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.|
|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.
BLESSED PENTECOST TO ALL TOMORROW.