Saturday, 22 December 2007


Last Saturday Linda and I caught the train up to Gruyeres. It will tell you something that, even within Switzerland (the land of cheese), Gruyeres is renowned for its cheese.

Aside from the cheese, we had heard Gruyeres was a beautiful spot to visit, and we also really felt like getting into the mountains to see how everything looked after the snow we've been having.

We caught the panoramic train up from Montreaux, once again getting amazing views from above the lake, but also the mountains and trees were covered with snow. We spent most of the train ride staring fixedly out the windows at the incredible scenery.

Once in Gruyeres we took the short walk up the hill into the old town, which is perched on top of a hill. We walked through the snow, taking a few moments to stamp around in it a bit like the tragic tourists we are.

Gruyeres is actually quite a small town, and the main street is lined with restaurants and shops but somehow it still manages not to seem like a ridiculous tourist trap. I think this may have been helped by the fact we were visiting in Winter rather than in peak season, and on the cusp of Christmas with all the lights on display (Switzerland is exceptional at Christmas-related activities and decorations).

After playing around in the snow a bit we decided a Fondue was in order. We picked a little restaurant that was recommended in our guide book and had an amazing moitie moitie (half 'n' half Gruyère and Fribourg Fondue). We'd had a fondue before, near home in Vevey, but this one was somehow so much better.

We then made our way up to the Chateau de Gruyeres, an 11th century castle at the top of the town. We wandered around a bit outside taking copious numbers of photos until our hands became so numb we had to move ourselves inside.

Afterwards I felt compelled to check out the HR Gieger Museum, who is famous from his work on the Alien movies. Well lets just say if you've seen the movies you've probably seen all you want to of HR Gieger - I have no idea why this museum is in Gruyeres, which hardly strikes you as the sort of place to house this somewhat weird bio-mechanical art museum.

Anyway we moved on to walk around the town some more, now that it was dark and the Christmas lights had come on. After taking some photos and checking out the shops (we bought part-1 of what will surely become the ultimate of all home fondue kits) we found ourselves another restaurant to warm ourselves up in.

For an early dinner Linda had an amazingly thick soup, while I treated myself to a Bernois Rosti, which is like a giant hash brown topped with thick slices of ham and then a fried egg. This is probably not the healthiest of meals but when it is freezing cold outside there is nothing like a hot meal packed with carbohydrates and protein to warm you up.

After this, it is sad to say, we were so cold and tired we decided it was time to catch the train home. It's amazing how late it feels when it gets dark before 6pm at night, and how much you just want to curl up inside on the couch when it is sub-zero outside.

Anyway I can see us going back to Gruyeres many times as there is much more to see and do (and eat) around this area, and from Vevey it is only a quick train ride away.


Barnaby and Edward said...

Uncle Mark and Linda,
Gruyeres sounds very nice and cold.
Can you come to Grandpa and Grandma's farm in the year 2007 at Christmas time and I can give you some moon biscuits. Love from Barnaby and Edward.

Mark said...

Hi Barnaby and Edward,

Yes it was very cold but there was lots of yummy warm food to eat so it was worth getting cold for. I think you would have enjoyed seeing the castle, riding on the trains, and playing in the fresh snow.

Linda and I would love to come to Grandma and Grandpa's farm for Christmas to see you all, but it is such a long way from Switzerland. Those moon biscuits sound delicious too!

Uncle Mark and Aunty Linda.