Known for its lush alpine countryside, pure air, glistening lakes and picturesque towns, Switzerland really does deliver on its promises. I visited this gloriously beautiful country with high expectations of an idyllic European escape... I wasn't disappointed.
1) Don't be fooled by Montreux's sophistication, it's got a jazz and rock & roll soul!
Surely, this is a chic town: elegant like its people. At the shores of a sparkling lake, you just want to take a walk by its promenade and fancy shops, and you might think that nothing over the top could ever happen here… Instead, beyond its flair, its quiet lake shores hide a fascinating double identity, calming and burning with artistic inspiration.
Over the years, Montreux has been the muse for some of the most unforgettable international stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Freddy Mercury, and every July the town vibrates under the notes of some of the best jazz in the world! These are stories that you shouldn’t miss when you get there (The Charlie Chaplin museum is indeed a must see!), whilst enjoying a glass of Lavaux wine and some of the best food in the whole country. Montreux simply doesn’t do ordinary…
2) Therapeutic, that's the word
At first I couldn’t grasp why. And then it hit me… the elements! Switzerland’s stories and lifestyle always brings you back to the four elements, air, fire, water, earth, leaving you a sense of peace and reconciliation.
It’s the fresh air of the mountains and that sense of belonging, respect and gratitude to the land in which the Swiss identity becomes tangible. It’s on the fire that ancient rituals of cheese and bells making take place, it’s around the flames which burns under the fondue that people reunite and families become communities. It’s through that constant stream of lakes and rivers that its cultural, linguistic and landscape diversity reconnects and reconciles, and every transition is gentle, every journey is a calming discovery about this surprising country, as well as yourself.
3) What can possibly be so special about cow-bells?
Bells hang under the cows’ necks so the farmers won’t lose them in the alpine mist… that’s all I knew of their purpose before I arrived to Switzerland. Hah, silly me!
Then one day I met a man in an enchanting little village, who every day renews an ancient magic that starts with fire sparkles and metals. Then, clay and music is involved, and the result is everything but an ordinary instrument: sophisticated, shining, and mysterious, which technology will never replace.
Thanks to bell makers, farmers’ tuned ears keep their precious cows safe and there is only one possible conclusion to this story: bell makers are alchemists, cows are musicians, and the whole of Switzerland is an unforgettable melody that you’ll hear echoing from far up its green peaks, if you are lucky enough to visit.