As soon as we arrived we logged our electronic devices on to the speedy fibre broadband Swiss Telecom wi-fi, and advised the children of our arrival. After a late breakfast, we walked the couple of hundred metres down to the lake through a pedestrian tunnel under the road to Territet railway station. A footpath runs by the lake, through the Commune de Montreux and beyond, said to be 30km long. The lake wall is constructed to contain flowers and shrubs along much of its length. Given that the climate here is mild for much of the year, the vegetation is reminiscent of the Mediterranean coast, richly colourful.
We walked from Territet into Montreux, found the main shopping street and did some top-up food shopping. The fridge was already stocked with most of the essentials, so it was mainly veggies and cheese we needed. Food prices as notably high here, about a third dearer than Britain, and double that of the euro-zone. It's twenty minutes drive around the end of the lake to St Gingolph in France. It may not be worth going there to try and save money, except for a very big food shopping trip, as France voisine is not going to be as cheap for fresh food as we found Spain to be. We just make the necessary adjustments and live within our means, so we can keep all our budgeted cash for travel, and benefit from our abonnements demi-tarif.
We returned to Church House for lunch, and really needed an afternoon siesta afterwards. Since we've been here, curiously, a small bus has arrived and departed, usually empty from the alley next to the house. When Clare went around the back to check out the cost of riding up to Glion on the funicular railway behind the house, she got chatting to a lady who was waiting for the bus. It seems this is a replacement railway service, as the funicular is hors de service this week for annual checks and maintenance.
I worked on my Sunday sermon, staring out of the window at a large building 100 metres away clad in plastic sheets covering scaffolding. Then I went for a walk to find out what it was. It looked as if it was old and elegant from what could be seen of it. A history plaque on the end wall, near its side entrance stated that it's the historic Hotel des Alpes - Grand Hotel. In the late 19th century it hosted Austro-Hungarian empire royalty among its guests, and the first telephone in Switzerland. As an early mass tourism venue it pre-dated the arrival of the railway line and indeed helped to attract developers to extend rail travel to Territet and beyond. It ceased to be an hotel thirty years ago. Part of it became a theatre. It's now being restored, and is treated as a national heritage conservation site.
Early evening, hours before sunset, heavy clouds rolled in from the mountains and we had several hours of heavy rain and thunderstorms. We found out how the telly works and were delighted to find we could access UK TV channels. This means we can watch the new series of Inspector Montalbano tomorrow night. Later, Jane visited us and briefed us about forthcoming services and chaplaincy life in changing times. After decades of demographic changes, Montreux and Lausanne chaplainces are much diminished in support.
Tourism still flourishes but there are far fewer ex-pat residents now than in the golden era when many wealthy Brits retired along the lake and built these churches. In between the two is Vevey chaplaincy. It flourishes, due to the large population of local anglophone residents, employed at Nestle's headquarters and other satellite companies. What will the future bring? Both Montreux and Lausanne are currently in vacancy wondering how to proceed, especially in the light of a shortage of clergy able and willing to come and settle here for ministry.