A while ago Chris and I planned a short weekend trip to Avignon France. We heard from some of our local friends that it is THE place to go for vintage items at good prices. We were particularly excited because one weekend a year it swells with vendors and we just happen to be going that weekend. What we hadn’t thought about was that it was also the last weekend before schools were back in session and Avignon is on the same freeway as all the beautiful French beaches. Uh-Oh. We had spent the night in the gorgeous city of Lyon and were off to what we thought was an early start. Apparently all of France decided to head to the south for one last horrah! After ten minutes we were parked in grid lock traffic. After 15 minutes and only going 1km we knew we had to make a decision. So what do you do when your vacation to the south of France goes awry? Well if you are us you go to Switzerland! (seriously, only in Europe is switzerland a second choice ha!) We veered off the next exit and headed for Geneva. We later found out that there was a tragic bus accident with several fatalities that created one of the longest traffic jams in French history. The freeway to Geneva was wide open. I quickly googled “top things to see in Geneva” and booked us a hotel in the alps. To be completely honest I don’t know if I had ever seen a picture of Lake Geneva before. So I was not properly prepared for how utterly gorgeous it is and thus fell madly in love with Switzerland. We first visited Chateau de Chillon which rests half in Lake Geneva.
It was made popular by Lord Byron, who wrote the poem The Prisoner Of Chillon about François de Bonivard, a monk and politician who was imprisoned there. Byron also carved his name on a pillar of the dungeon. If you are a literary type you will also probably know that the castle is one of the settings in Henry James‘s novella Daisy Miller
We opted not to do the audio tour (something we usually try to do when we don’t have the cuties with us) and we were actually quiet happy we didn’t. The castle has wonderful signage and lots of interactive computers.
We spent a lot of time exploring the dungeon area which is literally right at waters level.
I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to be a prisoner wondering if the turquoise water would rise and drown you.
I stood there a while staring at the noose which looks out a large opening onto the lake. So eery.
The views from the turrets were breath taking. I just could not get over the color and clarity of the water.
To the side of the castle there was a thin long dock that jutted way out into the lake.
Sitting out there surrounded by the alps was one of the most gorgeous sites I have ever beheld.
Of course I had to drag Chris down to the little beach we had seen so I could test the water and may have lamented a few hundred times not packing swim suits.
We drove around the entire lake with me gasping every few seconds about a house, or a swimming hole or the color of the water.
We tried to grab lunch at a restaurant but the waiter told us politely were were in-between meal times. I think he didn’t want to serve us because Chris nearly ran him down as we swerved in to park ha! (just kidding sweet heart… sort of). We ended up just hitting up a grocery store and grabbing some snacks to munch on while we drove up the mountain to our hotel. I didn’t do much eating as I spent the entire time with my jaw dropped at the scenery.
We stayed at a lodge nestled in between mountians. Our room was made almost entirely of wood. Floors, walls, beds, tables, chairs it was all roughly chopped wood. I tried to drink in as much of that yummy cabin smell as possible. Combined with the cool nighttime air I was in heaven and ZONKED.
We have a hotel booked for mid November to bring the kids back and fingers crossed do some sledding and maybe even a few ski lessons. Honestly though I don’t think there is anyway it will be as beautiful as it was in August and I am conniving on how I can get back before we move next summer. Switzerland, such a wonderfully unplanned surprise.