Sunday 11 July 2010

Smoke on the Water

Time for some more travelogue - this time about last week's frolics in HB-land...

We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline
To make records with a mobile, we didn't have much time
Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, Paice

Well - to be precise, we came out to Geneva on sleazyJet EZY1953 and then onward to Lausanne. The weather was HOT and uncomfortably humid - the heat persisted throughout the week but, mercifully, some of the humidity subsided.

Lausanne (or, more properly, Ouchy - the "district" of Lausanne next to Lake Geneva (a.k.a. Lac Leman)) is a hub for the ferries of the Compagnie Generale de Navigation sur le Lac Leman.

We took a ride to Evian, on the south bank of the lake, opposite Lausanne, famous for the eponymous bottled water, which emerges from a spring near Evian.

We found a nice Creperie, run by some very nice boys from Brittany. The place was called "Ar Gedez", which (I am led to believe) means "Equinox" in the Gaelic language common to Bretons, Irish, etc.. You will get a flavour of the place from the facts that
  • my galette was topped with foie gras ice cream and fig conserve
  • the cidre bouche was from a numbered bottle
Of course, being in Evian, we also had some of the local water - I must say, it tastes like decent tap water to me!

Return trip from Evian to Ouchy was on the paddle steamer "Rhone" (Lac Leman is on the Rhone), which had a strange faltering gait - as if there was an imbalance in torque at the paddle wheels from the engines.

I'd forgotten what paddle steamers felt like - not that my experience of these craft is extensive. I remember taking trips from Bournemouth to Swanage on Waverley as a child and am pleased to have seen Waverley still plying her trade whilst I was sailing the Clyde in 2007...

The next day we followed Deep Purple "out to Montreux", this time travelling on P/S "La Suisse", whose motion was plus doucement than her sister "Rhone".

These boats are beautifully kitted out, as you can see from Suisse's dining saloon...

It is worth paying the (c.35%) extra for first class tickets to get the run of the boat - the first class seats offer a much nicer view!

We were on our way to Montreux to visit the Jazz Festival, which is much to be recommended. Travelling to the festival on a 90 minute trip through heavenly scenery on a beautiful paddle steamer only adds to the sense of joy.

We had tickets to see The Pat Metheny Group's gig in the Miles Davis Hall, which was part of their "Songbook Tour". The XYL and I have been Pat Metheny fans since the old days, having last seen them play in London on the Still Life (Talking) tour, 1987.

Verdict: In a word, brilliant! At certain points, verging on a spiritual experience (perhaps most dramatically, when Pat was playing the Pikasso Guitar, which (with an octave doubler sound on the bass) filled the hall like the 32 foot stops of an organ.) The set started with "Phase Dance" (my favourite Metheny Group Track) and included a great version of "James". The loss of drummer Paul Wertico was news to me (shows how out-of-touch I can be). Wertico has been replaced by Antonio Sanchez, who did much more than just occupy the drum stool (I liked the way he kept all his solos in tempo - makes the music more accessible to non-musos).

We took a return visit to the Festival the next day, travelling by train to save cost and time!

Throughout the trip I read Code Breaker by Stephen Pincock and Mark Frary...

... which I had been fortunate enough to pick up (in un-opened condition) at the Stockport Rally last weekend for two quid. A very entertaining read.

I finished the last few pages on the flight home (Sleazy 1952), when I was delighted to find some "Challenges", in which the reader is invited to put what they've learned into practice by cracking some ciphers - but that's a different story!

...-.- de m0xpd

No comments:

Post a Comment