switzerland is still as beautiful as always and i haven’t purchased my plane ticket home yet. i skyped with my family yesterday and my mom mentioned that maybe it is me sub-consciously not wanting to come home. hmm… i think it also has to do with the fact that i always vastly underestimate the price of this one-way plane ticket home from geneva and never keep enough money in my checking account at one time. working on it! and i am indeed trying to get home for christmas!
train scenery. water, fog, mountains, sky…
yesterday was my “very swiss day”. i honestly don’t think i can get more swiss than taking several trains to la gruyère region (yes, where the cheese comes from. over 150+ farmers produce “gruyère” cheese) and first going to the lovely medieval town of gruyère, having a picnic lunch then trekking up to the castle for some magnificent views of the small villages and scenery below. the leaves are changing color here too, though there are not any maples, it is alleviating my feelings of missing autumn in new england just a little tiny bit. and the weather was magnificent yesterday too; probably a solid 65-70 degrees fahrenheit, blue skies, and très fait du soleil.
after roaming around gruyère, my three amis and myself walked down to the gruyère cheese factory and took the tour via headset, led by cherry the cow through the journey of how gruyère cheese is made. the highlight of the tour must have been the cheese tasting - 3 pieces of gruyère aged 6, 8, and 10 months to compare side-by-side. maybe a wine tasting along with this would have made it a little better, but i can’t complain.. the group had some time to kill before catching the next train, so we stopped at the in-house cafe restaurant and had a little beverage break before moving on.
après gruyère, the group headed back to the train with a quick stop-over in bulle (named after the bull the wikipedia article says). bulle had a really cute downtown with shops, and as we waited for the train to broc and the cailler chocolate factory (!!) me and another intern mercedes walked around and browsed in a few, and came across this cute cadeau (gift) shop. they were selling mignon (cute) door knobs amongst many other things.. (i want to decorate some plain doorknobs like this in the future):
half an hour later we borded another train for maison de cailler ! since the swiss are super organized and have a lot of shiz together, we were able to purchase our tour ticket at the train station in geneva earlier that morning with the rest of the train tickets for the journey, trading it in for a real ticket at the factory for the next english tour. this left us with plenty of time to browse the gift shop and check out the cinema playing videos, including stories about the opening of the factory and old tv advertisements. finally it was time for our tour to begin, and we embarked on a disneyworld-like animatronic walking tour through the story of chocolate, from the aztecs to the spanish and cortez and finally how it came to be mass-produced by some friends in switzerland who thought to add milk to cacao and solidify it into a candy bar. and then they merged with nestlé to export it all over the world. voila! we were then brought to a room to touch and smell cacao beans, see some chocolate being produced and then, the best part, the tasting room with about 10 varieties to try. we were like kids in a candy store. wait..
it was a very nice afternoon of cheese and chocolate and afterwards we headed back to the train station to wait for the train with mild but well-worth it stomachaches.
it seems like this would be the end of my swiss day but nope, one more thing to do to make it complete. fondue night. there is a website based in geneva called “glocals” that functions as a meet-up and groupon-type website all in one. i belong to the nyon group, which is the larger town next to my little ville, and decided to RSVP to the “first fondue of fall” event in downtown nyon. went with another intern from co-op, jordan, and got there a little late but it was a nice way to meet some locals and other ex-pats. being in-and-around geneva a lot of people tend to work for the UN and UN agencies, so there always seems to be interesting people to meet from all over the world. and yes, the fondue was delicious, though i think i can hold off on having another fondue for a while.
broc, where the fabrique de cailler is.
i am glad i wrote this! i originally was just going to write about how i basically took an r&r day today and haven’t done much of anything, but i was, and am, still thinking of hopping a train to lausanne to explore for a little bit. i’m torn between the feeling of constantly wanting to see and do everything while i am here at every chance i get, and taking a day off to actually rest and recuperate from this constant busyness. so i think i am just going to stay in and enjoy my free time not doing much of anything, for at least a day. this up-coming weekend i am flying to belgium! booked my flight via easyjet almost a month back on a whim (less than $100 round trip) and plan to take friday and monday off this coming week to explore a new place and some new cities.
it is roughly half-way through my time here and wow has it gone by fast. happy that as i typed this post i have been able to translate some of the words and phrases into french. time to read or take a walk around town, peace :).