May 1st is a Labor Day here in Switzerland, meaning that I had a mid-week day off that was fitting for a quick day trip somewhere. In Morges, a town in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, there is an annual tulip festival at the beginning of spring. There had been a handful of other weekends that I wanted to go down to see this, but it was raining everywhere those weekends. Fortunately, it was sunny and strangely warm on May 1st, making it a great day to see some flowers and live my most beautiful basic life.
The train trip to Morges was about two and a half hours, which was a good amount of time for some reading. I got to Morges around 11, which gave me some time to walk around the town and along the shores of Lake Geneva for a little while. Morges is pretty and reminded me a bit of a Swiss Santa Barbara.
I also spent some time doing a pretty goofy photo shoot along the way.
I walked a little further into town and ran into a large street market. There were all sorts of things on sale. I didn’t buy anything, but despite the fact that I was in French-speaking Switzerland for the first time where I could try some French-inspired food, I got strangely excited about a stand selling Vietnamese food. Since it was boxed, I could take it back to the shore and have nice picnic for myself.
After a quick meal, I finally made my way over to the tulip festival. It was pretty much exactly what one might expect from a festival dedicated to tulips. It was colorful, there were a lot of flowers and a lot of people posing with the flowers. Including myself.
Actually, I didn’t realize that there were as many varieties of tulips as there were at the festival. They came in all colors, shapes and sizes. Some looked liked your stereotypical tulips and others did not.
They even had ice cream, which was perfect for the warm day.
Of course, there’s only so much time that you can spend at a tulip festival. I knew that going in and was going to combine the trip with a trip to Lausanne (also in the French-speaking part of Switzerland). When I got to the station, however, I made a last-minute change and hopped on a train to Vevey.
Vevey is another small town along Lake Geneva. It’s the site of a wine festival that takes place every twenty-five years (actually occurring later this year). They were setting up the space for the event while I was there.
Vevey is also where Charlie Chaplin spent the last years of his life. He’s buried in town and there’s a statue of him along the lake shore. It’s ultimately why I did the last-minute trip there.
There’s also a big food museum there that I thought I’d check out. I didn’t end up doing that, though. I stepped in, saw that it was full of a lot of kids and thought that may be it was more children-oriented and moved along. There is a pretty cool fork stuck in the lake outside, though.
Now, there was one additional stop that I wanted to make on my rambling tour of the area and that was Montreux. It’s next to Vevey, so it wouldn’t have been a long trip. Now, I could have also waited twenty minutes for the next boat that would have gotten me there, but I figured that it would be easier to just hop on the bus. This would have been easy if I had coins to pay for the ticket and the app that would have let me buy the tickets from my phone actually worked. I jumped off the bus with the idea of finding a store to get change, but managed to jump off in an area where there was absolutely nothing.
So, I ended up walking to Montreux from Vevey. Not one of my best plans, especially since it was significantly warmer than what I packed for. On the other hand, I guess it was a good way to get exercise. The views were also quite nice once I made it over to Montreux.
The views were pretty, but there was only one person I came to Montreux to see and that’s my friend Freddie. Queen recorded one of their albums in Montreux at the famous jazz festival and fell in love with the town. He bought a flat there (which I may have coincidentally passed by when I was walking from one town to the another) and recorded another album there. You can tour the studio he bought there and there’s a statue of him along the lake.
It’s a fitting tribute.
There’s actually a nice castle a little further along the lake, but I was a little wiped out after the long walk and also wanted to get back to Basel with enough time to get some stuff done at home. So, I hopped on a series of trains to make my way back to Basel. It wasn’t as long of a trip as I had expected, but still got back home early evening.
All in all, it was a pretty full day where I managed to see a lot more than I expected I would. I checked the tulip festival, Charlie Chaplin, and Freddie Mercury off of a my Swiss bucket list and the weather could not have been more perfect.