Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Lausanne to Montreaux

Saturday 25 July 2015 

The route today started with a long stretch along the main road out of the city before reaching the edge of Lake Geneva. Again the day was to be a long and hot one, with very little opportunity to shelter from the sun.

After walking on the main road it was soon nice to briefly walk along the lake. Our route taking us so close that the waves splashing and breaking across the path gave us both much amusement. Especially when I was too slow to avoid a decent soaking, much to Berts amusement. We left the lake and headed up to and to walk through the grape vines above the lake. Our route took us through Culley and arriving at a Boulongerie it would have been rude to walk past so we availed ourselves of their finest coffee........a cake for Bert and savoury tart for me. Well it is important to keep the energy levels up!

We continued on our way, once again meandering up and down and through the vineyards above the lake. Every now and then Bert mentioning that we were nearing a station and we could get a train, or a bus!

We never formally stopped for a lunch stop we just grazed when we took an opportunity to stop and have water and a short rest. Taking every opportunity to marvel at the sight of the lake and the views of the Alps ahead in the far distance and our ultimate direction.

Before not too long we were down by the lakeside and enjoying the pleasures it had to offer. We stopped a couple of times to phone our accommodation for the night but each time there was no reply. In Montreaux we were getting a bit desperate so Bert spoke to the Villeneuve tourist information asking if they knew of anywhere that could provide accommodation with Pilgrim prices. Well so and so hotel have Rome for one hundred and sixty Swiss Francs, or there is a cheaper one at one hundred and twenty. No thanks, he replied. We were both not surprised that for some reason the tourist information do not understand or support the Pilgrims that pass through.

I found the details of an International Youth Hostel in my guide book in Montreaux and tried to contact them but they were closed until 5pm. I sent a text message to my wife, Rachel, to ask if she could check if they had rooms and the reply came back that they did not......formidable!

We decided to wait and just before 5pm we were first in the queue at the hostel reception to seek a room. We were in luck, accommodation was ok and soon we were once more going through the routine of making beds and getting refreshed. 

Tonight we were both in for a treat.......the room we had been allocated had other beds free and this were given to three Taiwanese young men who were travelling Europe. I met them first in the dormitory whilst I was literally operating on my very blistered heel, using scissors and the opposite hand I am used to using. As the more talkative approached me very closely he uttered loudly, o my goodness what are you doing?..........operating on my foot. Why? .....Because I need to so I can walk. Where are you from......England, I replied whilst trying to concentrate on what I was doing. England, I wrote a letter to your Queen and I can sing your national anthem, do you want me to sing it.....Er no!  She wrote me a letter back..........Did she invite you for tea with Phillip? I uttered whilst still trying to sort my ankle out, concentrating with all my might. I was certain I might chop my foot off if the conversations continued.

What is your job? The conversation continued whilst my new friend was almost breathing in my ear watching what I was doing. .........I am a long distance walker and writer! You are a writer, a very famous writer, what is your name? ........No I am not a famous writer, I just write the walks I do for others to follow. I don't think he understood that. Suffice to say the conversation did end and I did manage to successfully operate on my ankle without having to sew my foot back on because I had chopped it off. The rest of the night passed without any further events but Bert (my walking companion) did mention that he had met my enthusiastic friend and he had told Bert is name, and then stated that his English name was Kevin!!!!

The next morning we all woke early and Kevin was keen to join us for breakfast. This proved once more to be very interesting. Kevin's thirst for knowledge and information knew no bounds. He informed us that they were all traveling firstly to Interlaken, then to Munich and finally to Amsterdam and the red light area. We all laughed and I told Kevin he had to be careful taking pictures. Over breakfast we talked about the history of his country and some of the events. He asked us if any of our parents had been to war......how old did he think we were? I mentioned my Grandfather was on the beaches on D Day. Kevin then proceeded to name every one of the beaches!

We returned the questions and mentioned that there were a lot of Oriental people on holiday and could he tell which countries they cam from. Very proudly he told us the countries people were from in the breakfast room. But the icing on the cake was when he told us that he can't tell where the western people come from because they all look the same........we all burst out laughing. I think we all could have stayed there all day swapping stories ........ Before we left Kevin was keen for our photograph and we reciprocated with a selfie.

As we continued on our Pilgrim journey we reflected on our experience with Kevin and both shared the same thought that an evening and morning was good, but 45 days....their holiday period, well Kevin's friends were very lucky to have his company!

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