Monday, December 21, 2015

A whirlwind trip to Austria, Italy, and probably Switzerland, part 13

Finally, it was Sunday morning, the last day of our three country business/leisure trip.  As is our habit, we woke up at about 6:00am.  Although I initially had a great impression of the hotel in Vevey, our experience having dinner in the restaurant had dampened my enthusiasm a bit.  We probably should have searched for another place to have breakfast; they are definitely available in the area around Grand Hotel du Lac.  But I remembered the excellent experience we had at breakfast on Saturday morning and was hoping another great breakfast experience would make up for our run in with the snotty Swiss waiter from Saturday night (ooh... try saying that three times fast!).


The best shot I managed to get of the lake.

We got dressed and went back to the restaurant.  We waited a few minutes until another young man, not the one from Saturday night, greeted us and invited us to take a seat.  We chose the same table where we sat the night before.

We were the only ones in the restaurant at 8:00am.  That's probably because the hotel has a brunch from 12-3pm on Sundays.  I bet it's very expensive, though I have read that the food is excellent.  We needed to get on the road, though, so we opted for the regular breakfast buffet.  Instead of coffee, I asked for hot chocolate.  I figured since we were in Switzerland, the hot chocolate would be something to write home about.  Alas, it wasn't.  The waiter brought out a cup of steamed milk and three sachets of hot chocolate powder, one of which was Ovaltine.  I haven't had Ovaltine since I was about twelve years old.  Maybe I should have asked for a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream on the side.


"Hot chocolate"...  Now I know how real southerners felt when I waited on them at The Trellis in Williamsburg and invited them to sweeten their iced tea with the sweeteners in the caddy on the table.

Anyway, I decided not to order anything else special.  I noticed that unlike the awesome lady who had run the breakfast on Saturday, Sunday morning's waiter had not put out labels for the food items.  I ended up being affronted by a chafing dish full of grilled tomatoes and sauteed mushrooms.  This is not a huge deal... I only mention it because the other lady had paid such great attention to detail, while the young chap serving us yesterday seemed to still be learning.  However, I give him credit for being very pleasant and not irritating us.

Also, I noticed that the plates stacked in the plate warmer were much warmer than the ones on Saturday.  The pat of butter I struggled to put on my plate ended up melting by the time I sat down.  We also had to use napkins in order to handle the plates.  Again, not a big deal... just a minor oversight that made an impression.  I'm sure there's a reason why the awesome lady who identified our room number without a hint was working Saturday morning, when more people would be eating breakfast, and the greener waiter was working on Sunday morning, when more people would probably choose brunch.


Melted butter...

Once again, the food quality was very good.  I wasn't as dazzled by the experience as I was on Saturday morning, but at least I didn't leave the restaurant annoyed like I did on Saturday night.

We packed up all our stuff and hauled it down to the car.  Bill went in and settled the bill for our two night stay.  The grand total was 1340 francs.  Again, the bill was presented with a box of chocolates to soften the blow.  It was not the most we've ever spent on lodging, but it probably was the most we've spent for only two nights.  For the most part, we really liked the Grand Hotel du Lac.  I would not hesitate to stay there again or recommend it to others.  If we ever go back to Vevey, I will think about whether or not the deluxe upgrade to the room is worth it.  Had we been in town all day on Saturday, we would have been able to enjoy the lake views.  The sun eventually came out after we got on the train to Gruyeres.  As it was, the times we were in the room we couldn't see the lake due to the morning fog and it being dark outside when we returned.  Also, we could hear faint strains of the piano player because our room was right over the restaurant, though thanks to Advil PM, it was a temporary nuisance.   On the plus side, the rooms on the first floor had bigger balconies than the ones on the higher floors.

The restaurant also seems to be hit or miss.  We had one really great experience there, one poor one, and one that was about average.  The food was uniformly good, but for what we were paying, I think the restaurant should have been better than it was.

The rest of the staff was very kind and helpful and the property is really beautiful.  In fact, the whole area around Lake Geneva is gorgeous.  I'd love to go back and see more of it sometime.  I think if we have the time and chance to do it, we will return... after we save up some money.

Our drive back to Germany was mostly uneventful, if foggy.  Switzerland is an interesting country.  Since they have so many official languages there, you can see when you cross over to another area.  One minute, all the signs were in French; the next minute, they were in German.  We stopped at a rest stop, which was very bare bones.  Basically, it consisted of a row of unisex stalls that weren't all that clean and offered no sink for hand washing.  I did spot a spigot on the side of the building.  Maybe that's for those who want to rinse off.




Swiss rest stop.  At least it was free!


Border...



Blurry German sign.

Bill struggled to distract me from playing with the seatbelt.  He's a safety freak and I get bored and restless on long car trips.  We eventually made it back to Germany in one piece after crossing the two lane border.  Since it was almost lunchtime, we stopped at a truck stop, hoping to find chicken.  We decided to pass on eating there, since they didn't have anything that looked especially appealing.  That was a mistake, since we ended up stopping in Horb and couldn't quickly find anything there.  The one place we tried was booked solid.

We'll have to go back to Horb and explore it more, though.  It looks like a really interesting town.  Had I not been in a hurry to get home and reunite with our dogs, we might have tried harder to find a spot for lunch.  I did at least get a few photos.


Horb


Weird sculpture.  It smelled like it had served a few public urinators.


I kind of identify with this one...



A black cat followed us...

Overall, we enjoyed our trip.  It was great to be able to get away for awhile and actually do some traveling instead of hanging around Stuttgart.  Our next planned trip is in March, but I'm hoping we can do a short trip sometime before then.  For now, I guess I'll get back to trying and reviewing local restaurants and attractions!

3 comments:

  1. Was that transparent cubicle that looks like and old-fashioned telephone booth a bathroom? God, I hope not.

    I'm surprised Bill didn't go all Pat Boone on you over the seatbelts.

    I would die if I were playing piano in a restaurant and could be heard in the hotel rooms on the next floor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you read the post preceding this one? Because that's the one I think you might relate to... The piano player was lame.

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    2. Oh, and Bill threatened to go all Pat Boone on me. In fact, I mentioned that to him and that you were the only person reading my blog who gets the reference.

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