Day 2 on the Glorious Switzerland itinerary by Insight Vacations begins in Geneva and ends in the snowy mountains of Zermatt, Switzerland.
Book your next Insight Vacation to Glorious Switzerland 2020 Summer Tour! Here’s an overview of the itinerary:
Day 1 – Geneva (Switzerland)
Day 2 – Geneva, Montreux, Chillon and Zermatt (Switzerland)
Day 3 – Zermatt (Switzerland)
Day 4 – Stresa and Baveno (Italy)
Day 5 – Grison Alps and St. Moritz (Switzerland)
Day 6 – Vaduz (Liechtenstein) and Lucerne (Switzerland)
Day 7 – Lucerne and Stanserhorn (Switzerland)
Switzerland’s official name in Swiss is Confederacion de Helvetia. The people living in Switzerland before were Celtic and they were called the Helveti by Julius Caesar.
We began our day with the highlights of Geneva, passing by Lake Geneva or Lac du Leman, the Floral Clock and some notable international organizations that are based in Geneva like the United Nations, UNICEF, Red Cross, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization and Red Crescent. The inventor of the Worldwide Web also resides in Geneva.
We strolled through the Promenade de Bastion, at the heart of which was the Reformation Monument. Coincidentally, I was watching Mary Queen of Scotts on Etihad on the way to Geneva. Geneva has a long history of the Protestant movement. The park is a tribute to the fathers of Protestantism like Calvin and Knox.
Switzerland is known for high standards, which can be seen in the quality of their knives, watches and chocolate. We passed the countryside on the way to Montreux like the Nestle head quarters. They invented the milk chocolate. They own everything!
Switzerland also makes Swiss wines from white grape varieties like Fendant, Heida and Marsanne. They also produce ice wine in the hillside vineyards of Switzerland. Since they don’t produce a lot of wine and the people consume most of what is produced, Switzerland doesn’t really export any bottles.
Montreux is a charming hill town that overlooks Lake Geneva with a view of the French Alps in the distance.
Montreux hosts the Jass Festival every July. Right at the edge of the lake is the Freddie Mercury Monument. Queen recorded their last 4 albums there. Lunch was kanya kanya.
Pronounced “shee-yon”, Chillon is known for the medieval castle that once housed the Counts of Savoy as well as prisoners. Chillon Castle was visited by the writer Lord Byron, who was basically the cassanova of his time and plagued by scandals. He traveled to Switzerland until the flames died down, and he found himself in Chillon Castle. It became famous because of the prisoner Francois Bonivard who Lord Byron wrote a song about. The song became a hit in 22 countries!
Fun Fact: The poet Percy Shelley and writer Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley) spent a summer at Lord Byron’s castle near Geneva. One rainy day, the young writers decided to pass the time by writing, and Lord Byron wanted to spice things up by suggesting that they each write a horror story. That was when Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was born. The novel aptly describes the Swiss Alps where Frankenstein’s monster roamed.
When the Bernese occupied Chillon Castle after the Savoie, and they ruled for the next 500 years. They changed the design of the castle, white-washing the walls and painting over them with more nature-centric art. Conquering powers never sleep in the same quarters as the previous ruling power, and that is why the Bernese sprinkled black powder in the sleeping powder of the Savoie to show disrespect.
Zermatt means “on the meadow”, while Matterhorn means “above the meadow”. They speak Swiss German, which is the most popular language in Switzerland (62% of the population). Only about 20% speak French and 15% Italian.
We took a scenic drive past the Rhone Valley bound for the train station in Tasch, passing sprawling meadows with creeks and hillside terraces that grew wine grapes. In Tasch, we boarded a Cogwheel Train bound for the snowy alpine town of Zermatt up in the mountains which had a great view of Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains.
That evening, we had a “Dine-around” which meant we all got to pick from 3 different restaurants for dinner. I initially signed up for Hotel Pollux only to realize that Mom had crossed off my name shortly after because I was the only one out of 26 people who signed up for it. I ended up in the Italian bistro restaurant called Derby, which served us a 4-course meal: soup, salad from the salad bar, main course and dessert. Bottles of red and white wine