Azure-blue waters, colourful villages lure visitors to Lake Geneva; McClatchy; Times Colonist

Switzerland – Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces

Walking along with my guide, Gundela, through what was undoubtedly one of the most spectacular wine trails I have ever experienced, I had to wonder how, nearly a thousand years ago, the Lavaux terraced vineyards were planted on these dizzyingly steep slopes along Switzerland’s Lake Geneva.

“We are pretty certain the Romans planted the first grapes in this area, but our documentation only goes back to the 12th century, when monks settled here and began to cultivate the vineyards,” Gundela explained as we trekked along the five-kilometre walking path through this UNESCO world heritage site.

And it was no easy task for those enterprising monks. Because of the steep slopes, fortifying walls had to be laboriously constructed of stone, and they are still in existence — and doing their job — to this day.

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