字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Our journey begins to the north of Montreux at the medieval hilltop town Romont. Heading east and deeper into the mountains, we'll discover the Chartreuse de la Valsainte, an ancient hermetic monastery. We'll fly southward to Lake Geneva, to Montreux itself: famous the world over for its annual Jazz Festival. It's then into the mountains, and the famous ski resort of Verbier. Moving eastward, we'll weave through the spectacular mountain passes of Valais, before taking a brief passage through northern Italy. Once back in Switzerland, we'll visit the cities of Locarno and Ascona on the shores of Lake Maggiore. We'll end our journey over the Brissago Islands, with its unexpected botanical gardens sitting out in the middle of the lake. Here in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, we find the picturesque medieval town of Romont. Its name is an abbreviation of Rotundo Monte, or "the round mountain", describing the gently sloping hill upon which it sits. It is most known for the beauty of its ancient stained glass windows that decorate many of its old stone churches and sanctuaries. Romont passed between royal houses throughout the Middle Ages, and eventually sided with the Helvetic Republic, which was the first early manifestation of Switzerland as a unified state. The town's well-preserved fortifications, streets, and buildings are of such great historical significance that the entire town is on the Swiss inventory of heritage sites. Moving Eastward and deeper into the mountains, we come to the last remaining Carthusian monastery in all of Switzerland... Chartreuse de la Valsainte. The Carthusian sect has a way of life based on a mix of hermetic isolation and communal living. Monks here spend most of each day in their cells - meditating, praying, and writing. But this isolation is interspersed with communal prayers and long group walks through the mountainous countryside. Although the community feeling amongst the monks is strong and encouraged, contact with the outside world is limited. Only one visit a year from family members is permitted. Continuing eastward we arrive at Gruyere castle, standing guard at the head of the quaint medieval town of the same name. Construction began in the 11th century to protect the townsfolk in the valley below. From then up until the 16th century the town flourished; and 19 counts and their families resided here over the years. The last of these, Michel, fell into financial difficulties in 1554, after which the prominent Bovy and Ballan royal houses restored the castle into a summer residence. In 1938 the Fribourg municipality bought it, and now together with its gardens opened it up to the public. The wealth of Gruyere's old town has traditionally come from agriculture - most importantly, Gruyere cheese's now famous the world over. A popular tourist spot, the town has nevertheless managed to retain the bucolic, peaceful atmosphere for its 1,500 residents. But, despite the town's love for the old ways of life, it has produced some very progressive characters. H.R. Giger, for instance, the famous Swiss designer who is well-known for his work on the Alien movies, was born and raised here. And recently a museum which holds the largest collection of his works was established. Now we move south and away from the mountains, to the city of Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva. The border between Switzerland and France runs through the centre of this lake, and as a result Montreux has become a vibrant intersection of cultures. But without doubt the city is most renowned for its famous annual music festival. It started in the 1960's but reached heights of new fame when Deep Purple wrote the song "Smoke on the Water", which recounts the night Frank Zappa set the Casino on fire with a flare gun during a concert. These days Montreux often receives 200,000 visitors a year and throngs of respected international artists. And leading up from the city is this funicular railway. One of the carriages descends while the other is pulled upwards, keeping the system always in balance: a very effective and energy efficient way to gain plenty of altitude in a short amount of time - quite important in these Swiss mountain towns. The ride takes passengers through fields of beautiful Alpine flowers in the spring; and provides a quick lift for recreational sledgers in the winter. As we move along the northern shore of Lake Geneva over Autoroute 9, you can see why Switzerland is famous for its spectacular mountain roads. The highway below is a perfect example of the difficult feats of engineering employed to maintain the natural aesthetic of the countryside. And perhaps more enviable than these wonderful roads, is Switzerland's remarkably extensive rail network through the alps - which runs on a highly efficient and practical schedule. Almost all services are timed so that connecting trains arrive at precise intervals. This means that passengers rarely have to wait around for a connection. And the services are so dependable, you can more or less set your watch by them. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Geneva lies the spectacular Chateau de Chillon. The medieval fortress began as a number of separate buildings, and over the centuries they merged, serving as a status symbol for the Savoy family who controlled them. The castle has been taken many times since, but never through sieges or bombardment. This explains why Chillon has remained beautifully intact. It's captured the imagination of artists, poets and philosophers. 