shadows off the mountains we view out our window every morning.

For our last day we plan to sail upon the lake, then walk to Chateau Chillon along the foreshore and then walk on to Montreux. There is a Casino in Montreux which also houses the Museum of Queen (the band) memorabilia which sounds very interesting. The day starts off rather cool but promises to become hot with little cloud or breeze and we continued to fuss around until lunch when we reappraised our plans and decided to skip the boat ride. The 72 Swiss francs would be put to better use at the Casino.

We walked down through the vines to the foreshore and commenced toward the Chateau. Kerry noticed some more sky divers above us but one in particular seemed to be well off course and headed for a watery landing in the lake. This must happen regularly as I could see a rescue boat standing by awaiting the arrival of their first customer.

As we walked along we discovered there are beaches along the lake and people swimming and sun baking – should have brought our togs. Kerry tests the water – the verdict warm enough for swimming.

Our first sighting of the Chateau comes as we pass the swimming pool and clear a small headland. The chateau looks out of place with the modern town behind it, the jets in the sky above it, the steam powered ferry on the lake in front of it, the electric train racing between stations behind it and the expressway funnelling traffic between towns above it.

As we make our way toward the Chateau, we see a crested egret with its chicks and partner enjoying life on the lake. The chicks hide from the camera on their mother’s back.

We arrive at the Chateau after about half an hours walk. Our pace had been slow due to all the distractions. We crossed the bridge and dispensed with the audio guide but followed the guide trail. A very helpful posting in English French and German gave details of the points of interest. The first section was the dungeons. They were used to hold prisoners and produce.

After rising from the dungeons we entered the castle keep and the rooms once occupied by the Constable of the Duke of Savoy and the Dukes of Bern. There was a collection of chests in one of the rooms. I had not realised the significance of these chests to people of the 14th to 19th century. They held everything and were knocked about through the travel form one castle to another. Some were pretty raw and crude and others decorated with grand carving. As transportation became better and travel more secure the chest changed from itinerant to a piece of furniture. One of these pieces (counting from the left picture 7) was recently found in the church at Villeneuve and contained the accounts of Chillon from the 15th century. We also found a door with the largest key hole I have ever seen – the size of Kerry’s hand.

The rooms were fitted with furniture from the period of Bernese occupation and early Savoyard occupation so it was utilitarian and functional. It was also very obvious that it was very cold in winter as attested by the large stoves in bedrooms and the fireplaces in all rooms.

The tour through the Chateau twisted and turned upstairs to the top of the tower above the keep and through dining rooms bedrooms bathroom toilets – there was a room for everything.

Once we finished viewing the chateau we continued to walk along the lake toward Montreaux. Moving at a leisurely pace we walked from the Chateau in under 1 hour enjoying some of the prettiest views Switzerland can offer. A panoramic view of the lake back to the Chateau makes the point.

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