04 June 2013


Quick. Word association - Swiss Alps? Cheese and Edelweiss right? Well, at least the cheese. And as we were mere hours by train from Gruyères, at least one day had to be spent in cheese country, complete with cheesy museum tour and bus trip to the top of the hill to potter around the medieval town and castle that give the famous cheese its name.

We discovered that artisanal Gruyères cheese-making involves more automation and stainless steel than one might expect, but that expert cheesemaker, cheese cultures and seasonal cow pastures are happily still crucial.

The Swiss are not scared to do touristy...

...which means raspberries and cream all year round and eye-wateringly expensive, soggy rösti that bear no resemblance to the gloriously crispy real thing. Luckily I knew better than to order Swiss-German food in French-Swiss territory, and had glorious Gruyères fondue instead. Even tourist restaurants cant fuck up melted cheese.

After I got home I did a CSI type analysis of the view photographs and determined that there were in fact big mountains beyond the grey veil.

But the fantastic thing about travelling is that none of the touristy stuff matters. It's the little things that tell you you're in a different part of the world.

A bench lurking in a hidden corner, off the main street, with a back carved just as Heidi would have known.

A church with a particular kind of steeple.

A sculpture you knew about but didn't expect to see on that square of all places, outside an entire Giger museum.

And just a little further outside the town, house styles that haven't changed in centuries.

Barns and farm life.

Fields for the cows that smell completely different from cow fields here (dramatically more intense than our gentle local cow poo).

Happy chickens, even if they're Rhode Island Reds and a symbol of creeping global uniformity. They're still happy chickens, and delightfully pastoral. Can you tell I love chickens, and especially Rhode Island Reds?

No comments:

Post a Comment