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Old 05-01-2018, 03:02 PM   #16
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It's nice to travel with people who are nice and laidback about the plans!
It is, although I will confess I could never be like that!
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Old 05-01-2018, 07:39 PM   #17
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Sounds like the makings of a great trip and especially now with two good friends in tow! This should make the trip even better. The bank holiday can be hit or miss as there will be many establishments closed and mostly the smaller ones. I was in Colmar during this holiday in 2013 (can't believe five years have passed! ) and there were some things closed but not much of a problem as it is a tourist destination.

Looking forward to Montreaux as I've never been there. Have been to Bern and Lucerne which I enjoyed.
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Old 05-02-2018, 01:57 AM   #18
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Sounds like the makings of a great trip and especially now with two good friends in tow! This should make the trip even better. The bank holiday can be hit or miss as there will be many establishments closed and mostly the smaller ones. I was in Colmar during this holiday in 2013 (can't believe five years have passed! ) and there were some things closed but not much of a problem as it is a tourist destination.
Interesting . It's not something I'm worried about, as we've been much more out of season on our first visit (late March) and everything was open then, so I'm sure it will be fine. I think it's only the UK with the Bank Holiday on Monday. It's not a European thing, as far as I know, which is another nice reason to travel for it.

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Looking forward to Montreaux as I've never been there. Have been to Bern and Lucerne which I enjoyed.
Lucerne is stunning. We loved our time there.
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:01 AM   #19
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Pre-trip report – part three: the ever increasing price!

The next decision I needed to make was where we should stay for this weekend away. I knew one thing – I wanted it to be somewhere with a lake view. On our first visit, we’d stayed in a bed and breakfast place nowhere near the lake and, although it was nice, after we saw the lake, we really wanted a view of that from our room. The next time we visited, as you saw earlier in this pre-trip report, we did indeed have a lake view from our room and it was magical.

There were a few choices I could pick from and, to begin with, I was set on a spa hotel a bit further down the coast, but after a while I realised that amazing as the place looked, I really wanted to be somewhere in Montreux. If we’d have been there, we’d have had to drive into Montreux for dinner and I remembered how difficult it can be to find parking spaces, so I didn’t want Mark to have to worry about that.

The Fairmont was out immediately, as they wanted over £1,200 ($1,650) for two nights. I know they’re an expensive chain, having stayed in the Fairmonts in Quebec City and Ottawa previously, but this was just obscene.

There were about three or four other choices, including the place we’d stayed last time, but none of them were cheap. I did look to see if I could find a two bedroom suite, as we’d had one of these with Mari and Raleigh on one of our nights on our road trip around Scotland and it had worked really well, but they were all stupid money.

I even looked at something I’d never considered before – sites like Air B’n’B, but again I couldn’t find anything that matched our requirements. There were lots of places with lake views that accommodated four people and some even said they were two bedrooms, but when you got into the detail of them, they actually weren’t. They were one bedroom and the other couple would have to sleep in the living room, which I didn’t think was fair.

After a lot of searching, I returned to my trusted Hotels.com. I kept debating between about three or four different places. I liked the look of one place that was relatively cheap and had a spa, but that was because it was a couple of miles south of Montreux and eventually I decided I wanted to stay in Montreux itself.

Eventually I decided that, along with parking, breakfast and free Wi-Fi (I don’t want too much ) that a spa was a requirement of the resort we’d be staying at. That narrowed things down neatly to the Royal Plaza and Spa. It’s good some really good reviews, so I’m hoping we’ll enjoy it there, especially as we’re also booking for Graham and Sarah. After a bit of back and forth, I eventually established that they were happy to go with the same room we were – a lake view one.

I’m so glad I didn’t wait any longer to book our rooms, as honestly the price just kept going up and up. I was kicking myself, as I knew that it had been cheaper a few days earlier, but the day after, Graham said he was so glad I’d booked it when I did, as it had gone up another £50 ($70) per room!

So now we were sorted with accommodation, but what to do while we were there? We’d have just over two days and, much as we love just sitting and staring at the beautiful view of Lake Geneva, we couldn’t spend all of our time doing that.

