Lolita, Freddie Mercury and a tour of Switzerland

I am eating Swiss chocolate. As I marvel at the fine, velvety, rich and so sweet taste I am reminded of a trip to Switzerland a few years ago:

November 2012:

Montreux, Switzerland We arrive at our magnificent Palace Hotel and  whisked off to Sunday Brunch with a twist…exceptionally on this Sunday the hotel has arranged the brunch to be in the actual hotel kitchen! The Garde Manger and kitchen area are decked out with Christmas decor and the incredible buffet is set up throughout. The moment we arrive we have a glass of champagne in hand. The atmosphere is festive as people ooh and aah and as the live jazz courtet plays Dixieland.

Montreux preserves the memory and images of many musical and literary greats throughout the years; Vladimir Nobokov wrote some pages of Lollita in the hotel, Quincy Jones; long time collaborator of the Montreux Jazz festival has a suite named after him. A rock band who’s name escapes me now once accidentally set the old casino on fire prompting the band Deep Purple to write the song “Smoke on The Water” and finally; Freddie Mercury’s posthumous album has an image of the water and mountains scenery of Montreux inspired by his love of Montreux which he called “Heaven on Earth”.

After our tour of this beautiful old hotel we get a glimpse of the Chateau de Chaillon a 13th century castle where visions of medieval jousts and court dinners dance through our minds. The fog has lifted and we are afforded a beautiful view of the mountains as well as the setting sun and a little sliver of a silver moon. A walk through the Christmas Market topped off by a delicious dinner at a traditional Swiss Fondue Restaurant concludes our day in Montreux.

Geneva We board the train for Geneva on a  Saturday morning. A beautiful 2.5 hour ride along rolling green hills, farms, deer, cows, goats etc..

We arrive at the beautiful Metropole in time for a wonderful lunch in the Grand Quaie restaurant . Our rooms are magnificent and facing the Rhone River. The famous 140 meter water jet is not on today however if it were we would have a lovely view of it. After lunch our host takes us around this beautiful hotel built in 1864 and then we leave him for a walk about in the Old Town.

As Geneva is of course a financial capital, humanitarian rights capital, home of the international red cross committee and headquarters of United Nations we hear many languages on the street though French is the first official language and it seems everyone speaks French.

Our first stop in the Old Town is at the Chocolate and Tea shop where we sit at an outside cafe. It is but 6 or 7 degrees however just like in Zurich people sit outside and drink beer or coffee or mulled wine regardless of the season. We order a birthday cake for one of our colleagues. Fortified by Chocolate Cake we return to our hotel.

A quick escape to our rooms for a rapid change of clothing and we are off to dinner at the Parc des Eaux Vives restaurant where I have the absolute best appetizer I have ever had; foie gras creme brule! Mmm We carry on and generally laugh our way through all the dinner courses and the taxi deposits us at the hotel at 11pm.

Zurich

Our last night in Switzerland our “Hostess with the Mostess” has the night very well in hand!

18h: We meet at station Central in downtown Zurich

18.15h: We visit a knife shop in Niederdoerfli downtown so we can purchase a swiss army knife.

19h: Dinner in Restaurant Terrasse (italian- Mediterranean kitchen)

20.45h: We walk along the lake Bahnhofstrasse to main station 21h: We visit a Christmas Market in main station. The gigantic Christmas tree is the Swarovski tree and completely decorated in Swarovski  crystal!!

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