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Old 04-30-2018, 02:02 AM   #1
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A Swiss spring break with friends TRIP REPORT COMPLETED 6/27

A Swiss spring break with friends

Pre-trip report – part one: our love affair with Montreux

Dates: Saturday 5 – Monday 7 May
Adventurers: Me, Cheryl (45) and DH Mark (52)
Destinations: Montreux, Switzerland
Resorts: Hotel Royal Plaza and Spa
Meets: our friends Graham and Sara
Celebration: Mark’s birthday and Christmas present and spending time with friends

I don’t know about you, but do you ever get to the stage where you think what’s the point in buying Christmas and/or birthday presents for each other? We reached that stage some time ago and, at that point, my attention turned to something more than keepsakes to clutter up the house to something that would be a better keepsake, things that would generate memories for many years to come. I think you can guess where I’m going with this… we moved into the territory of getting vacations for each other.

Now we’re not talking trips to Disney, as that would be absurd, given how much it costs for us to fly to the States, but we are talking weekends away around Europe. Last year, for example, I took Mark to see the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo, which gave us a weekend away in Scotland’s capital. For his 50th birthday, I took him to Iceland and I’ve previously “borrowed” his credit card to get me a weekend away in Mallorca, Spain.

It was back in 2010 that we first visited Switzerland. I was really keen to go, as my mother is Swiss and I felt bad that I’d never visited the country. Well, apparently I had, but I was a baby, so oddly enough I don’t recall much of that… I was keen to explore some of the country, as I knew it was supposed to be beautiful. The trip ended up morphing into a nine day road trip, taking in a total of five countries (France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Belgium), more of which you can find out about in this trip report: On the road (1) – five countries, nine days.

During that trip, we stopped off at Montreux in the French speaking part of Switzerland and frankly we fell in love with it. These photos might help you to understand why…







Three years later, we did another road trip back there in early autumn 2013, spending much more time exploring Switzerland, as there was so much more of the country that we wanted to see. We made sure that we also headed back to Montreux and this time, we spent two nights there in a hotel on the lakeside, as we’d been so blown away by the stunning views over it last time. There’s more information about what we did on that trip in the trip report: A return to Switzerland – land of mountains, museums and moos!

To save you having to read through the whole thing, these photos should give you an idea of the views from our room… isn’t it just breath taking?




We were fortunate enough to be there in some stunning weather – it was baking hot even though it was early September….



So that’s our history of the love affair we’ve had over the last eight years with Montreux. Knowing how much Mark loves it there (and heck, I’m not adverse to its charms either ) I figured it would be the perfect birthday and Christmas present for Mark for this year… and what a shame – I have to tag along as well. Gosh, such a hard life!

Next: would you mind if we joined you?
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Old 04-30-2018, 06:28 AM   #2
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Wow, it is lovely and easy to see why you’d want to return!
I agree about trios being good gifts! We do that, and our theater subscriptions. Much better than another something that just sits gathering dust.
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Old 04-30-2018, 09:27 AM   #3
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Great start! I forgot all about this trip!
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Old 04-30-2018, 09:50 AM   #4
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Quite excited for this TR as Switzerland is near the top of my bucket list. Since there's a few days until the trip, I assume we can all ask 'would you mind if we joined you?" and tag along (just kidding but a fun idea - sound great for Graham & Sara, though
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Old 04-30-2018, 12:37 PM   #5
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Great start! I remember your previous TRs, and Montreux is such a beautiful place!
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:02 PM   #6
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Great start! I forgot all about this trip!
It has come up quickly. And heck, let's face it, where did April go? I still can't quite believe it's May tomorrow...
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:03 PM   #7
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Quite excited for this TR as Switzerland is near the top of my bucket list. Since there's a few days until the trip, I assume we can all ask 'would you mind if we joined you?" and tag along (just kidding but a fun idea - sound great for Graham & Sara, though
You can certainly tag along through the trip report!

Switzerland is a stunning country. We absolutely love it. If you ever do plan to go out there, be sure to shout, as we've seen a fair chunk of the country and I can probably help you out with some ideas of what to see and do.
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:40 PM   #8
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I am looking forward to this TR as it is one of the many areas I would so love to visit. We are with you on not exchanging gifts. It is just so much easier and more enjoyable to get away for the weekend instead.
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:52 PM   #9
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I am looking forward to this TR as it is one of the many areas I would so love to visit.
I hope you get to, as it's such a beautiful country.

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We are with you on not exchanging gifts. It is just so much easier and more enjoyable to get away for the weekend instead.
And of course you both get to enjoy that time away together as well.
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Old 04-30-2018, 09:39 PM   #10
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I can't wait to read all about your return to Switzerland.
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Old 05-01-2018, 01:57 AM   #11
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Pre-trip report – part two: would you mind if we joined you?

Having decided that a visit to Montreux would be Mark’s birthday and Christmas present for this year, the next thing to do was to decide when. My first plan was to do another road trip out there. Mark’s told me on many occasions that, according to Google Maps, it’s only a seven hour drive from the Eurotunnel tunnel in Calais to Montreux. We’ve never done the drive in one go, but it is doable, or you could set off one evening and finish the next day.

