Underground passages are a feature of Swiss railway stations. Steps and ramps allow access. The choice facing a naive traveller is left or right, to the front or the back of the station. Along the Swiss Riviera the front of the station could be facing the mountains, Lausanne for example, or facing the lake, Montreux and Vevey in particular.
Travellers arriving in Vevey at platform one on Lausanne and Geneva bound trains have another choice. They can walk back in the direction of Martigny in the Valais almost to the end of the platform, veer right onto an almost imperceptable path that turns into Rue de la Glergère.
This narrow street dissects Rue des Communaux, the road that fronts the buildings of the railway station, and Avenue de la Gare, the main thoroughfare through the town, and comes out on Rue du Simplon.
It is a short walk through a tree-lined plaza to Rue du Théâtre and the Confiserie Poyet housed at number eight. If you were in the mood you could enter this cornucopia of sweet delights, savour a slow coffee or tea, eat a cake, buy the chocolates of your choice and be back in the station for the next train home in less than an hour.
This, however, would be a waste of your journey, especially if you have arrived on a Tuesday – market day in the expansive Grand Place, a short walk further along Rue du Théâtre behind Vevey-Marché station and the shimmering olive green sheen of Lac Léman.
By chance we have arrived on a Tuesday on the cusp between the last warm days of autumn and the first cold days of winter. There is a slight chill in the dry air. As the morning progresses the air begins to warm. The sight of dark clouds over the lake is a sign of rain.
The market at Vevey has a reputation beyond the Grand Place. Traders who frequent the circuit of market days between Vevey and Martigny arrive with produce from the region and from across the lake in France. Grenoble grown fruit and vegetables add to the rich harvest from Vaud and the Valais.
Cheeses, salamis and sausages are among the artisanal specialities, but today the queues form between the bread stall, selling typical Swiss breads of all shapes and sizes, and an old man standing behind a small fold-out bench.
He is the mushroom man, selling the last fruits of the forest – cepes, chanterelles and oysters – of the season. An elderly woman, clearly of his acquaintance, shows him a large brown paper bag. He takes a sharp look inside, then weighs the contents on his machine. In seconds they agree a price. He adds the new bounty to his dwindling stock.
The area between the Rue du Simplon and Rue du Théâtre is artisanal Vevey. At the end of Rue du Théâtre where the street joins the Grand Place, a street faces towards the east. This is the Rue des Deux-Marchés.
On the right is Fromagerie Wyssmüller where the cheeses of Fribourg, Vaud and the Valais are displayed in a long glass-fronted cold counter.
These include Wyssmüller speciality cheeses – Emmental, Etivaz, Gruyère, Raclette du Valais, Tomme de Rougemont, Tomme de Verbier and Vacherin Fribourgeois.
Wyssmüller also specialises in fondue, packaging a range that includes a blend of mature Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois cheeses, a mix of different Vacherin Fribourgeois cheeses from various artisans, an assembly including raw milk cheese from the Bagnes valley and Vacherin Fribourgeois, and a limited edition blend of pasteurised summer cheeses from Fribourg.
On the left, a little further along, is Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Favrel Fils, a bakery specialising in the breads and pastries of the Swiss Riviera, including taillé aux greubons and tarte à la crème.
Our visit to Vevey was too short. Next time on the Montreux Riviera we will stay longer.