Usually when we spend the weekend in Montreux I like to drive there on Friday night.
But this time Olivier and his mother Verena couldn't make it so soon, and it was decided that we would leave on Saturday morning.
Since Oli and I both have 2 seater Smart cars I left earlier to avoid the traffic.
The part between Zurich and Berne is always the worst, it gets much better afterwards.
Having a head start on the others allowed me to make some spontaneous detours. For example I exited the highway before Berne at a place where there are a lot of of big shops like Ikea. They call it the "Shopping Mile". There's also a Golfer's Paradise shop. And no, you didn't miss anything, I have not secretly taken up golfing! But i had discovered that some golf gear makes excellent travel clothing - it's lightweight and functional but doesn't look too much like sportswear.
So I went there and raided their checkout section :-)
Before I left I quickly checked Oli's position and found that he hadn't even left Zurich yet! More solo travel time for me - and an excellent opportunity to do something I had wanted for at least 20 years: drive up the mountains behind Montreux.
The road is quite steep so you get high up quickly - and the view is mind blowing! It's more like looking out of an airplane!
Here's the view from my first stop where I ate a little lunch.
A small road continued from there and I decided to drive upwards until it would end.
Here are some pictures I took in what I call the Lebanese way of tourism: always stay in the car!
The road was really narrow!
Finally I arrived at the Col de Jaman - the road ends by the cheesery on the right. From there it's hiking only.
I wanted to walk around a bit and therefore had to exchange my heels for flat shoes.
Unfortunately I somehow misplaced my car key in the process and could NOT find it anymore.
I looked everywhere in the car, in every bag - nothing!
In the end I called Olivier (who was now on the road) to come and pick me up.
During all this time I had left my car door open because it locks up automatically after some minutes if you close it. And I really, really needed to pee!
So I asked two hikers to please watch my car for a moment while I ran over to the restaurant to use the bathroom.
When at least this problem was out of the way and I could think more calmly, I thought I could use the waiting time to pack my new golfer clothes into my duffle bag.
For this I first took out the staple of clothes that was inside - and sure enough, under them was my car key!
What a relief!
Called boyfriend, informed him that I was fine... He was not too far away but I told him to rather go to a restaurant and wait for me than drive all the way up.
I still wanted to explore the surroundings a bit and walked a little in all directions. You really need hiking boots up here to go further. We will definitely have to come back and walk up a mountain or two!
You can see so far down the lake:
I'd like to follow the ancient trade trail.
I also paid a visit to the small cheesery where they process the milk from the cows up here and I bought a fresh Tomme cheese.
Making cheese is a stinky business! The ripening cheeses release a lot of ammonia.
Some more walking...
Which way to go?
Finally I drove off to meet Olivier and Verena in Les Avants. What looks like a short distance on the map took me about 20 minutes because the road is so curvy.
And often it was literally just wide enough for one car! Fortunately there is little traffic but you can't drive fast.
In Les Avants I met the others who had checked out the sorroundings of an old, now empty hotel. There are actually several hotels up here, many built about 100 years ago when it was the fashion to go to high places to enjoy the fresh air.
Here comes the train again...
But seriously - again???
Looking back up (I was left of that pointy rock)
There were also crowds hanging out along the lake, enjoying the warm evening. And paying their respect to Freddy!
It was Verena's birthday, so we took her out for a nice dinner of Persian food at Le Palais Oriental.
No, there are no food pictures, we kept pur phones off the table like civilized people :-)
Just a bathroom break selfie.
Leaving with full bellies!
Walking back along the lake there were hundreds of stalls selling the usual mix of cheap clothes, accessories etc.
One stand had really nice hats though, aold by the woman who makes them herself. After trying on various models, Verena bought two of them - as kind of a birthday gift to herself.
The Montreux Jazz Festival doesn't just happen in the concert halls. There a dozens of street acts and the odd spontaneous dance party.
The food corner with dishes from all over the world.
And all that Jazz!