Switzerland is a Winter Paradise!!
We took the train from Milano Central into Montreux, Switzerland, and the scenery was quite nice. Once there, we checked into our hotel: Le Helvetie. The hotel itself is very old and not the nicest place, but its close to the train station and also the “downtown” area of the city. They also have a casino there, but I will elaborate on that later. Once we were settled in, we decided to start our mission to find the best place in the city for fondu. What we found was just that, a place called Le Chalet. When you walk in the smell of delicious melted cheeses takes over and its hard to think about anything else. Its located right on Lake Geneva and has some really nice views of both the water and the mountains! The food (at the least the fondu) is amazing and I highly recommend it if you are ever in Montreux.
The only negative thing I will say about this place is that the service is less than poor and its pretty expensive. With that being said, we later learned that the entire country of Switzerland is expensive and the apparent reason behind that is everyone there makes a lot more than most other countries. So good for them, bad for visiting tourists!
The Archers Rule Chillon Castle
After our lunch we decided to tour the Chillon Castle. In my opinion, if you have seen one castle, you’ve seen them all…. but we went anyway. We took the self guided audio tour and it was pretty interesting. It takes about 1.5 hours to get through the entire place but the best part is getting to the top to take pictures of the surrounding beautiful mountains and scenery. Here are some of the picture I took both in the castle and from the rooftop:
Next we went to a bar which is right across from the casino called Adams Cafe. Nothing special about this place, and I do not recommend eating anything there – it’s the true meaning of “bar food” We had a 15 euro microwaved pizza, pretty much uneatable.
Now onto Casino time…..
I have been to a lot of casino’s in my day, but this one takes the cake with the strangest game EVER. The game is horse racing around a felt table. Little jockeys on little tiny horses that appear to get their movement from a magnetic source under the table. Also, it clearly says on it “Sega” just like the video games we all had as kids, so that was the first red flag. Basically, they give you odds and you have to pick the winning horse and the quinella to win. So, of course we had to try it out, and Paul thought he had the perfect way to win. It turns out that he didn’t, but it was fun while it lasted. The second thing that was odd about this casino is that roulette does not have single chips. By that I mean that when you buy a color, they are the minimum for the table. So, unlike every other casino where you can play a single number on the inside with a single bet, you can’t do that here. We asked what is the point of having a color at all? No one could answer this for us, and we still don’t get it. The upside to this is when you do bet on a single number and hit it, you win big.
One important factoid I forgot to mention is that if you visit Switzerland they use franks not euros. Pretty much every place accepts euros but you will get franks back as change. Their money is wildly colorful but the coins are confusing since the fifty cent frank is the size of a dime and the 20 cent frank is as big as a silver dollar!?!