Samstag, 14. Mai 2016

Travel Pictures I

Getting There

For some much needed R&R for Sigmund, we took a couple of days off work to relax and see some pretty places. We didn't go far - a couple hours drive away. It was via Lucerne and the way one goes to Ballenberg, where some of you have been. We stopped along the way for a short scenic hike through the forest, overlooking a lake, then to a chapel, through farmland and a circle back.

A view on our hike

A memorial marker in stone, wood, and metal, along the trail for someone who died there.

Our goal for that hike. This chapel is along the Jabobsweg that ends up in Santiago in Spain.

Inside the chapel - for mediation. All the furnishings are hewn stones.
Looking out the chapel door

The chapel was on a hill, under which was a tunnel, through which a train (the white and red line) went.
End of the train going in the tunnel

This is the area farmland where we hiked back to the car.
 From there we drove switchbacks, up and up, across a mountain pass, where we stopped a bit for the views.
This is pronounced "yown pahs"

Still snow on parts of the pass.

The other side of the pass, going down

Then we drove to our first destination. We went to see a place we have talked for a long time about visiting. It is the town with a cheese named after it. GRUYERE.

A view of the town from below

A plan of the town. Below is parking. The town starts at the information sign. The castle is at the top. The goats were on the hillside  between the castle and the church. 

These are dandelions that someone put in the parking lot fountain outside the town walls.

The area has been prime farming country for centuries, with grasslands for cattle, few crops, picturesque farmsteads, and quaint preserved villages. The seat of government was in the still-medieval-looking tiny town of Gruyere, with its castle on the hill, encircling walls and  undulating streets.
This building looks like a chapel, but it was a salt storage building, then fire station, and now an art gallery. The crucifix group are rescued pieces put there for protection. Under the left roof is the town fountain. Note hilly streets.

A pretty window

The area was ruled by counts in that castle from about the 1100's, until the last one lost it to gambling debts and luxurious living. From then it was the seat of government for Bailiffs from Bern, until the 1800's. It fell into disrepair and almost was torn down. But that was the time when romanticism was popular, so a family from Geneva bought it, fixed it, had artists paint in it, and preserved it. It was in private hands until it became a state museum. (Castle pictures will be in a following post.)

Though the area was involved in various historical wars with neighbors (especially Bernese rulers who often tried to expand their territory), and Burgundians (before France was a unified country), the castle never fell to invaders. So it is in its original form. Some of that means with creaking floor boards and weathered stones.

The town in front of the castle consists of old houses and shops forming a protective street before the castle entrance. It has a church with an interesting graveyard. (Pictures in a following post.)

Where we stayed.

Saint George was not open.

This wall has holes for measuring grains into bags

Different size holes for grain measures on the wall

The town  looking toward the entrance with castle behind

A beautiful shop with carved wood ornamentation, once home to a woodworker, now a jewelry shop.

 We had a wonderful dinner of local produce here.

I think this is what George was after.

The area is famous for its "double cream" (the thick top layer of cream, used in desserts and soups and even just plain), its cheese, and it's meats.
Creamy ice cream with meringues and double cream on top - no, we didn't indulge. But we did have double cream over berries

The coat of arms for the town is a white crane on a red ground. So we saw crane motifs everywhere.

More next time.



  1. Oh, my favorite cheese in the whole, wide world. Not that I have tried all the cheeses in the whole, wide world. But I think that would be a noble goal.

    Pretty town!

  2. Oh, my favorite cheese in the whole, wide world. Not that I have tried all the cheeses in the whole, wide world. But I think that would be a noble goal.

    Pretty town!

  3. Katie, you would love the cheese even more there. Somehow it tastes better. It might be where it is aged and the flavor it obtains. Put this place on your Bucket List. Then you can work your way out from there to sample all the other towns' cheeses. They each have their own.

  4. Beautiful pictures!! We had some amazing guyere at the cheese shop in Leavenworth. can't generally afford those special cheeses here (esp. With 9 kids to vie for them), but it was a great treat! It's even possible that was he first time Ive had some 😆. Also, that first picture so reminds me of hikes here in the Columbia Gorge!

  5. I immediately recognized that first photo as the road to Ballenburg. Such a distinctive view! And no, Loraine, the Columbia Gorge, despite its beauty, (and I can see why it reminds of the gorge) just doesn't quite have the same majesty. And the town, so different.

    Thanks for sharing. We are going to do a bit of travel too. Taking the flatlanders to see the ocean.

  6. Thanks for responses, everybody. I was a bit surprised you still remember that view, Pam. It's been awhile. I am glad to hear you get some "away time." It's good for you.

  7. If you remember, Sarah, we took a group photo with that valley as a background so that is how I recognized it.

    We'll only be gone 24 or so hours. A quick look at the Pacific.