I figured if we were going to do that, we should try and do it when we both have the most time off work thanks to what we call Bank Holidays over here. Easter was the obvious time, as we have a four day weekend, thanks to having both Good Friday and Easter Monday off. We could set off on the Thursday night and then get to Montreux on the Friday morning and leave either late on Sunday or very early on the Monday.

As we were going to take the tunnel, I didn’t really need to worry about flight prices going up, which is why I didn’t rush to get anything booked and, in hindsight, it’s probably just as well I didn’t. The plans I originally had for an Easter visit had to change thanks to a lovely gesture from Jan. She’d spent a week with us in September, visiting Paris, London, Stonehenge, Bath and various other places. To say thank you, very unexpectedly, she sent us a voucher for a twilight package at the Bath Thermae Spa. It was such a lovely thought, but it can only be used on weekday nights. As Mark was out of holiday for 2018 (two and a half weeks for Disney World and a southern Caribbean cruise in January and three weeks for more cruising in September will do that to you ), I knew we’d have to look at a holiday weekend.

Now most of our holidays are on Mondays, which wouldn’t exactly work. Let’s have a relaxing spa evening, then Mark has to drive the three hours home straight afterwards. I don’t think so. The only option was Good Friday of the Easter weekend, so a trip around Bath, south Wales, the south west of England and taking in my adorable friends at the Donkey Sanctuary was quickly organised.

So when to go to Montreux then? The obvious time was the early May bank holiday weekend. It’s a three day weekend with the Monday as a holiday and it’s the only bank holiday of the year which doesn’t coincide with school holidays, so I always try and go away for it, as flight prices tend not to be too crazy. Let me give you some examples…

2017 Iceland
2016 Disneyland Paris
2015 boating on the Norfolk Broads

You get the idea… so I set to work, looking at prices for flights to Geneva, which is the nearest big airport, about an hour’s drive away from Montreux. I went and had a look at prices with EasyJet, my go-to low cost airline over this side of the pond. I was delighted to find some very low cost flights, with the outgoing flight leaving early on the Saturday morning and I chose one that returned on Monday afternoon, to give us a little bit of time at home before we went back to work the next day. We’ve also learnt that sometimes EasyJet’s later flights can get delayed, as I think their turnaround times are a tad tight. After one experience, where we ended up getting home an hour later than planned, which made it about 1:00am, we always try and take earlier return flights if we can.

It was in October that we went out for Sunday lunch with our friends Graham and Sarah. I used to work in radio with Graham many, many years ago and they came to our wedding reception back in 1999 – that’s how far back we go. We didn’t have contact beyond Christmas cards for many years, but thanks to the wonders of Facebook, we reconnected about three or four years ago and we’ve been meeting up for lunch every few months.

They’d come back from a once in a lifetime trip to Australia and were full of the joys (and some of the downsides) to their recent trip. As our lunch progressed, they asked what our plans were and when we mentioned Switzerland, somehow they asked if we’d mind if they joined us. not at all! At that point, we only had the flights booked and I’d booked those a couple of weeks earlier. We had a quick look online over lunch to see if the prices were still reasonable and they were. As soon as I got home, I went ahead and made their booking and it turned out that, at that point, apart from the four of us, there was only one other seat taken on the flight. Ok, so not that busy then…

Graham and Sarah have essentially left the planning to me – yay! I think they’re using this as a chance to “dip their toes in the water” as far as Switzerland goes and hopefully this trip will encourage them to return, as it is a beautiful country. They have been very sweet and have said they’re happy to leave us, if we want to go off for a romantic meal and equally, they’ve also been upfront and said if there’s something we’re keen to do and they’re not, they’re happy just to go off for a wander. I like their attitude to this trip.

Next: the ever increasing price!
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Old 05-01-2018, 08:51 AM   #12
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Sounds like Graham and Sarah will be good travel companions!
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Old 05-01-2018, 09:32 AM   #13
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How great Graham and Sarah can join you!
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Old 05-01-2018, 12:44 PM   #14
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Sounds like Graham and Sarah will be good travel companions!
I think they will be, although we've literally only spent a few hours with them at a time, so it will certainly be interesting.
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Old 05-01-2018, 01:27 PM   #15
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It's nice to travel with people who are nice and laidback about the plans!
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My Countdown Counting down to: Returning to WDW!
Watching DD's marching band in the Magic Kingdom!
My PassPorter Bookshelf
My Previous TripsMarch 1989 - offsite; April/May 2002 - Coronado Springs; March 2003 - All Star Movies; May 2003 - offsite; July 2003 - Port Orleans Riverside; April/May 2006 - Port Orleans Riverside; September 2007 - All Star Sports; August/September 2008 - All Star Movies and Pop Century; June 2009 - Pop Century; August 2010 - All Star Sports & Disney Wonder; June 2011 - All Star Music; April 2012 - Disney Fantasy; April 2013 - Port Orleans French Quarter; August 2015 - Disneyland offsite; April 2017 - Coronado Springs; December 2017 - Old Key West
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