Take Me to the Vineyards. Hiking in Lavaux Experience
830 hectares of terraced vineyards, blue transparent air and turquoise water of Geneva Lake are the things that make Lavaux be really unique part of French Switzerland. It is one of the best places to enjoy eternal beauty, to listen the whispers of nature, inhaling scent of freedom. SUISSEPIC had a hike around Lavaux to Swiss Riviera in Montreux keeping in mind the words of Prince’s song.
Lavaux is a sub-region of Vaud, located in the north of Geneva Lake. Vineyards here grow right from the surface of the lake up to 350m above. See them all making a trail from village to village, moving through the grapes enjoying soft sun and mild wind coming from the lake. The scent of all kind of wines from young to Grand Cru’s is spread all around in the air. And it embraces you.
Vaud’s wine-producers are situated in Calamin, Chardonne, Dezaley, Epesses, Montreux, Saint-Saphorin, Villette and mostly concentrated on white wines. Chasselas of pure golden color counts 73% of all production. Every year in spring and in autumn Lavaux producers open the caves to public. For example on 19-20 May 2018 more than 300 wine-producers will present their products in Lausanne at the Festival of Caves Ouvertes Vaudoises 2018. But it does not mean that on other dates you can’t visit the caves. Opposite you will be warmly welcomed at every single door, where the owner will offer you to share a glass of nutty flavored Chasselas and feel the hospitality the region.
Allors, I started my route at Grandvaux with a pocket travel consultant on my WhatsApp. The idea was not to plan anything in advance and make a tour through Lavaux to Chillion Castle relying on a service of a distant guide whom I contacted the other day on social media.
We arrived to Grandvaux by train from Geneva to Lausanne and then at the local one going to Palezieux for CHF 27. I jumped at the station with a surprise in my eyes, because I had no idea where to go. Vibrating sound in my pocket reminded me that Andrey already calculated my route and we slowly started to move to Rivaz through Epesses and Dezaley.
“Just imagine wine cultivation in Dezaley started in 12 century”, Andrey beeped in my smartphone.
“What about trying its wines?” I smiled sending breathtaking views back to my guide.
“Aha, 5 minutes and you will see the steam ship going from Lausanne to Montreux. It will cheer you with a buzzer. Ready?” asked Andrey.
And next moment I saw a traditional Swiss steamer, which floats across Geneva Lake. And he made a loud sound.
“Staying connected?” meanwhile Andrey asked me.
“Sure thing. Passing Epesses, making a hundred of photos already.”
“Follow Rue de la Corniche and then Rue de la Calamine. In the end you will see the winery. Shall we open the cave? Or continue going thinking about the lunch?”
This distant travel support is a new area of tourism, which follows the development of digital technologies. It is a new opportunity for those who likes guided tours and does not want to spend time crowding in the group or paying too much for concierge services.
“All good? Not lost? We have to be in Rivaz to catch a boat or a train to go to Montreux. Sending you the schedule”, Andrey said.
“GPS works properly”, I smiled again.
“Lunch will be in Montreux at Brasserie du Nuoveau Metropole. There is a restaurant at Grand Rue. Let’s try fish with a touch of lemon and a glass of local Chardonne there”.
Passing Rivaz station I discovered Saint-Saphorin to be very close and took a train till Montreux there for CHF 5. Grand Rue turned out to be just beside Freddie Mercury monument and the train station. At Brasserie du Nuoveau Metropole ‘s the card they offered seasonal specialties like asparagus crème soup with a drop truffled olive oil and traditional Swiss fondue and fish (which was not from Geneva Lake unfortunately). And the owner turned out to be a Russian (at least that was what the personnel told me).
After an hour a new phone beep.
“Let’s go! Chillion is still waiting”.
“Yes, boss! Packing my things”
“We are going to pass the embankments. Pay attention to the trees almost all of them have names. And here is the timetable of the trains from Veytaux-Chillion if you get tired”
“What are you talking about? I am planning to enjoy sunset in Vevey”.
This day I walked 35 km. Enjoying cool wind and fresh alpine air. I saw the cloud lines and snow tops, the lake, the swans, the flowers at the embankments and bushes in bloom. I saw awaking Switzerland and felt the spring with all my heart.