Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I love Switzerland!

Today was another long but pretty relaxing day in Switzerland. We had the morning free to do as we wished so myself and Paul and Frederick went walking about the town. It was pretty brisk outside, but that has been the theme of the trip. I guess we’ve gotten really lucky with the weather, I’m definitely using my long sleeved items. We found a post office and got some postcards mailed and then were on a mission to find some cuckoo clocks for some people. We knew there was a specific toy store in town that would ship them home for free, the problem was we didn’t know where it was. We wondered around for quite a while and finally stopped at the tourism office and they gave us some more bad directions. We finally found the store but were disappointed in the selection so we didn’t end up getting any clocks.

After a hurried lunch we drove to Montreux to visit the Castle of Chillon which sits on Lake Geneva. Our tour guide was great, but I realized how much I don’t know about Swiss history. The castle was used for many things over the centuries, a prison, toll booth, home to royalty. It was probably made famous mostly because of Lord Byron’s poem The Prisoner of Chillon. I didn’t buy a copy of it but will probably check it out at the library when I get home. It was an interesting place, for some reason I always like to see old prisons and places where they tortured people.

one end of the Castle of Chillon

where Lord Byron carved his name into a pillar

We took a long walk along Lake Geneva to get to the city of Montreux. It was really crowded there because the Montreux Jazz festival was going on. Paul Simon was playing that night but we were not going to be able to stay. I did pick up a show lineup guide and a couple of souvenirs and noticed that the KU Jazz Ensemble I is playing there in a couple of days, pretty neat!

breathtaking Lake Geneva while walking to Montreaux

We got back to the hotel right at dinner and had an excellent meal provided by our hotel owners. It is a very quaint and hospitable setting, definitely a memorable experience. After dinner the band and choir gave a concert down at the town tent. It was really chilly, which was good for the horn section as we tend to play insanely sharp….we actually sounded ok! The Swiss audience was unbelievable, they clapped along to just about everything and gave us two encores. They were really fun to play for and such an excited audience. Dr. Speck made a joke and said they would clap to just about anything, even “Music for Prague”…I thought that was especially funny! He also said he would play just about anything they wanted because they loved everything so much.

Our time in Switzerland has ended and everyone has been threatening to “lose” their passports so they could stay….we actually did have a lost passport scare, but it was resolved thank goodness! Tomorrow we stop in Lichtenstein and then on to Austria, finally to some German speaking country!

sunrise view from my hotel room on my last morning in Switzerland


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