Thursday, July 5, 2007











SWISS ROLL DAY 3
19-06-07

Climbing today, Mont Blanc in the French distance as we reached the first photo stop, Le Col de la Croix.
On then to Les Diablerets and its dark story of the devils taking over the valley and destroying the bucolic life of the peasants. Nowadays, the peasants are back in force operating, among many other things, the many ski-lifts in the area, notably to the year round skiing on the Glacier 3000, but a glacier that apparently will not be there in 3000 – Global Warming, the Devils’ Return!

Then on to the village of Gsteig (the G is silent) and its pretty shingle roofed church. “Like a witch’s hat,” according to our guide.

Cheese is very much on the menu today as the one street, maybe one product, town of Gruyere is the lunch stop. But there are fabulous views, a church and a chateau.

And also a strange museum – based on the film Alien. The HG Giger Museum is based on the work of the graphic artist of the same name, who did the special effects for the film and others (such as Poltergeist 11).

A similarly themed bar (thirsty alien babies above) is adjacent and it was here that we had coffee and minuscule meringues made with Gruyere. Then a short drive downhill to an “industrial” cheese manufacturer where a robot is usefully employed turning, watering and replacing big wheels of cheese in the racks.

Just to backtrack here, between Gsteig and Gruyere, we also stopped at what the guide terms the “chichi-Mickey” town of Gstaad (again the G is silent). Plenty of banks and jewellers but a quick inspection showed you could get a meal at a reasonable price and, while some clothes were undoubtedly expensive, ladies jeans were on offer at 20 SFR. Pas mal!

Optional evening (5.15pm) bus trip down to Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), along the shore via Montreux to the Olympic Park (pic above) on waterfront at Lausanne. Good views of the lake here. Walked through the park and saw the sculptures (supplied by various affiliates of the OM) and also the Olympic flame (from which the torch for each games is lit).

Welcome drinks on a table near the building entrance. But not for us! Apparently, past vice presidents are on their way.

We too are soon on our way, uphill to old Lausanne and, in particular, to its oldest building which houses our restaurant, the Grutli. Here we enjoy a salade Nicoise as starter. Then, the highlight (photo above), a fondue, not with cheese, but with the best of beef, which is cooked in hot oil at the table. Delicious! All accompanied by a decent bottle of local Cotes du Rhone. Dessert is in-season strawberries and, of course, cream.

Courier SM has the bus in stitches on the way home by playing, believe it or not, old Hal Roach jokes. Some are painfully dated but we really enjoy the tapes.