More Switzerland

After a slow start to the day, I went to the train station with plans of seeing the Chateau du Chillon, one of Switzerland’s most famous landmarks.  I managed to miss the station, since they make all announcements in French but no matter, I found somewhere new to walk a bit.  If I had to buy train tickets for all these rides I would probably be somewhat miffed.

I walked down a traditional street in Villaneuve, walked to the water’s edge to marvel at Swiss Alps, and eventually strode back to the station.  The weather was a bit clearer than the day before so the Alps were looking grand across the lac.

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I had another cheese as well , this time a local variety called Tamme a la Crème that I jammed into a piece of bread.  By the time I finished my lunch, the train was ready to depart to the chateau.  The scale of the structure was impressive and the museum inside offered a wealth of information about the history of the chateau and also life in the middle ages as a whole.  I was really taking my time going through it to ensure that I read every tidbit of information.  One major perk about traveling solo is the freedom to move at one’s own pace.  This castle sits on an island just offshore and was once used for collecting taxes from traders using the adjacent trade route.  It has its origins all b the way back to the 11th century, but it was a few hundred years later  that the importance of it really picked up.  There may be times when I photograph the back of my camera if I miss something on my tablet…

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When I arrived back at Raman’s place, he informed me that he was too I’ll to enjoy the next activity, so he sent me out to meet Irene solo.  The plan for the evening was to visit with some of his colleagues friends and just talk.  This was a great opportunity and so international.  Much of what are talked about was linguistic in nature.  Of the six people there, 11 different languages could be spoken fluently and a few more well enough.  Come on America…  The Italians took charge of the cooking and they made some incredible carbonara.  That evening I returned back to my host’s place for my much needed sleep.

The next morning he pointed me in the direction of a small village called Gruyeres and I took the advice.  After saying a brief goodbye, I boarded a train that took me well up into the mountains.  The mountains were covered in trees and grasses that were being grazed on by cows.  With the clouds and such up there too, it was quite a pleasant place.

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The first stop right of the train was a cheese factory.  I am on a mission to try as many different varieties possible and also learnsomething about it as well so my taking the short tour was an obvious decision.  It really was short, but the audio tour was informative.  We also got a few cheese samples that had been aged for different lengths of time.  The older it was the saltier it became.  Each of the vats would produce 420kg of chase.  At this location, they make four vats per day.

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After walking towards the main town I paused just for a moment to take in the cityscape before going into the HG Giger Museum.  This museum is filled with the art of the same guy who provided the character design in the movie Alien.  He has a very unique style that is  something like biomechanical.  I had read something about this guy ages ago, so to find myself in such a place was pretty amusing.  The picture below was taken at the entrance, and the following one from inside the adjacent bar.

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Great atmosphere for sipping some wine…

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I was in a bit of a hurry to get out of here, since I wanted to stop by Bern before going to Lucerne.  I had walked around the old town in Geneva, but Berne’s is larger and older and I was not disappointed.  These streets were very cool and the whole area was declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

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There was also a river that was flowing around the whole of the old town.  Something about it felt like I had jumped back 400 years.  One of the other things that I had to see were some bears.  This animal has long been tied to the city, so I guess dropping over top see them was the right thing to do.

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After all my wandering, I wasn’t able to make it in time to Lucerne,, so I arranged a place to stay with a German guy.  He is about twenty years older than myself and is really into the study of butterflies.  We silly and dancing talked about all sorts of things but I especially enjoyed learning a bit about the politics of this country.  Berne is within a German speaking canton and having woken up in the French side, it felt like I was in a new country.  Many people spoke to me in on German, which helped me understand how my Asian-American friends do in Asia.  Tomorrow is going to be a frenzy of silly and dancing.  Definitely anticipating a great time.

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