The weather was a little gloomy as we stood outside the hotel entrance.
“Weather forecast says light rain,” I quoted.
“Well, I hope they are wrong.”
“Hope so too.”
Nevertheless, we went ahead with our plan for the day. Again, we will be leaving Lausanne and exploring other parts of the canton. This is all down to the efficiency of the train system in Switzerland. I would never had tried this back home. It would be an utter waste of time. Trains back home don’t run on schedule and we are not even sure did we missed the train. But here, we are safe in the knowledge that if we were to be present on the platform at the designated time, we are sure to be on the train.
Our destination for the day, one of the famous castles in Switzerland — Château de Chillon. A castle made famous by Lord Byron in his work The Prisoner of Chillon. Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t carve his name there because he was the prisoner, the prisoner in his story was someone else.
“Who was it?”
” A certain guy with the name François de Bonivard.” read the wife from the guidebook.
We had time to kill so we went by train. To get really close by public transport, it is better to take the bus. But we wanted to enjoy the lakeside views, so the train it was. Our stop? Veytaux-Chillon.
The castle is unique in such a way because it lies on an outcrop of land just beside the Lake Geneva shoreline. Over the years and through numerous conquerors, the castle has grown to the impressive shape that it is now. There are about 100 plus buildings that make up the castle and for the tour, you will be visiting almost 40 of them. All for the price of CHF12 per person although it comes free with our Swiss Pass.
The château costs CHF12 per entry, but it is FREE with the Swiss Pass
It was a brisk 15-minute walk alongside the lakeside from the station to the castle. We were early and had the place all to ourselves. You can check out the small garden and walk along the dock just outside the castle for free. A good place for those photoshoots that you had in mind. With the Alps as your backdrop, what more could you ask for?
“Nope, those aren’t UFOs hovering on top of the castle.”
Upon entering, you get to experience the castle through some interactive multimedia exhibits. It will give you an idea before you venture further into the castle. Do not worry, all you need to do is to follow the numbers, Room 1, 2, 3 and so on and so forth.
There are a couple of interesting rooms along the way, unfortunately, this tour is not for the faint of heart or for the disabled. There are plenty of stairs to climb and down. One of the most interesting was the free fall toilet, all your poop will be dumped into the lake below. At least there won’t be any leftover smells.
You won’t miss Lord Byron’s carving. It is encased in glass.
Another must-see item when you visit this castle is obviously the carving made by Lord Byron. A well-celebrated item of graffiti if I would say so.
At one point in the journey, you will be able to make your way up to the tower. We didn’t pass it up and had a great view of the countryside.
If you still haven’t fallen in love with the Swiss countryside, let me give you a small taste of it.
Although this is Switzerland’s most visited historic monument, I would suggest that you pair it up with a visit to the nearby surrounding towns. Be expected to spend at least two hours here. Another suggestion would be to arrive early if you’re planning a morning visit, this is to avoid the tour buses and the loads of “outerworldly” tourists. Among the towns that you could visit along the way are Montreux, Vevey and Villeneuve.
If that’s your cup of tea, just follow me and I will be posting some of my trips to these areas soon!
(to be continued)