Day 13 - 2013 Europe Trip - Last day in Switzerland = Chocolate & Cheese!

2:24 PM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

The best sleep of the trip...likely a combination of leaving the patio door slightly open, those duvets are killer warm, a super comfy mattress, although we were still separated by the twin mattress ridges, and walking all over high hell and back as our hotel was practically on top of the Matterhorn. I had to convince the bf to come to breakfast because I didn't want to be alone again. Plus, I had taken most of their serving dishes bringing him breakfast yesterday and we told the cleaning lady to take a break so we had half the stuff in our room. We shared the same table with the stellar view up the valley to the perfectly clear sky and, yes, the 'Horn. This time there was a half a round loaf of cut it yourself wheat bread. I chopped off a thick hunk and, being the only person in the hotel who was eating meat, I snagged all the bologne and cured ham. I buttered that sucker and topped it all off with the meat. I then took a croissant, buttered the bottom and smothered it with three jams so I would have a different taste every few bites. That's how I roll. 
Yummy breakfast creation.
The bf made his usual brie and jam sandwich and we ate, not speaking. We stared at the mountain. That is what it is like up there. The Matterhorn has a sort of magical presence. When it peeks through the clouds, everyone stops, even the locals and workers, and we all stare. It forces your eyes to enjoy, to appreciate, so we obliged.
The proprietor, or host, I'm not sure, is a very kind, young surfer looking dude. He spoke great English and took great care of us. He does paragliding lessons on the side, something that the bf is pretty interested in so we got a brochure for next time. I might accidentally 'lose' it before then though. Hee hee. As we walked downstairs to check out, we came across the wonderful, super happy black lab. This time he was carrying an old shoe as a toy. We have played with a rubber pig and a ball in the past. We played a little with the shoe then went to the reception. The host was surprised to see his own shoe in the dog's mouth. I cracked up. Then he noticed pieces of his shoe in his office as this had been going on for a few minutes before we got there. Funny stuff. We checked out and, as he had promised when we first arrived, he drove us back down to the train station. 

Taking the hotelier's tiny, electric bus through town and to the train station.
We loaded up into the crazy little electric van that the locals use around Zermatt. As you may recall, there are no cars at all in this town. We got about ten meters when we got stopped by another little golf cart like thing that was parked in the middle of the tiny, tiny roadway. Our host called the number on the side of the cart after trying to find keys and trying to jump start it on his own. He also tried a lot of honking. The people on the other end of the phone line insisted that cart was on the other side of the town. After about ten minutes, some kids came out of one of the nearby buildings and we were on our very bouncy way. The quietness of the vehicles and the narrowness of the streets provided lots of entertainment as we frightened both people on the streets, as well as me as I feared hitting various objects and souls.
We had about twenty minutes before the next train took us to Tasch so we sat on a bench and transferred some music between our computers. As we sat I barely noticed a family walk by. A few minutes later I saw an unattended suitcase sitting right in front of us. I turned it over to the ticket guy and we boarded the train. After the ten or so minute ride we watched a family on the train with us freak out, we didn't have to speak Japanese to know it was their bag. We communicated to them where their bag was and went on our merry way. The parking ticket, for those of you who may be using this to help plan your own trip, was 29 Francs. Not the worst for two whole nights. We programmed our next destination and zoomed off into the heat.
Eating one of five all you can eat dishes of Raclette. See the man melting the cheeses behind me?
Along our drive today our car read as high as 26°C if you can believe that. I actually had to put on the A/C in the car. After an hour of driving we noticed a huge difference in both scenery and language. We were out of the Alps and into the French speaking portion of Switzerland. We arrived in the town of Sierre, home of Chateau du Villes, the masters of Raclette. I found this place on the internet when I looked up THE place to have the Swiss dish, Raclette. We got a lovey table outside where the sun was shaded by green, leafy trees and a soothing, cool breeze washed through. I ordered the raclette, my cheesed out bf got another kaseschnittel. Which, I might add, was smothered in cheese! He loved it. 
Kaseschnitte #3 of the trip!
I had five different Raclette cheeses from five different local regions and I was also allowed two extra from my favorites of those five. Raclette, for those who may not know, is a tangy semi hard cheese that is served by heating the whole wheel half under a heat source then scraping the melted part onto your plate. This is usually served with potatoes, cornishons ( little pickles) and cocktail onions. My meal came with all the fixins. My favorite was the second one I tasted because it was not too mild, and not too oily or thick. I asked for a sixth serving to be that then I had to call it quits or I may have fallen asleep on the road.
Next stop: Chocolate!
I practiced my French in my head as we drove the next hour fifteen to the next destination: a chocolate factory. Apparently, Nestle was started here in western Switzerland. The first chocolate factory in all the country is Cailler, who teamed up with Mr. Nestle to form a chocolate superstar. I won't go into the details although they are fascinating. We went on the English tour which was like walking through life sized dioramas that led you through the history of chocolate. 
Maintenant! Tout le temps!
At the end of the tour you are brought to a room where you can taste everything  they make pretty much. Did I mention that it is all you can eat?? Did I mention that I ate them all? Yeah, that's right, I ate every single sample available with the exception of one milk chocolate with coffee beans in it. I had already eaten the dark chocolate version of that and I just hate the taste of coffee. I managed to eat maybe thirty or more full sized chocolate chunks. We then bought some as gifts but I shall not share whom they are for.
I counted later on, I had something like 34 or 40 chocolates!!

