|The Château de Gruyères, Switzerland|
We started by visiting a tiny artisanal dairy in the Gruyère region, but it had closed operations after La Poya, when all the cattle had headed to the lowlands, so all we did was take some pictures of the chickens and of this:
|I really want one of those puffy-sleeved jackets.|
I think they make my waist look smaller, don't you?
The milk received each morning is processed the same day in huge copper-lined vats. I read (and promptly forgot) a great deal about the process and the many, many kilos of Gruyère cheese made each year, how much milk each cow produces, and how many tons of grass it eats.
I do remember that the unique flavour of the cheese is a result of the specific plants eaten. I brought home a 2 kilo bag of shredded Gruyère d'Alpage cheeses with which we had an amazing fondue when I got back home. (I had worried that Customs would not let me through with the cheese, but there was no problem at all.)
|Such an idyllic place.|
Perched on a hill, as all good castles are (and, honestly, most structures in Switzerland), the castle and its surrounding village and grounds are unbelievably picturesque.
It's as if the "Charm" fairy came through with her magic wand and sprinkled prettiness all over everything. I took a few (Hah!) pictures.
This door shows the emblem of la grue, which is a crane. Legend has it that the first king (ruler?) of the estate captured a live crane and chose it as his family emblem. You will see the crane all over the place.
This is the entrance to one of the village churches. I would like to live under that porch.
|Inside the church.|
|For God and homeland: onward, crane!*|
|This is one of my favourite pictures of Winkie, ever.|
|Would you look at that floor!|
These rooms would seemingly have been the servants' rooms. But as we climbed the stairs, the finishes and furnishings became more and more elaborate.
|Note the curlicue motif on the walls -- reminiscent of the crane's tail feathers.|
The castle serves also as an art gallery. I was not fond of the modern art, but the older pieces . . .
|"Jeune fille au bouquet de fleurs" by Francis (né François) Furet, a Swiss artist|
who lived and painted at the time this was painted, 1870
|The laundress, by Auguste Baud-Bovy, 1865|
|Wouldn't this make a charming child's room? |
Reminds me of Beatrix Potter.
Paintings by Francis Furet and Jules Crosnier, circa 1900.
|This mermaid-cherub-reindeer was in the hunting room.|
|More of the crane-like curlicues.|
|The crane in all its glory. The gift shop had a large silk scarf with this emblem.|
|This was likely a defensive perch as the window faced out of the castle, towards the village.|
This one is no longer used on a regular basis, judging from the disrepair of its frescoes.
The castle also had ramparts . . .
|To the left, they looked out over the surrounding valley.|
To the right, they look out onto the manicured gardens.
|View from the rampart into one of the towers.|
|View through the window of the previous picture.|
|It was far more than I could eat, but that Gruyère cheese on top and the grilled/roasted potatoes underneath were delicious.|
The day was not done yet, however! We went back into town and toured the Cailler chocolate factory. This is a close-up of the crushed cocoa beans.
|They look like jewels. Black-and-brown, yummy jewels.|
|This is just the entrance to the shop.|
And then we went home!
* My translation.
** Insult courtesy of the Shakespeare Insult Kit.
*** From As You Like It. Found on Top 10 Shakespearean Pick-up Lines