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Peace at the end of the line. A trip to Rochers de Naye

August 26, 2017

A train ride to Rochers de Naye, Vaud, Switzerland

A train ride to Rochers de Naye, Vaud, Switzerland

I turned left out of the little station at the end of the line at Rochers de Naye. Totally alone with the breeze, the view, the sound of buzzing insects and the clanging of cow bells from the valley below. It turns out everyone else turned right leaving me alone, at peace with my thoughts, stillness, and heart full of the utter, overwhelming beauty of it all.  Where did you last feel like this?

There are many different trains in Switzerland: some luxurious and state of the art, some pretty standard and some which feel old and comfortable like Grandma’s rocking chair. All are clean and punctual. This train fell firmly into the latter, well-worn, charming category and, as a cog train with special teeth on the track to assist with the steep gradients ahead, had a rhythmic chugging to the steady motion. The friendly conductor ran onto the platform in Montreux to validate my ticket for me in the special machine (I’d forgotten) and then we were off, clattering gently along the edge of Lac Leman, then climbing upwards through verdant pasture, dark tunnels, passing wooden chalets with carved edges to their sloping eaves and neat window boxes of bright geraniums. The journey through the alpine countryside for about an hour was supremely relaxing, it would be worth buying a ticket for this alone.

A visit to Rochers de Naye, Vaud, Switzerland

Upwards and upwards we climbed. I felt I was willing ‘the little train that could’ not to give up as it hauled us to vertiginous heights. Finally we rounded a bend to the small platform at the end of the line and passengers swarmed to the front to disembark, and as mentioned, did a disappearing act.

I’d been looking for the spot I’d seen on Instagram and scaled a quite precarious mound, glad that no one was there to witness my scrambling. The only downside was not having a friendly passer-by to ask to take a pic so I abandoned all thoughts of this and threw myself into enjoying the moment.

There were some rather randomly placed yurts nearby – apparently you can stay in them. I traced the narrow path signposted to the alpine garden, reached the wooden gate and picked my way through this little rockery paradise in the shadow of the mountains. Planted in 1896 with alpine flowers, including the Swiss emblem Eidelweiss, the garden is named after the poet Eugène Rambert who was an avid nature lover. I could see the cows below on their immaculate pasture, the bells competing with the hum of bees and the tiniest breath of wind under the beating sun. This little piece of heaven was mine alone.

I picked up pace on the way back and marched through the station, past netted enclosures housing marmots (all hiding from the sun) to reach an alternative view-point at 2,042m over Lake Leman and the Vaud region, again totally alone with my thoughts and the extraordinary scene. There is a restaurant that can be reached through a long tunnel at the end of the platform where you can enjoy these views with refreshments – I guess that’s where everyone else went.

A train ride to Rochers de Naye, Vaud, Switzerland

A train ride to Rochers de Naye, Vaud, Switzerland

In Winter this is a place for skiers and has a hut to visit Father Christmas, but I was more than content to explore this tranquil setting under the summer sun. Even thinking about it now makes my shoulders sink, my mind a little calmer. The train journey back down the mountain along wooded and grassy swathes and the shimmering blue water, followed by the paddle steamer over the lake from Montreux to Vevey, was the perfect ending.

Here’s a little video of the journey up and down and what was at the top… Would love to know what you think.

 

Thank you to Vaud Tourism for helping me discover this lovely place.

More information about Rochers de Naye here.

A visit to Rochers de Naye, Vaud, Switzerland

Where do you go to clear your head and lift your spirits?

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17 Comments
  1. Dave Reeder permalink
    August 26, 2017 11:19 am

    Gorgeous pics, Sally, of such a tranquil place – the kind of scenery that really uplifts the spirits. For your future consideration, I absolutely loved the Cirque de Gavarnie is a cirque in the central Pyrenees, which has a similar majesty and calm. To clear my head and lift my spirits? Well, in Dubai, that used often to be the drive to Barracuda – the drive on a Friday morning was peaceful, especially with the thought that I would soon be lifting spirits into the back of the car… More seriously, I love the countryside here on Dartmoor, which always fills me with gratitude that I ended up here. Still waiting for a car but I probably manage to see more on the bus to and from Exeter – almost certainly because I’m not driving. Special treats are always the glimpses of the upper River Teign which the bus crosses a couple of times – shallow, fast-flowing and rich with healthy plants. And there’s always something new to spot. On the trip into Exeter a few days ago, we pulled over to let a car pass and there, in the hedgerow, was an ancient well. Whilst it’s exhilarating to see the wide landscapes, sometimes the small details are just as life affirming.

    • August 28, 2017 4:13 pm

      That’s tickled me Dave… but I know what you mean about the drive across the desert to the Northern Emirates. As you know I share your love of Dartmoor and feel the same about the wide open spaces, the raw beauty of nature and the little details.

  2. gingeybiteseats permalink
    August 26, 2017 1:01 pm

    This place looks absolutely beautiful, what a peaceful and wonderful walk you must have had. I can imagine the landscape was very different to Dubai!

    • August 28, 2017 4:11 pm

      It was the perfect escape from the Dubai summer heat – even though the temperatures were quite high when I was there.

  3. August 27, 2017 7:32 pm

    I used to visit Montreux every year for a conference and stay on for a bit of rest and relaxation. This is just the sort of place I’d go. It’s such a lovely part of the world and I remember, like you, being stunned by the beauty of the flowers

    • August 28, 2017 4:10 pm

      I spent a few days near Montreux during and after the jazz festival. It’s such a beautiful part of the world in so many ways. Glad you have happy memories.

  4. August 28, 2017 1:46 am

    Lovely trip shots! Makes me want to pack my bag.

    • August 28, 2017 4:09 pm

      So glad Teresa. I can’t recommend this part of the world highly enough.

  5. August 28, 2017 4:49 am

    What a stunning landscape.. I love the wildflowers and all the greenery – it’s just the kind of thing you really miss the most when you’re living in a desert.

    • August 28, 2017 4:08 pm

      I do so agree – even clouds seem mesmerising.

  6. August 28, 2017 6:19 am

    Beautiful photos. Makes me want to travel there 🙂

  7. August 28, 2017 9:36 am

    Such a beautiful, serene place! I wouldn’t mind staying put here for a long, long time, just healing my soul bit by bit, taking in the sights and smells and sounds!

    • August 28, 2017 4:07 pm

      I was very sad to leave – it was such a restorative break.

  8. August 29, 2017 9:12 pm

    The combination of your visit to the jazz festival in Montreux with your solo exploration of Rochers de Naye sounds absolutely magical. I’ve only ever been to Switzerland in the winter, to visit friends and to ski, but your beautiful images and the lovely little video of the views from the train make me want to speed the calendar and head straight there for early summer. Lovely post, as always, Sally xx

  9. September 6, 2017 12:00 am

    Always love your photography but you’ve outdone yourself here, I feel calmer just looking at your pics!!!

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