There were special offers for mountain excursions by the CFF (chemins de fer fédéraux, the Swiss national railways) in July. As the hubby and I love going to the mountains, we thus decided to take advantage of the offers and went on a few day trips.
Our very first mountain trip was to Rochers-de-Naye, an impressive rock formation situated high above Montreux. According to the hubby, we had been there before during winter several years ago but, seriously, I just could not remember having done so! But anyhow, this time round we went in summer so the experience would be different even if I had remembered going there the first time!
To get there from Lausanne, we had to change at Montreux railway station to a special train (the Montreux-Glion-Rochers-de-Naye, which is operated by the same company that runs MOB, better known as the Golden pass panoramic train, and which uses cogs all along the 11km or so of tracks it follows from Montreux to Rochers-de-Naye) that would bring us all the way up to Rochers-de-Naye, some 2,042 metres above sea level.
I have to say that the view on the way up to Rochers-de-Naye was really beautiful! And it was also just as wonderful to be up there. So … silly me … how could I have forgotten going there?!
Anyway … here are the photos of our excursion to Rochers-de-Naye (reminder: you can click on the photos to enlarge them or roll your mouse on them to display background info)…
The view from the train stop at Glion … after leaving Montreux. You can see the other end of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) with Villeneuve and the canton of Wallis (Valais, in French) from here.
Our train making a stop at Caux. It was one of the more colourful trains (this one advertising the Christmas market at Montreux) travelling between Rochers-de-Naye and Montreux. Everyone enters by the front door for the train driver to check the ticket.
One of the stops further up the mountain en route to Rochers-de-Naye. At the far end are tunnels (or, as explained by the hubby, avalanche shelters), which the train would have to pass through in order to reach Rochers-de-Naye. The long tunnel/avalanche shelter on the left cuts through the mountain.
And the view of Lac Léman, this time looking towards the other end of the lake (i.e. towards Geneva), from near the station.
And the view … as we climbed higher and higher towards Rochers-de-Naye. I really love the view and the different shades of colour on the mountain range.
And the view as we went even higher. Not long after this, we arrived at the station of Rochers-de-Naye … peaking at 2,042 metres above sea level … which despite being in summer … was quite cold (as a result of the cool spate of weather we had had in July). Cold enough to still have some snow, in fact! Thankfully, I had an outdoor jacket and scarf to help keep me warm. The hubby adds that Rochers-de-Naye means snowy rocks in the local dialect (naye = neige = snow; rochers = rocks) and that, therefore, one should be prepared for the cold (and dress accordingly) … even in summer!
Just a few metres away from where the train ends, there is a panoramic restaurant that was carved out from the mountain. There are in fact two restaurants … one is just next to the station … and the other is on the other side of the mountain, looking above the lake. To get to Plein Roc (‘full rock’, i.e. the panoramic restaurant), we had to take a very long tunnel that literally cuts through the mountain. Looking at the tunnel … it is hard to believe that it actually leads to a nice restaurant, no? 🙂
But this was how the interior of the restaurant looked like with wide glass windows on the right … which is supposed to have a fantastic view. Unfortunately, it turned misty not long after we arrived at this restaurant … so this is why there is no view on this picture at all lah!
In fact, there are viewing platforms just outside the restaurant … which is why it is called a panoramic restaurant. We did go out to check it out but because of the mist … there was nothing worth photographing (although on his reconnaissance mission while I was visiting the other restaurant the hubby was able to enjoy the beautiful panorama before the mist came down). The staff seemed a little demoralised as business did not look very good, which was not surprising given a mostly wet and cold month of July and a Swiss franc at record highs against the US dollar and the euro … poor them, we hope that business will recover soon as the restaurant is a nice place. So after a quick drink, we went back out in order to check out the area.
A train leaving the station through the mist. Fortunately, the mist and the slight snow (yup it even snowed for a while when we were up there!) did not last long … so we were able to still enjoy our walk and the view from there.
