Thursday, September 24, 2015

Nespresso, Castles and Sherlock Holmes in Switzerland

Today my bike and I hopped on a train and in 30 minutes were dropped off in Romont (population 5,100) to begin the 40 mile ride back to Lausanne. The medieval old town part of Romont sits up on the hill and is still protected by fortifications.
 Romont's medieval castle in the old town is used for administrative offices and meetings.
 Entrance into the castle.
 Courtyard of castle.
 The view from the castle out to the farmland.
Last week this brand new Nespresso plant was in the news. Located on the edge of Romont and costing more than $300 million to build I wanted to see it for myself. Nespresso is part of Nestle, the world's largest food company. Walking into the reception area there's a big plaque commemorating the building's dedication 10 days ago.
The Nespresso facility is massive--something like four football fields could fit in the complex. What do they manufacture here? Believe it or not, only one thing--capsules. More specifically the ones for the new large cup Vertuo line for their espresso machines which are only used in the USA and Canada.
Making my way down a switchback road leading to Lucens, population 3,900, I can easily spot Lucens Castle towering over the town.
I've cycled past the castle on many occasions and always get frustrated by the fact it's privately-owned and not open to visitors.
Something strange is going on in the town center as I spot lots of posters bearing the name Sherlock Holmes along with directional arrows. Hmm, I cycle up the road leading to the castle.
At the castle entrance I'm surprised to see people. They don't speak English and my French is minimal but, the castle is open today for some kind of fundraiser so I gladly pay the fee and enter.
Lots of people inside and I find someone to give me the lowdown. The castle dates back to the 1300's and has had a long line of owners and uses. Remember Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the writer of Sherlock Holmes? He ended up an immensely wealthy man and one of his sons, Adrian Conan Doyle (1910-1970) took some of that inherited wealth and bought this castle. In the cellar of the castle Adrian Conan Doyle opened a Sherlock Holmes museum. When Adrian died in 1970 (he's buried on the castle grounds) the new owner continued the museum but, when it was sold again in 1991 the new owner nixed the museum and the public was banished from the castle.
 One of the rooms filled with tapestries.
 View from dungeon window.
 View of castle entrance from high above. You can barely see my bike parked outside
 One of the smaller dining rooms.
This cellar used to house the Sherlock Holmes museum. Today the 1939 movie "The Hound of the Baskervilles" -with Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes is being shown for visitors.
The stairway leads to other buildings on the grounds including a chapel.
This building, though off-limits, gives me an explanation as to why the sudden openness by the castle's owner. In the 1920's the castle was home to a girl's boarding school. Checking out the castle's website:  I learn the castle can now be rented out for various events such as corporate retreats--along with its 21 comfortable rooms completely renovated in 2014. Check out the website to see the rooms.

This London black cab was transporting visitors from the city center to the castle.
Down the hill from the castle on the first floor in a poorly marked building is the new home for the Sherlock Holmes museum.
Outside of the building housing the Sherlock Holmes museum.
Cycling a few miles from Lucens and I'm in Moudon, population 5,500. Up toward the hill lies the old town.
This castle in Moudon's old town dates back to the 1500's and like most places in Switzerland the clock shows the correct time.
This fountain next to the castle has been spewing out refreshing cold drinking water since 1589.
Another fountain in Moudon's town center.
View up to Moudon's old town area along the river.
This busy road has a nice wide sidewalk reserved for pedestrians, cyclists and tractors. Two minutes earlier I was merrily cycling along the road when a sports utility vehicle comes speeding towards me in the PEDESTRIAN/BICYCLE/TRACTOR lane. I was able to get out of the way and watched the driver (an old man looking confused) pass by me.

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