We arrived at Vevey train station with an hour to spare. The rain was still trickling down but there was a hint of sunlight peeking from behind the clouds.
“I do hope the weather changes for the better, we have much to do.” I said.
We took off our shoes and lay them right in front of us, they were soaking wet, we need to dry our socks as much as possible. Rainwater has caused them to be soggy and wet. No one wants to walk 5km in soggy sneakers. The trick seemed to have work as we snacked and waited for the train.
The train arrived promptly and we were the only tourists to board the train. It can be either two things, nobody does this kind of trip or the weather has forced a lot of tourists to change plans. We were heading towards the hillside town of Chexbres. This would be our starting point for our trip into the UNESCO Heritage — Lavaux Vineyards.
Tip: Take a train to Chexbres and walk downwards to St Saphorin or Rivaz. A two-hour trip across the Lavaux Vineyards
“The guidebook says that you can walk all along the whole of the Lavaux area,” read the wife.
It wouldn’t be too surprising considering the size of the vineyards. If I’m not mistaken, I read it somewhere that it stretches 30km from Château Chillon all the way until Lausanne. Our itinerary all but covers probably 5% of the area, although we would be walking through three towns in the process. The walk is suitable for all ages, although I would prefer that you have experience in reading maps and have a good sense of direction.
The vineyards are terraced along the hillside and there are plenty of roads and paths that criss-crosses through the entire area, one wrong turn can double your distance as you might need to double back.
Certain vineyards allow you to order for overseas purchases!
For the connoisseurs of wine, it is recommended that you walk along the terraces for a sampling of the various wines available from the independent winemakers along the way. We, on the other hand, have no interest in it. But it is said that you could find a particular flavour that is worth buying a bottle or two of. Some even allow you to fill up a form and have it shipped overseas!
Getting into St Saphorin is easier than getting out as it is a downhill process. The grade is steep, probably around 20-25 degrees. So it takes a bit of an effort to climb back up!
The town of St Saphorin is small and could be a nice place for you to relax and have a quiet meal. There is an old church and a quaint cobblestoned courtyard in front which you could refill your water bottle and watch the world go by.
“Don’t lie. There is no people watching here,” exclaimed the wife.
She told the truth, we sat there for half an hour only to find a few families walking to get a meal and some of them were coming back from a hike. In case you haven’t noticed in the last few pictures, the sun was already shining when we were at the vineyards. The weather gods have finally answered our prayers!
Do not worry too much when you are planning for a hike in this area. Just identify the towns that you wish to see and check them out on Google. The most important thing is to start and end at a town with a train connection. And prepare to have one in the middle which does too, just in case you’ve spent too much time photographing and wine-sampling that it is not possible for you to make it to the final destination.
For our itinerary, I had St Saphorin marked as the intermediate stop. Since time was still on our side, we went back up into the terraces for our final destination of Rivaz.
In case you’re still wondering how big the place is:
We arrived at Rivaz weary and tired. The soggy sneakers have already dried up and we were at the end of our journey. The reason for picking Rivaz was because of the food, which I will share in another post.
Tip: If walking is not your cup of tea, just take the train and look out the window at the vineyards
The Lavaux Vineyards is not necessarily a must-see. You could even have a view of them whenever you take the train along Lac Leman just after Lausanne in the direction of Villeneuve. Just make sure you sit on the left side of the train. I personally took it as a challenge because it is not every day that I could visit a UNESCO Heritage site, and what better way than to enjoy it on foot.
(to be continued)