Monday, September 23, 2013

European Trip: Montreux, Switzerland

 We arrived in Montreux about  8pm.  On the way to the hostel we stopped at a small, Middle Eastern restaurant.    The owner was very accommodating and, as small as his store was, he managed to put two tables together for us.  We sat down in the crowded little shop and enjoyed our gyros. Lamb shaved off a skewer.  Delicious!

On the train to Montreux, Switzerland

   As we were eating, I thought back to when, in Milan, Lisa was at an Exchequer changing her American money to Euros.  I happened to notice on the board that showed the change rates for different countries, that there was a Swiss exchange rate.  A thought occurred to me.  I looked up at the prices.  They didn't have the E sign next to the dollar amount.

  "Lisa,"  I said.  "I don't think Switzerland takes Euros."

One of the many lakes amid the Swiss Alps

 I was unfortunately right.  We tried to explain to the man and his partner that we didn't have francs.  They were very nice and in their  mediocre French and my horrible, broken down, grunt level French, we managed to find a bank where I could withdraw money.  One of men accompanied me to help me find it. 

He was very chatty and asked if I was German.  When I informed him I was American he became excited and said, "Vive le Obama!"
    He told me he was Syrian.  When we returned to the shop, he informed the owner where we were from and he became very friendly and told us he was from Turkey.  When they found out we were from Texas they smiled very big and started pantomiming cowboys with their "chapeaux" and "canons" (cowboy hats and guns).
   By the time we left I felt we were bosom buddies.

 They gave us directions to our hostel and we then marched around the lake of Montreux for twenty minutes until we thought it was time to ask someone else.

 I stopped two gentlemen and attempted to ask for directions in my limited French. 

One of the men interrupted me with a wave of his hand.
   "That's not necessary,"  he said. "What do you need?"

I explained our predicament to them. In impeccable English, they explained we had been going in the wrong direction and told us how to get to our hostel.

As we progressed higher into the Alps the sky became overcast and the weather colder.

We were supposed to check in at the hostel around 9pm and it was after 10pm.   Lisa, Ethan, Derek, and I raced our way around Lake Montreux with all our luggage.  It wasn't easy because Derek was also holding a bag with cooking utensils and other supplies we had bought.  Traveling had been hard on the bag and it slowly disintegrated to the point where Derek was trying to pull his luggage with one hand and hold the remains of the bag with the other.  Utensils and bowls kept falling out so we'd have to stop every few minutes and regather everything.

The absurdity of the situation finally hit us and we sat down on the sidewalk and laughed till our sides hurt.

The architecture changed.

Typical Swiss homes

After we laughed until we couldn't, since we were sitting down anyway, we prayed right on the sidewalk that we would be able to get into the hostel.  We then calmed down, picked ourselves up (and our luggage and our cooking utensils) and continued to calmly walk around the lake, enjoying the cooler temperature and mesmerizing scenery. 

We arrived at 11pm and almost missed the man who was to give us our rooms.  He said we were lucky.  He had already left for the night and had returned to retrieve something he had forgotten.  Lisa said no, we're blessed.  

Church with graveyard

 We are now on our way to Interlacken.  We are going to take the panoramic train and are looking for schedules.  It is rainy and 60 degrees here.  Hopefully it will still be scenic.


  1. Wow you had some trip Sharon. The wonders keep piling on!

    I must visit Switzerland someday. The landscapes alone look breathtaking.

    1. Brian: Many people who travel throughout Europe say that the one country they would return to would be Switzerland. It is truly a fairy land.


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