I tasted every. single. one.

It took us minutes to drive on to the town of Gruyeres. This town is so precious as it perches on top of a mountain, surrounded by its ramparts. It's like we are staying in a medieval castle. No cars are allowed in the cobblestoned town so we ditched the car and hurried to see the HR Geiger museum and shop before they closed. Upon entering we were immediately wowed. 
Alien
The ticket counter is a massive, black, glossy alien-like bone structure. We bought the 25 Franc pair of tickets from the Swiss girl with sleeves and purple hair and were informed not to take photos. The first of several room was small and held some colorful acrylic paintings. Then, we entered a bigger room and were greeted by a life sized Alien statue hanging from the ceiling. It literally terrified me, even though it's obviously a statue. 
Alien Brain?
We had to take photos.  I snuck some of the sculptures, the bf just turned his video on and walked around with his camera around his neck. All sculptures have unbelievable detail and are made of various materials. All the art from the Alien movies were incredible. The paintings, the sketches and my favorites, the sculptures, all filled multiple rooms. 
Alien Hot Shoe!

I see you too!
His other art is mostly erotic involving aliens having sex in many ways and lots of naked female aliens. We are young, hip youths who are a member of an open generation. Still, we were a bit uncomfortable walking through parts of the museum. There was a French couple there too who found the erotic art quite the opposite what we did. They were making out full force in every room. We finished the tour and browsed the gift shop. Everything in there was 100 Francs or over. I would have loved to take home a statue, or even a print but we could not afford a thing. We crossed the street to the Alien Bar which is a functioning bar fully decked out in Geiger's style. 
A little bit of the Giger Bar in Gruyeres, Switzerland.
The ceiling is a giant alien spine and the tables were like spider legs. It really was like we were in the belly of an outer space beast. We took tons of pics but were not into the menu so we left. It was then I noticed the sign that said photos only for customers....oh well.
Gruyeres is another darling, cobblestone town where cars are not allowed. It is surrounded by ramparts. 
We went back to the center of the town and found the hotel. The whole town is a tiny village, surrounded by ramparts. There is one street that stretches the length of town and truncates at the chateau. The chateau is the castle which we never had time to visit....next time. I keep saying to the bf that it is a good thing that we have not been able to do everything on my schedule because that leaves plenty to do and a good reason to come back again and again. I attempted to speak French but kept mixing German in there to the reception. They were nice enough to speak English but only after they let me suffer a little. The woman showed us to our room that was so big, it could have been an apartment. In fact, I am convinced someone lives there and just gave it up because they were overbooked or something. There was one two person bed and one blanket on it. That is the first time this trip, I think, that we got to actually share a blanket and mattress. There was also two single beds if we needed them. The bathroom was through multiple doors, one could get lost in there.
We went down to get our things when we came across some sheep....my favorite animal. 
I ran into more sheep! It is a theme and a lovely good luck charm.
They were right next to a fence so I could touch a couple. One little guy started wagging his cute little tail when I pet him. I stuck my fingers into his wooly back. I was thrilled. Such cute animals! We brought the luggage from the car but the bf thought it would be a good idea to just bring his backpack. That turned out to be a mistake because he did not have his eye mask and there was nothing to stop the morning light coming through. I even woke up the next day to find him trying to sleep in one of the single beds because they were down a darker hallway. Poor fella. As hotel guests we got a ten percent discount at the store in front so we bought some things. I got myself a pear eau de vie and then we got our pup a Swiss leash (shhh don't tell him til we get back!) and us some wooden spoons. We spent some down time in our room for about two hours. I showered. The shower is level with the rest of the bathroom, separated by a curtain. The problem was that the drain backed up. I watched with terror as the whole front bathroom flooded. What to do? Nothing. We rested and let the bathroom dry out.
The view of the Gruyeres ramparts and the setting sun out the restaurant window.
We walked around to see the menus of the five restaurants in town. We chose the one with the best tasting green salad for the bf. It was so warm and balmy that everyone was eating outside along the main street. We went inside and found a secluded table with an unbeatable view down the hillside. We ate as the sun set right before us. 
The "Gruyeres Dinner", wine and soup and salad for the bf.
I ordered the Gruyere dinner. It started with cured meats, then cheese fondue and ended with raspberries....that ended up being strawberries cause they were out of raspberries, with a huge side of Gruyeres Cream. The cream is a cross between whipped cream and butter....closer to butter, actually. Really, I was eating pure butter. Oh so freaking good. The bf got a wonderful, loaded salad that he loved followed by a lemon ice cream cake that he also was really happy with. We b-lined it for the hotel and relaxed some more.
My dessert. Notice the beautiful inlaid wood table we are eating off of!

The bf's lemony goodness dessert.

The bf needed something from the car so I went with him because I wanted some fresh spring water that comes out of a fountain near the parking lot. We got what we needed when an old drunk Frenchman started giving me hella shit about parking in a handicap spot. I showed him my cane and the placard and he proceed to make all this fun of me by dancing around pretending he was handicap. I decided to screw it and walk away. It bugged me but not enough to stop me from falling right to sleep....I'm sure the Eau de Vie helped with that a little.
Goodnight, last night in Switzerland, and thank you for all the good times, and weather!

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