19th century poets Lord Byron and Percy Shelley took a boat trip out on the lake to visit the famed Chateau. Inspired by the story of a monk who was imprisoned here for his beliefs, Byron wrote the famous poem Prisoner of Chillon. And in more recent times, Freddie Mercury --of the group, Queen, stopping for a visit here after playing at the Montreux Festival, said of the place: "This must be heaven". Now we'll travel East from Lake Geneva, to the most mountainous region in Switzerland. Here, it seems quaint settlements are nestled in each valley. Before modern transport these small agricultural villages would have been largely inaccessible to each other. As a result each habitation, only separated by a few kilometres, developed dialects so vastly different that sometimes residents from neighbouring villages couldn't even understand each other. The mountains in this area are considered to be some of the best off-piste skiing locations in the world. The powdery snow plasters these peaks and valleys in the wintertime, drawing tourists from around the world. And perhaps the most popular ski resort in all of Switzerland is here in the town of Verbier. At the turn of the century this place consisted of a few huts; and its economy revolved entirely around dairy farming and cattle rearing, like most other small villages in the region. But then, in 1925 a group of mountaineers explored the area, discovering the fabulous skiing potential here. Soon afterwards a small commercial operation was established. The business was slow to take off: late in the 1950's the resort still only had three employees. That was quick to change in the 1970's, when a worldwide ski boom propelled this once quaint town into stardom. Now it is a major winter sports hub with its population rising to nearly 40,000 during the season. The minimal rainfall, plentiful running water, and ample sunshine make these mountain valleys ideal for vineyards. Wine-making has been a major part of Swiss agricultural life for hundreds of years, and its success is largely attributed to the sophisticated irrigation techniques developed long ago and continually refined to this day. 'Bisses', or water channels that run in abundance down the mountainsides are designed to provide the grape vines with just the right amount of moisture. The waters from these valleys and mountain streams are all part of the vast Rhone River Basin. All in all, Switzerland has 5% of the continent's fresh water supply, and so is often referred to as "Europe's water tower". A few valleys over we come to Sion, one of the country's oldest settlements. There's evidence that Neolithic farmers were working the land here over 6,000 years ago. It later became a busy trading post during the Roman Empire. The town is flanked by twin fortifications standing on rocky outcrops which were carved out by glaciers in the last ice age. In the foreground is the Valere Basilica, the more well-maintained and well-known of the two. This hilltop church was commissioned by the Bishop of Sion soon after the city was established as Switzerland's first Catholic Diocese in the 4th century. And due to the city's close relationship with Christian Roman power, the Bishops were able to wrangle almost complete sovereignty for Sion. Today, Valere Basilica is home to what is thought to be the oldest organ in the world still in continuous use; built in 1435. And on the opposite hill is Tourbillon Castle. Now little more than a ruin, this fortress - with its thick walls, and numerous towers and battlements - was once a formidable deterrent to invading forces. Sion was attacked by the French in the 14th century, forcefully incorporated into the Helvetic Republic in the 16th century, and ransacked by various powerful families in the region over the years. It figures that Tourbillon saw its fair share of action. Despite the city's tumultuous history of warfare the castle managed to remain intact until 1788, when it was devastated by fire. The stones were scavenged for a number of years to reinforce other buildings in the town, until finally what was left of Tourbillon was officially protected by the local government. Further west we find one of the most breath-taking backdrops to any sport. Spread out at 1,800 metres above sea level, and perched over the picturesque Rhone Valley, is the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Course. The sport was played here casually since 1905, as prior to WWI golf was almost solely the prerogative of the British Gentry. As a result the venue wasn't established in a big way until 1939 when it hosted its first European Masters Tournament. About 20 years ago the course got its second boost, when Severiano Ballesteros, the famed Spanish golf star, was commissioned to re-design the grounds. Now it's considered to be one of the top courses in the world. The Valais region covers some of the most beautiful and rugged terrain in Switzerland, and has presented builders and engineers throughout the centuries with irresistible challenges. ... Like these bridges that cross one of the countless sharp and deep ravines. The gorge has been carved out by running water over thousands of years and is now roughly 800 metres deep. The old stone bridge and the modern car crossing side by side is a wonderful example of how the Swiss merge the past and present with seamless grace. The Alps make up 65% of Switzerland, so the country's engineers had to become experts in mountain travel if they wanted to get anywhere! And tunnels are their forte. The first Swiss mountain tunnel was built in 1708; and now they're woven beneath a large portion of the alps. Traditionally Swiss villages were weeks of travel apart from each other, and inaccessible most of the year; but now almost every isolated hamlet is no more than a day's travel by train.