We knew that Graham had talked about seeing the views from the mountains, so I did some research into that. There were plenty of places we could go to, but quite a few of them were a lengthy drive away and I didn’t think that was fair on Mark. I wanted somewhere more local. Then I struck gold while researching online and found out that there’s a rack railway that takes you on a round-trip from Montreux to Les Rochers-de-Naye to an altitude of 1,600 metres. It sounds perfect and even more so when I went on to read that it’s described as one of the most beautiful vantage points in western Switzerland.

Now originally I was planning on doing this on the Saturday afternoon when we get to Montreux, provided we had time of course and didn’t get any delays on the way out there. Well, the more I read into it, the more I thought that it might be a bit tight for the Saturday, as the last train was mid-afternoon. I also realised that there was quite a lot to do up there, probably enough to occupy you for a good couple of hours, plus the journey there and back is an hour each way.

The reviews also said that you need to check the weather forecast before you go as that can be a real factor in whether or not you enjoy your visit there. It sounds obvious and it is when you think about it, but had I not read those reviews, I stupidly probably wouldn’t have thought about it. As people said who went up when it was misty, they weren’t very impressed, as you couldn’t even see back to Montreux. Here’s hoping for some good weather while we’re there…

Next: where the wine is cheaper than water
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:19 AM   #20
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It’s so frustrating sometimes to find a hotel that meets your requirements, but doesn’t require selling your house to afford it. And the rates are all over the place. Hotels have become as bad as flights in that sense. Glad you found one that works!
The train sounds good. Hopefully the weather cooperates!
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:24 AM   #21
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Your trip looks like fun. I have not been to Switzerland since the 80s so I will be following along. Have fun.
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:26 AM   #22
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Ok, signing in finally!
Thanks to your TR's, I've realized that Scotland and Switzerland both deserve a dedicated trip. It's just too much and too beautiful to zip through it so quickly. Looking forward to these details - and with great friends too!

Ahhh, yes the tricky part of planning a trip that relies on beautiful vistas - the weather! Makes it so hard to decide on pre-purchasing tickets for such things or taking your chances upon arrival that it's not sold out whilst waiting on the weather report!! And then you better have a good back up plan too in case it is raining the whole time. Yep.
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:49 PM   #23
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It’s so frustrating sometimes to find a hotel that meets your requirements, but doesn’t require selling your house to afford it. And the rates are all over the place. Hotels have become as bad as flights in that sense. Glad you found one that works!
Oh my goodness aren't they just? I'm finding it's everywhere now. I used to think it was just Disney or big cities, but honestly these days I plug in dates (sometimes off season) at places I wouldn't expect to be expensive and then I'm horrified by the prices....

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The train sounds good. Hopefully the weather cooperates!
Fingers crossed, it's looking good so far!
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:49 PM   #24
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Your trip looks like fun. I have not been to Switzerland since the 80s so I will be following along. Have fun.
You know what? I bet it probably hasn't changed that much since then - certainly not outside the cities anyway.
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:50 PM   #25
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Ok, signing in finally!
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Thanks to your TR's, I've realized that Scotland and Switzerland both deserve a dedicated trip. It's just too much and too beautiful to zip through it so quickly. Looking forward to these details - and with great friends too!
You are so right - they definitely deserve their own trips.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:54 PM   #26
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Glad you got the hotel booked as some of those rates are just insane! Even better as you'll be along Lake Geneva in Montreaux and I think you scored on this with a pretty good rate!

On my 2013 trip to France as we approached Chamonix there were some amazing views looking down Lake Geneva and may have been Montreaux. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get any good photos from our moving coach.
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Old 05-03-2018, 01:50 AM   #27
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Glad you got the hotel booked as some of those rates are just insane! Even better as you'll be along Lake Geneva in Montreaux and I think you scored on this with a pretty good rate!
I think so too. So long as we have a lake view, we're happy!

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On my 2013 trip to France as we approached Chamonix there were some amazing views looking down Lake Geneva and may have been Montreaux. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get any good photos from our moving coach.
That's a shame.
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Old 05-03-2018, 01:51 AM   #28
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Pre-trip report – part four: where the wine is cheaper than water

So the plan for the one full day we’ll have in Montreux will depend on the weather. If it’s good visibility, we’ll take the rack railway to Les Rochers-de-Naye for some wonderful views. Now what happens if it’s not good weather and visibility is poor? Well, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that there is a plan B, just in case...

