Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Switzerland: Montreux

Zermatt on a rain day
Zermatt on a rainy day
I am currently typing this post from the foyer of the youth hostel in Zermatt, looking out at the low cloud and steady rainfall, waiting patiently for a chink in the gloom. Four days in, this particular trip to Switzerland had started so well.

I had arrived in Montreux Saturday morning and booked into the Grand Hotel; I was so looking forward to the Jazz Festival. Those who know their rock history will be well aware of the significance of this hotel, but for the benefit of those who don't (really, there are some), it was where Deep Purple stayed and recorded their Machine Head album, way back in December 1971, and the hotel was immortalised in the lyrics of "Smoke on the Water".

Far from "empty, cold and bare" (so it shouldn't be for the price of a room!), this proved an ideal base to explore the Montreux Jazz Festival, nipping back and forth when it pleased.
 
My room in the Grand Hotel
My room in the Grand Hotel
My room at the Grand Hotel
My room at the Grand Hotel
My view from the Grand Hotel
My view of Lake Geneva from the Grand Hotel
The afternoon was sunny, and I wandered the lake shoreline, partaking in a few beers and listening to the Devon Jazz Orchestra in the park.
 
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
Music in Park, Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra.
Music in the Park, Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra
Late afternoon, I found an Irish pub a few doors down from the hotel, and settled in for the Belgium v Argentina match. Thankfully, it didn't go to extra time, and I rushed back to the festival to take my place in the Jazz lab to see Belgian artist Selah Sue.

Later, after catching some of the Netherlands v Costa Rica match back at the hotel, I ventured out at 11:30pm to see US rock band Heaven and Earth in the Park. Both performances were excellent, although Selah Sue really impressed!
 
Heaven and Earth, Montreux Jazz Festival
Heaven and Earth, Montreux Jazz Festival
I was back in my room by about 1am. With a checkout at noon, I had plenty of time to sleep in.

I awoke, the next morning, to more sunshine, but I knew all too well this spell was to change as I caught the train to Zermatt.
 
Lake Geneva,  Switzerland
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
Montreux Gare
Montreux Gare
Once I had changed trains at Visp and began the approach to Zermatt the clouds thickened and my worst fears were realised; this may prove to be a fruitless journey.
 
Zermatt, from the Youth Hostel.
Zermatt, from the Youth Hostel
I checked into the hostel, and wandered down to the Brown Cow Pub for a beer and food. Hoping to undo some of the excesses of the previous day, I ordered the Farmers Salad, but, while tasty, it was certainly not what I expected.
 
Healthy salad at the Brown Cow Pub, Zermatt
Healthy Salad at the Brown Cow Pub
With dinner had, and beer drunk, I wandered back to the hostel, for an early night and in hope of better weather in the morning. To be continued...