Snacking on gruyere cheese, just as I arrived in Gruyères was truly like carrying coals to Newcastle. They already had a few cheeses on hand (left, in the cave at La Maison du Gruyère).
I came to see the magnificent Chateau Gruyères (castle in English), and to see the home of the famous gruyere cheese, my favorite cheese in the whole world. And the story also has a few fantastic marine creatures as well.
There have been quite a few blogfish adventures in Europe in the last few weeks, but I'm sorry to report that work and a crashed hard drive have kept me almost entirely offline. Hope to fix that soon.
Limping along on a non-home base computer will have to do, because Gruyères was too good to keep to myself.
First, the castle, seen from a distance here (right) in an unbelievably spectacular setting.
I did manage to find some ocean life to keep the blogfish fans interested, like this pensive salmon (left) in a 150+ year old painting in the castle, perhaps the last of his kind to make it this far, who seems to be wondering when his kin will once again ascend to this Alpine region.
Then there were the two mermaids, one unique beast with stag antlers hanging from a wall (left), and the other one, a more delicate creature I found quivering on a shoreline (right), pictured here just before I got her back into the icy water. I hope she made it.
The castle dates from the 13th century and was truly impressive, with huge towers, cobbled floors, and the type of things that delight a 5 year old boy.
The town was charming as well (left), with the surprising addition of the HR Giger museum, honoring the local artist who won an Oscar for his work on the film "Alien." Here's an example of the delightful women in the town (right). Maybe this is real stuff, since there's a painting in the castle depicting the women of the town driving out attackers during a medieval battle (left).
Moving on to the gruyere cheese factory might have been anticlimactic if it wasn't the home of my very most favorite cheese. It was a bit of a tourist-trap kind of place, but the cheesemaking show was still fascinating, the cheese cave was truly impressive, and the cheese....ah, the cheese. It was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped, and I was dreaming high. Gruyere cheese is even better here, and it's one thing that cheaper than in the US (not much is cheaper, most things cost quite a bit more).
If you love cheese, castles, mermaids, and scary women, then Gruyères is THE place to visit.