Day 19: Geneva II

We were on a mission today – to see a Swiss castle! We took an early train from Geneva to Montreux and then a bus to Chillon to see the 12th century castle there. The castle is built on a solid rock island just beside the mainland, and was the main defence of the area against those living on the other side of the lake.

Chateau Chillon is incredibly well preserved – in some rooms the wall decorations are still visible, and in the crypt there are still some of the original wooden battens in the vaulted ceiling from when they were installing the vaulted stonework. Amazing.
We spent a good couple of hours poking around in the castle, with a very informative audioguide to keep us company.

It was a stunner day too.

From here, we back-tracked to Lausanne and then went on to Bern. What a weird and wonderful experience that was. I went to Switzerland expecting that we’d be speaking German, but in Geneva the primary language is French (it’s practically in France), but somewhere along the way – about when you leave the lake area, the language changes to German. It’s very strange and disconcerting! Also, I am somewhat familiar with German, but I found Swiss German all but incomprehensible. It turns out that Swiss German is quite different to German German. So interesting!

Anyway, Bern was lovely. Little and cute and very walkable. We had a wander around, visited the Munster and found some interesting spots of history here and there – like Einstein Haus – where Einstein lived when he was writing about the theory of relativity while working at the local patent office. I had a childhood fascination with Einstein, so this was pretty cool to see.

Einstein Haus
Einstein Haus

We hopped on a train back to Geneva about 5pm – it’s a 2-hour journey, stopped in at the train station for dinner supplies and then went back to the hotel for the night. Big day tomorrow – we have to be up at 4am to catch our flight to Berlin.