The Allure of Montreux, Switzerland

Hillside landscape of Montreux, Lake Geneva, and island Castle of Chillon in the far distance

Hillside landscape of Montreux, Lake Geneva, and island Castle of Chillon in the far distance

Some places simply inspire. Montreux in French-speaking Switzerland is one of them. If only we could wake up to it every day.

Some of the most prolific before us did, from composers and musicians to writers, poets, actors, and politicians. Through the centuries, on the banks of Lake Geneva, they sipped their coffee at sunrise, communed at the weekly marketplace, drank wine from the ancient vineyards of Lavaux, and contemplated. The glistening lake and grandeur of the Alps provided the muse.

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Genève, a Dream of Mankind

A view from Hotel Le Richemond

A view from Hotel Le Richemond

Genève, Switzerland, a rather small city of 186,000 inhabitants, is the world center for diplomacy, the birthplace of the Red Cross and Geneva Conventions, and home to the United Nations and numerous international humanitarian organizations. Located on the bank of Lac Léman—the largest lake in Europe—and surrounded by the Alps and Jura Mountains, Geneva is green, architecturally beautiful, and pedestrian-friendly. Geneva residents are well educated and open-minded, speak three or four languages, and hold important jobs with the 171 diplomatic missions, 35 international organizations linked to the UN, or 250 non-governmental organizations. Their quality of life is higher than in some of the richest European capitals.

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A View From the Top: Refocusing From the Swiss Alps

The Matterhorn is the topographic icon of Switzerland

The Matterhorn is the topographic icon of Switzerland

Perhaps as a nod to its successful “neutral nation” bit, Switzerland isn’t really one big country so much as it’s a handful of small countries under one flag. There’s no one language (varietals of German, French, Italian, and the increasingly rare Rumantsch are grouped throughout the nation), and there’s certainly no homogeneous culture. And though my travels have been isolated to western Switzerland, the diversity of a country only twice the size of Massachusetts is evident even between its cities—starting with Geneva.

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Shopping and Adventure Sports in St. Moritz, Switzerland

Audi sled at the Olympic bob run

Audi sled at the Olympic bob run

When Jason and I visited St. Moritz, Switzerland, we were anticipating super high-end, luxury experiences, and that is exactly what we found: shopping on the Via Serlas with old friends such as Gucci, Chanel, Rolex, and Hermes. Alongside the shopping extravaganza are the local specialty shops, such as confectionaries at Hauser and Hanselmann, where Jason and I got our first taste of the celebrated Engadin walnut cake. It was so good we bought more to bring home as gifts. It is suggested to just stroll the street and enjoy all the wonderful surprises around each corner.

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