Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cheese Map of Switzerland

Cheese is such a part of Switzerland that this map is entirely apropos. In the morning we woke up and had tea and cheese with some grapes and dried beef for breakfast. Then lunch was a salad with cheese in it, and dinner was more cheese slices, plus some baked cheese, and a salad and some dried meats. Snacks were slices of cheese with jelly on them, and dessert was ice cream with double cream on it.

Each town is a kind of cheese. We went to Gruyere and had Gruyere cheese. (Which I have now become addicted to.) We visited Neuchatel, but didn't have any Neuchatel Cheese while we were there. (It's sort of like Cream Cheese.)

We didn't have any or even see any "Swiss Cheese" while in Switzerland, which is ironic, considering how much Swiss Cheese we ate, but none of it had any holes in it.

In Provence, the only cheese I saw was a big variety of goat cheese.

Switzerland has started growing wine grapes on every available surface now, just like California. But unlike California, the hills are so steep in Switzerland that's it's impossible to harvest some of them mechanically. We were there right at harvest season, and there were families out on the hills picking grapes the hard way.

Provence had the best Cote Du Rhone wine that I have ever tasted or ever hope to taste again unless I go back to France. (I guess this isn't news to most people.)
In Valance there was an apertif with a name that sounded like RinTinTin. I can't remember what it was really called, or find it on the internet, but it was local to the Valance area, and was quite interesting and delicious.

Of course, in Switzerland, I had the best Hot Chocolate (Chocolat Chaud) I'd ever had, and they served it everywhere.

So, by the time I got back home, I was completely spoiled for cheese, wine, cream, hot chocolate, and dried meat. I couldn't really find the dried meat around here anywhere, and I barely drink alcohol, so I went on a dairy-products rampage.

If I get over it, I'll let you know...

Until then, Bon Apetit!

Monday, November 12, 2007


In Switzerland, we stayed with a family of artists. Cows are really big in Switzerland- in two ways. They're a big deal, but they're also GIGANTIC! We saw cows the size of mini vans. There were horses across the street, and they looked small and scrawny- sort of like dogs, compared to the giant, gentle-looking dairy-cows grazing serenely on the rich green grass.

So, it's no surprise that cow art would be popular.
This cow is called a Tetra-Vache.

Danny has a lot more at

And this is a sculpture by Sarah.

After staying in a midaeval-looking town, with a castle and a moat, in an apartment with a bunch of fanciful, fun-loving French-speaking artists, filled with sculptures of fairies and mythical creatures,
one could start to believe in magic.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I don't know why I was satisfied just to put up some photos and call that an adequate travel-log for a 10 day trip to Europe. It looks like nothing happened, but that we just drove around and took pictures.
It may be because I was in a blank fog after two weeks of trying to get along with nothing but French. I hadn't experienced being spoken to like an idiot child very often in my life, but that was the total conversation while I was there.
Why? Because we went to a part of the world where they consider you are illiterate if you don't speak French. Saying "I don't speak French", is equivalent to saying, "I don't speak."
I did study French for years in High School, but that turns out not to have helped for three reasons
1)It was in High School, which was basically before the dawn of time
2) My high school French teacher was old and reactionary even back then. So, of the French I could remember, the words and phrases were almost like, "Prithee, hast thou an idea of the nearest loo?"
3)The main other languages I've been hearing and attempting to speak since then have been Spanish and Chinese. Example of me trying to speak in Switzerland, "J'aime le comer, merci beaucoup, pero je n'ai besoin de mas. Hao de, hao de, tout est bien."

More next time..