Day thirty-nine: Lausanne to Montreux

A day so spectacular one hardly noticed the kms drifting by. Firstly a lakeside path for both bikes and pedestrians, which was very busy with uber-athletes on very nice bikes doing their training rides for this weekend’s world triathlon final in Lausanne. Apparently there are 4,000 athletes taking part. I guess the other 3,972 were sleeping in as I didn’t see that many considering the number of entries!
Also passed the lakeside world headquarters of Phillip Morris. I wonder if their senior executives, while sipping on their post-work gin and tonics and savouring the view over beautiful Lac Leman, ever spare a thought for their thousands of loyal customers suffering ugly deaths from lung disease? Maybe they should be based in France, as the percentage of smokers there is way higher than in Switzerland based on my unscientific observation.
After the lakeside promenade, it was an undulating walk on the mostly concrete vineyard “roads” that form the terraces above the lake. Not a good path if one suffers from vertigo, as it was a steep tumble if you were to fall, with only the road and train tracks to prevent a plunge! Anywhere else this land would be the purview of mountain goats, but not on the sunny slopes above Lac Leman. In the wine areas in France I walked through they used tractors for everything. Here it must be very labour intensive, as these vineyards are vehicle free. Some have mini cable cars or cog railways to help with the harvest, but otherwise it is likely a thigh-burning activity to tend to the crop. See pic attached for a sample of today’s path. And the lizards. There must be something in those vineyards they like as there were literally hundreds of the critters sunning themselves on the concrete roadway.
After the roller-coaster walk through the vineyards, it was back to lake level through the beautiful towns of Vevey (world HQ of Nestle) and Montreux, with their stately mansions from a bygone era, and stunning hotels – many incorporating ‘palace’ in their names, maybe because pre-WW1 the primary guests were there various royalty from throughout Europe (since replaced by deposed third-world despots and their retinues perhaps.) I have a habit of looking at the listings in real estate offices as I pass through towns. Today I saw a listing for a stunning century old lakefront “house” for a mere 4.9 million Swiss Francs. Maybe it needed some TLC, as there was also a listing for a modern version, for the princely sum of 19.5 million.
And last but not least, I seem to be finally crossing paths with other pilgrims. I met a Dutch man leaving Pontarlier, who is walking a section of the vf each year. This year he is doing Switzerland. He is camping, so it’s unlikely I will cross paths with him again. There was also a girl in the Pontarlier hostel who gave every appearance of doing the pilgrimage, but she wasn’t very forthcoming with information, so I was none the wiser (she spoke good English, so the language barrier wasn’t the issue!) And then today, a couple came up as I was utilizing one of the many benches of lakefront Montreux and contemplating the view, whether to go for a swim in the lake now or wait until I arrived at the hostel. And wouldn’t you know it…. They are doing the whole vf from Canterbury to Rome, spoke English, because they are fellow Kiwis. And here is the kicker, Donna and Bruce lived in the Totara Valley for a few years, which is just over the hill from the farm where I grew up in New Zealand. Nice to talk to folks in English as their first language, and we may meet up again tomorrow, as I told them about the Abbaye that i had booked into for tomorrow night (half the price of a youth hostel, so it’s pilgrim friendly!)
I’ve also added a pic of a boatyard that looks like it has been around from well before fibreglass boats were invented!
Today’s kms: 33.5

2 thoughts on “Day thirty-nine: Lausanne to Montreux

  1. Thank’s Tim. Being in this great Alpine scenery is uplifting. I may need some up-lifting going up the hill in a couple of days.
    I signed up to your blog as I couldn’t remember when you said you were heading off to Kyoto. I’m looking forward to your updates from Japan!


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