When we were last in Montreux, we did the chocolate train experience, which is so called because it takes you up to the Maison Cailler chocolate factory in Broc, which we really enjoyed. Not only do you get to learn about the origin of chocolate, but the final room is a chocolate tasting room and you can stay as long as you want in there. Yes, that’s right, no miserly “you can try one and that’s it”. I hope they haven’t changed that approach…

The tour also took us to the cheese factory in Gruyeres and then into the centre of Gruyeres as well, which was beautiful. Now the interesting thing is that the Sunday we’re there is when the Gruyeres cheese festival is taking place. The cheese festival features cheeses from all over Switzerland and you can sample cheese (sounds good! ), as well as seeing cheese making demonstrations. It’s not all cheese (but mostly!) and it also features regional artisans. All in all, it sounds like a really fun day out. Ok, now I write this, even if it’s a day with good visibility, then maybe we should go to Gruyeres… decisions, decisions!

So those are the two sets of plans for the Sunday. What about the rest of our time in Montreux? Well, we’ll have to try and spend some time in the spa at our hotel, given we wanted a hotel with a spa. But after that, we’ll still have some time to fill…

When we arrive on the Saturday, provided that there are no delays getting out there, we’ll take a cruise around Lake Geneva in the afternoon. Despite the fact we’ve been to Montreux twice before, we’ve never actually been out on the lake, so this is something I’m really keen to do. Hopefully it will be a nice day and finally we can see things from the other side and what Montreux looks like from the water.

Because it’s Graham and Sarah’s first time in Montreux, we’ll show them the Freddie Mercury statue, but there’s another Queen link, as they have the Queen Studio Experience inside the Casino Barrière de Montreux. I don’t know if it was there before on our visits and I just didn’t know about it or whether it’s something new, but even better, it’s free. I guess it would be, as of course it’s a means of getting you inside a casino.

As far as dining goes, I’ve got one confirmed place I want to eat at and it took a bit of detective work to find it. We ate in an amazing pizzeria back in 2010 on our first visit and we loved it there. The food was superb, I was able to nip outside and take photos of the sunset over the lake, and best of all, the wine was cheaper than the water – and I am not joking you!

Sarah keeps telling us that because this is Mark’s birthday and Christmas present, we should have a meal on our own, but I keep telling her that we’re not fussed about that. However, we have discussed that, in all seriousness, we might end up in McDonald’s on one night, as things are not exactly cheap in Switzerland! Whether we do or not remains to be seen, but I do have a couple of back-up options at relatively cheap restaurants that still score well on TripAdvisor.

On the Monday, we fly home, but we don’t fly until the afternoon. We’ll head out of Montreux after breakfast and over to Lausanne, which is about half an hour away. The reason I want to go there is to visit the Olympic Museum. We’ve been to Lausanne once before, but we didn’t have time to stop off there. On our second trip to Switzerland, I knew that was one of my priorities, but unbelievably, it was closed for renovation. I say unbelievably, as it was a two year closure in 2012 and 2013. Of course 2012 was the London Olympics, which was very odd to have an Olympic museum closed for an Olympics. Hopefully on the third attempt, this time we’ll be lucky…

I also want to stop off at the Tulip Festival in Morges on the way back to the airport, as tulips are my favourite of the spring flowers. Then it will be back to the airport and back home. It’s going to be a long weekend, but a short time away. Hopefully it will give Graham and Sara an idea of how lovely the place, and indeed the country, is and it will give us a chance to chill in one of our favourite places in the world, as we just find it so calming there…

Next: walking back to health
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:01 AM   #29
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I vote for taking the train to the chocolate factory and the cheese festival both sound like lots of fun. Hopefully the weather will be nice for your trip around the lake.
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Old 05-03-2018, 09:32 AM   #30
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There's always a Plan B!!! I knew it...
The Queen studio experience sounds interesting. Even if you do have to walk through the casino first!
Third time's a charm for the Olympic museum!
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