Catching a train for under two hours and ending up in another country is something that will always amaze me. Since Switzerland is just across the border from France, Geneva seemed like a perfect weekend escape.
Descend into the dungeons of Le Château de Chillion and you’ll find chains used to hang prisoners and strange names from the past engraved in wall. François Bonivard was kept here; but instead of on the walls his memory lies in the words of Lord Byron’s poem The Prisoner of Chillon.
They chain’d us each to a column stone,
And we were three — yet, each alone;
We could not move a single pace,
We could not see each other’s face,
But with that pale and livid light
That made us strangers in our sight:
And thus together — yet apart,
Fetter’d in hand, but pined in heart;
‘Twas still some solace, in the dearth
Of the pure elements of earth,
To hearken to each other’s speech,
And each turn comforter to each
With some new hope or legend old,
Or song heroically bold;
But even these at length grew cold.
Climbing up the stairs to reach the sunlight and the clear, blue ocean is calming. The top of the castle looks out over the endless lake and towering mountains of Switzerland. Below the entrance lies a wharf and small beach area where people paddle in the cool water and savour the sunshine and warmth before snow covers the mountain tops and swimming is no longer a good idea.
Geneva is just as pretty as Montreax, and the people just as nice. The one downfall of Switzerland is the expense: many, many euros spent on food alone… The scenery made up for some of that, at least. I think I’m ready to return in the winter and face the cold front on the mountains.