Day 1 – Planes, Trains and Luggage Trolleys to the Montreux Jazz Festival
After 36 hours of flying, six airline meals and a train-ride, I finally found myself in Montreux, Switzerland. Montreux is at the base of the Swiss Alps and is nestled in what is referred to as 'the Swiss Riviera' as it is an idyllic town resting on the banks of placid Lake Geneva. Despite being so jet lagged I ached all over, I could not help but have my breathe taken away at first glimpse of the magnificent mountains and peaks. I can only just imagine how sensational this place must be during ski season. True to my typical practice of packing for every possible circumstance and occasion (like James Bond - I never know when I will need a whip on an evening gown in a flash), I struggled to get my luggage off a train and on to a trolley. If someone were filming it would have made for great YouTube content. I was tired, dizzy and physically exhausted and wrestled Mr Bean-esque with the luggage cart swearing under my breath. In Geneva I had been saved by a very nice chauffeur who assisted me and then a porter at the Geneva train-station who I handsomely tipped for helping me get to and on the right train. At 6:30am I couldn't even try to speak French or fend for myself.
I found my way to the hotel which was conveniently located across the road of from the Montreux Train Station pushing the trolley over the uneven cobblestone-like surface. The vibrations ripped through my arms and rattled my teeth. (Note to self about packing more than my body weight in future).
The Suisse Majestic Hotel staff looked over-worked and overwhelmed after a wave of check-outs when I descended on them to check-in. My room was ready and they didn't seem to understand that I really needed to get where-ever it was that I was going and fast as I was fading. I impatiently tried to push the luggage trolley into the lift but was thwarted by a front desk employee.
The room located on the corner on the 6th floor offered a great view of Lake Geneva and from my little balcony I can see and hear (!) the happenings of the Montreux Jazz Festival. My plans for a nap were quickly dismissed as the sound of the Brazilian boat beckoned with Samba revelers who begin the party at about mid-day and carry on til the wee hours of the morning. The other side of the hotel is facing the railway station across the road so it was all much of a muchness in relation to the noise factor. There is simply no rest for the wicked in Montreux during the Montreux Jazz Festival.
After unpacking, I set out to sort out my connectivity challenges and found a post-office conveniently located across the road. I purchased a local SIM card which helps me manage calls to and from my family and avoid the ridiculously high cost of roaming on mobile phones. I recommend this for those who need to be accessible by phone and recommend removing your SIM Card from your smart phone before you travel. Smart phones love to talk to the internet and will "push" data to the net and from the net without manual execution. On two occasions I have been slammed with bills of over $1K in data parsing costs - because I was unaware of how smart my smart-phone really was.
DigitalGodess's Travel Tip: No Sim - No Bill. Use wi-fi where and however you can pick it up or purchase an access in the country that you are visiting. Find a hot-spot and hang out there a few times a day.
Got a Travel Tip for me? Please leave it here along with your feedback or a questions on Montreux or the Montreux Jazz Festival. I will do my best to get you an answer!
Big Hugs from Lake Geneva