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GRUYERES ET BERNE, SUISSE

On Thursday David connected up the battery and we took off on a day trip to Gruyere, on our own. Beautiful scenery all the way and an interesting cheese-making demo and exhibition at the Gruyere cheese factory.
The automated cheese-turning machine turns and salts thousands of cheeses daily

The automated cheese-turning machine turns and salts thousands of cheeses daily


Separating the whey

Separating the whey


Sandi was fascinated by this automated self-cleaning toilet seat at the cheese factory

Sandi was fascinated by this automated self-cleaning toilet seat at the cheese factory


The loo flushes within seconds of getting off it, the seat spins around, getting spritzed and wiped along the way, and all it doesn't do is wipe one's nether bits!!
Off course we had to have an obligatory Gruyere cheese fondue in the fromagerie restaurant before heading up to the village of Gruyere itself – in the freezing cold wind and 3degC temperature.
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After that we took the long route home, via Chateau d’Oeux and the Col de Mosses Pass, climbing high into the mountains, with frost on the grass verges of the road, and snow capping the mountain peaks.
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Several family members were aghast at our prospects of driving the van up snow-covered or icy passes without winter tyres or at least snow chains. So our project on Friday was to acquire some chains; either to rent or buy second-hand. These proved not to be viable options so we bought some new ones at Jumbo superstore for only €35. David decided he needed to try them on, as this was a totally new gadget for him, and to struggle under freezing conditions with frost-bitten fingers on a high mountain pass in a blizzard, was not a pleasant thought. One is supposed to slip them behind the wheel without jacking the car up, but because the rear wheels are twinned, they would not slip between the wheels, so David had to jack the van up, and presto! no matter how he and Marc wriggled and pulled they would not fit. He eventually decided they were too small and had to exchange them for bigger ones which fit easily. So now equipped with snow chains, and the compulsory luminous jacket, tow-rope, warning triangles and fire extinguisher we are ready to tackle any mountain pass!

Friday evening Loise and Laurent invited us to a movie and pizza in Lausanne. The pizza and the beer [brewed on site] were good, and not too expensive, but the same didn't apply to the movie. [A movie ticket costs SFr18 which = R126!] This little excursion added to the deepening dent in our poor old budget!

On Saturday uncle Christian invited us all to dine with him at his regular restaurant, where he lunches 3x a week with several other well-to-do retirees. As we were enjoying our desserts, cousin Jean-Marc arrived on his Harley Davidson from Geneva, to chat.
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Daniel and Liz drove us out to Berne on Sunday. We had wonderful panoramic views of the old city from the Rose Garden,
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before descending to one of the bridges over the Aare river to join the crowd looking at the new bear cubs from Russia, which are in a newly created garden next to the river. We wandered up the main street admiring several fountains, the sheltered colonnades, and waited for the town clock to strike three. The figurines have performed their routines daily for hundreds of years!
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We were then treated to a yummy traditional lunch of bratwurst, potato rösti and apple strűdel.
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We stopped in front of the Bundeshaus, the seat of the Swiss Federal Parliament
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before wandering around the old part of town.
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The doctors trying to emulate the entwined serpents of a fine caduseus, spotted on a nearby wall.
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The Munster St Vincent is a Gothic church dating back to 1421.
IMG_0744.jpgThe famous Tympanum ceiling in the foyer

The famous Tympanum ceiling in the foyer


Mermaid being throttled by the gargoyle!

Mermaid being throttled by the gargoyle!


IMG_0753.jpgThese interesting fellas belonged to the Guild of roof artisans

These interesting fellas belonged to the Guild of roof artisans

On our return, Daniel's kids joined us and we all had supper together.
Phillippe, Sandi, Daniel and Alexandra

Phillippe, Sandi, Daniel and Alexandra


David and Stephanie

David and Stephanie


Liz and David

Liz and David


Phillippe, Stephanie and Alexandra

Phillippe, Stephanie and Alexandra


The family, especially Marc and Jocelyne, have been incredibly loving and kind during our 10-day stay, and we feel enormously blessed by their nurturing.

Posted by davidsandi 10:16 Archived in Switzerland

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