Located just beside the restaurants and train station were these interesting looking Mongolian-style tents (called yurts). Apparently, these tents can be rented (info here) but I am not sure how comfortable it is inside as all the doors were locked so we could not sneak a peek inside. However, as you can see, they were not very high since the door is only slightly higher than I am … and … I am a miniature as the hubby is fond of telling me! Naughty him!
From here we headed for the Alpine Garden located about 200 metres away. But … I think this Alpine Garden, called La Rambertia and which is more than a hundred years old, deserves an entry of its own. So I will share the photos of the Alpine Garden in the next entry lah huh? 😉
From the Alpine Garden we decided to go to the viewing platform located at the very top of the mountain. So … from the Alpine Garden we had to go back down towards the yurts and then made our way up to the platform (with a tall pole beside it).
The view of the same restaurants and railway station from the other side as we made our way to the viewing platform. It was really beautiful out there. But as it was quite a climb … I had to rest a few times and took the opportunity to take some snapshots at the same time.
The hubby on the other hand took the opportunity during the walk up to have his lunch! 🙂
The view of the restaurant/hotel and railway station with the tents and their surroundings … as seen from the belvedere.
A black and white map … giving the names of the various mountains that one can see from the platform.
On the opposite side … one can enjoy …
… a beautiful view of the wide expanse of Lac Léman (belvedere means beautiful view in Italian).
If the day had been nicer and clearer … we could have seen as far as Geneva, the other end of Lac Léman … including its famous Jet d’eau! Unfortunately, it was not a nice day. In fact it got misty again when we were on the platform … so we had to wait a while just so that we could get some decent shots of the lake!
There was also another map showing the various towns and cities found along what is the biggest lake in Switzerland.
We decided to go down the other way … by walking along the edge of the mountain, which is protected by fences only along the area of the ridge closest to the belvedere. However, along the way I could not resist stopping … to take photos of some of the alpine flowers I saw there.
I was trying hard to get good shots of the alpine flowers I had spotted near the edge against the backdrop of Lac Léman ... but instead … I got a good scolding from the hubby for putting my life at risk by going too near the edge of the mountain. 😦
I suppose he has very good reason to worry as accidents can happen any time when one is not careful when walking on mountains (the hubby adds, especially close to ridges, which are by nature highly treacherous) … and in fact he recently read that there had been a 10% increase in the number of deaths of walkers or mountain climbers on Swiss mountains this year over last year owing to the increased popularity of such activities (for example, see page 40 of the annual report 2011 of the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention). So … okay lah Ta, I will be more careful next time!
But at least I got my shots! hehehe … 🙂
Oh yes … as the title of this entry indicates, Rochers-de-Naye is the home for an animal called marmot. So, how can I share an entry on Rochers-de-Naye without showing a few photos of the marmots right?
In case you wonder what marmots look like, this is how …
The marmots (from the French word marmotte) … belong to the squirrel family (they are rodents) but are mainly found in mountainous areas.
While the ones on the left are shy (or was it just plain snotty?) … and generally ignore the call of visitors who tried to get them to come nearer … the one on the right was super friendly and would come even if you did not call him (or is it her?). Obviously it knows that visitors generally will come with something for it. Unfortunately not these visitors. 😉 There are signs telling visitors not to feed the animals … although by the way he behaves, obviously many must have ignored the signs!
The marmots are kept in the white squarish fenced areas on the slope of the mountain.
However, for those who prefer not to trek up the slope to see the marmots there … there are also a few marmots just beside the restaurants and train station.
But … if you must know … the ones here are the snotty ones … probably as they attract all the attention because of their cage’s strategic location!
Other entry related to Rochers-de-Naye:
Other entries on the mountains in the region:
- It was not THAT late for the narcissus … after all … !
- Leaving it too late for the narcissus …
- Trekking through Vallon de Nant…
- A second visit to La Berneuse … a month later …
- Our visit to La Berneuse on the second day of autumn …
- La Berneuse…