On the train one more time to Chateaux de Chillon

Trip Start Sep 09, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Switzerland  , Geneva,
Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday, June 1st Geneva

Today we are actually up fairly early. We have some tentative items on our agenda we want to cover, but are not sure of what to do first.   The Chateau du Chillon is one place that rates high in all the travel books, so we want to see that.  However, it is at the very opposite end of Lake Geneva and the instructions about getting there seem a bit daunting.  However, we research a little more and decide to venture out.

We need to get back to the train station and then head to Lausanne and change trains to one going to Veuteaux Chillon - just after Montreaux. The town of Montreaux is the place that has the big annual music festival with all the famous people.  It turns out it is the week after next.  I am glad we missed that.

We change trains correctly and count the stops until we are to get off.  We walk through the tunnel under the tracks and are immediately greeted with a view of the Chateaux. It is literally built out in the water and looks like it is floating.  This big castle is just gliding on the blue green waters of Lac Leman. (That's what the locals call Lake Geneva)

We walk about 10 minutes on the quai and we are there. This is a fantastically restored castle except they are called chateaux in France.  I know, we are in Switzerland but it is really, really close to France. Upon closer look we see it is actually built on a big rock: a really big rock.  This is the first real moat with actual water in it that I have seen.  We get to cross a drawbridge to get in.  The castle looks like it may have looked back in the 1500's when it was first constructed.  There are courtyards and turrets, castle lookout walks and a tall keep in the center. 

We get an audio guide and begin our journey.  The guide is really good.  There is of course narration that explains what we are viewing, but there is also music and sound effects which provide atmosphere.  Our first stop is the dungeon.  We go down narrow stairs and see barrel vaulted ceilings and rooms running the length of the castle on the side facing the lake.  It is neat because you can see the rocks on which the rooms were built for they are actually part of the walls. We get to wander all around.  Through little doors and hallways and into what used to be a crypt and small chapel underground. 

We climb back up to courtyard level and move further into the castle.  We enter several grand halls, each with massive fireplaces.  The audio guide describes what we see and tells us stories about the events that took place in the rooms we view.

We climb stairs and see the residence area of the royals who lived here. There was a furnished bedroom and it was funny to see how small the beds were.  Some of the paintings on the walls were restored, and some were barely visible.  There must have been 2 dozen rooms open to the tour.  There were narrow hallways, spiral staircases, and even secret passageways which were really fun to explore.

We climbed up to the tops of those circular turrets you always see on castles and walked around the night watch walkways on top of the castle walls.  There were canons and armor of knights from the medieval days on display in a couple of areas.  One grand hallway also had multiple pieces of furniture from those days also.  Most everything was a trunk.  They had multiple duties - transport the kings' possessions and serve as furniture in the castle.  Kind of like the concept I use - never buy any furniture you can't store something in also. See, they were practical even then!  Or, maybe I am a descendent from royalty and the concept is genetic?

We spent nearly 3 hours exploring and wandering every inch of the castle we could.  It was a beautiful day and a grand adventure.
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