Saturday, June 21, 2014

Montreaux to Monthey June 21

                                                                                  Current Day.                            Trip to Date

Distance walked- miles.                                                 13.4.                                        524.2

Gross climb- feet.                                                            220.                                      37,310

Song of the Day:  Woodstock, by Crosby, Stills and Nash

By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong

And everywhere there was song and celebration.

We are stardust, we are golden, we caught in the devil's bargain

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

We left Montreaux around 8 this morning.  We were amazed at how quiet everything was.  Perhaps the Swiss were still licking their wounds from Switzerland's loss to France in last night's World Cup game.  After a beautiful walk on Lake Geneva, we came upon Castle Chillon.  A little background on the castle from Wiki:

The oldest parts of the castle have not been definitively dated, but the first written record of the castle is in 1160 or 1005.[1] From the mid 12th century, the castle was home to the Counts of Savoy, and it was greatly expanded in the 13th century by Pietro II. The Castle was never taken in a siege, but did change hands through treaties.

It was made popular by Lord Byron, who wrote the poem The Prisoner Of Chillon (1816) about François de Bonivard, a Genevois monk and politician who was imprisoned there from 1530 to 1536; Byron also carved his name on a pillar of the dungeon. The castle is one of the settings in Henry James's novella Daisy Miller (1878). 

We visited the castle in the late 90's during a visit with Linda's Mom and brother Corey.  Here a few morning shots as we walked by:

We then continued on toward our destination in Monthey.  Funny enough, we had the alps on both sides, but the walk was dead flat!  And a bit boring.  Much of the walk was through industrial areas or wheat fields 

Fortunately, the temp this morning was rather mild in the high 60's, although it warmed up to the high 70's by afternoon.

We saw a lot of dogs on the walk today.  We also saw a lot of dogs in Italy- many of the houses had signs warning us of dogs.  Interestingly, one of our guide books said to be careful with the dogs in France and Italy, because they might attack.  However, it said you don't have to be concerned in Switzerland, because the owners are required by law to get  proper training for their dogs!  Switzerland is a highly regulated country, but the people seem to go along with it.  We need to get the tea party people over here to shake things up!

We then arrived in Monthey, which seemed like a nice, but dead Swiss village.  We were later to learn this is not necessarily the case....

Our hotel is another restaurant that also has rooms for a hotel.   A marginal hotel.   Way over priced at about three times what we paid for similar hotels in Italy.  Our hotel in Montreaux was supposedly a four star hotel, but probably the worst four star hotel we have ever stayed in.  But also the most expensive.   

We decided to take a walk around Monthey to see if anything was happening.  All of a sudden, we come upon several bands playing live music!  Turns out, little Monthey is having a rock music festival!

We sat and watched a bunch of bands play on several different stages.  Here was one of our favorites:

All in all it was a fun time. We ended up eating dinner at the various food stands.  First we had a hot dog.  There was a special machine that had hot dogs in a big glass container filled with hot water.  Then, sticking up were three heated metal poles about 6 inches long and  half inch diameter, with a sharp end.  The attendant then took a baguette and shoved in on one of the metal poles and left it there for a couple of minutes.  This had the effect of both heating and hollowing out the baguette.  She then put ketsup, mustard and mayo in the hole and shoved the hot dog in!  Violia!  A Swiss hot dog!  Next, we had "Tropical Hamburger" where they took a baguette again, sliced it open, took a hamburger patty and cut it in half, put a half on each side of the sliced baguette and then added a topping made of diced carrots and some other vegetable that I didn't recognize.  Actually, not as bad as it sounds.  FInally, we went to the "Hamburger Truk" and ordered a hamburger.  We had the choice of adding fromage (cheese) and lard.  Lard?!  What the hell?  Turns out, lard is actually bacon, and this was one of the best burgers we have had.  

The crowd was made up of people from all age groups, but trending young.  It was interesting for me to see the number of women with tattoos.  While women with tats is certainly a huge trend in the USA, it seems to be the case in Europe as well, even in conservative Switzerland.

A small climb day tomorrow, as we get closer to ascending over the Alps.  Then, on Mon-we'd, we have large ascents as we climb over the Swiss Alps.  On Thursday, we then have a huge descent (a net descent of over 6000 feet in one day) back into Italy. 

Right now, the forecast is for rain on Monday.  Glad I have that new poncho....

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