A Swiss summer

Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Switzerland  ,
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Greetings from Gryon! We just realized that it has been forever since our last travelpod entry. We are still in Switzerland and loving it. We both prefer the warmer weather especially with the Alps providing plenty of stimuli to keep us intrigued. Back at the end of May we went to the Alpine Festival in the next town from us. They hold the weekend-long celebration of Alpine life to coincide with the march to greener pastures. The party starts early in the am with all of the local farmers herding their cattle up the mountain to their summer grazing grounds. Some of the pictures show a part of the festivities. Note the size of the cowbells and horns!
Around the same time as this festival, our room was upgraded in the hostel. We now have our own sitting area, shower, and kitchenette! (see video) It took no time at all to spread out all of the stuff that we have accumulated since stopping here in October. We love the space!
Although our room is fantastic we have managed to pull ourselves away from there to explore a little. We have been on quite a few hikes and we even managed to climb to one of the peaks in the range across from the hostel. It is the one in the pictures that looks like a pyramid. The peak is at about 2,300 metres and the view from the top was amazing. It was a harder walk down than up. It was quite steep and we took a not so noticeable short cut as rain was moving in. We made it nonetheless and felt great for making it to the top.
You may remember last year for Canada Day we were in Edinburgh and took part in (read: won) a Canadian pub quiz. We thought about heading to Geneva this July 1 as there is a pub there that we like that was hosting a Canadian trivia quiz. We decided that we didn't think it would be fair to win another quiz so we didn't go and let someone else win. Instead we put on a Canada Day Trivia event here at the hostel. It was awesome! Megan made Nanaimo bars and butter tarts (we didn't know that butter tarts were not international) and we made Poutine for everyone. There were about 20 people involved and our prizes were Jelly donuts for 3rd place, Kraft Dinner for 2nd, and a bottle of Canadian Club for the winners. We had a lot of fun and since Canada Day we have had a few more "Poutine nights" as it is now a hostel favourite.
On July 27 we had a big wine and cheese party to celebrate Megan turning the big 25. Everyone brought a bottle of wine, some cheese, and dressed up to fit in with our Jazz music theme. We even had a chocolate fountain on the go. Our friends, Matt and Elizabeth gave Megan a special wine glass to celebrate with (the picture says it all). Keeping with the theme I made a birthday cheesecake for Megan and it wasn't too bad for my first attempt. Everyone had a blast and of course ate way too much cheese.
A couple days later we went on the "Chocolate Train" (birthday present). It is an old train from 1931 that is done up all first class like. It even has an old oak bar in one of the cars. The train left from Montreux and first went to Gruyere (yes as in the cheese). There we toured the Gruyere cheese factory and strolled around the old town before stopping for lunch at a beautiful terrace on the main strip. Gruyere is gorgeous. It is perched up on a hill and has all the traditional old village staples like a castle, cobblestone streets, and of course tons of tacky tourist shops. Quite the quaint and comfortable little place. We then hopped back on the train and headed to Broc, home to the Cailler-Nestle chocolate factory. This place was great. After a brief yet informative tour we hit the tasting room. We expected to be able to sample a few kinds of their chocolate, but when we walked in they had counters full of squares and truffles with more kinds than we could fit in us... although Megan tried her hardest. We then headed back to Montreux where we had to stop at a pub and have a cider to wind down (unlike many of our previous destinations cider is not that easy to find around here). We then took a sunset stroll along the promenade and washed all the treats down with... a kebab. A good kebab can always complete a fabulous day.
After a few days to try and digest all of the cheese and chocolate, Swiss Day was upon us (August 1). It was a fun day of sampling Swiss food, watching the parade (yes cows were involved), and of course fireworks. They have quite the history considering Switzerland became a national entity in 1291. Pretty amazing stuff.
I will end for now but we will be posting another entry in a couple of weeks. We are leaving Switzerland shortly to continue our journey. We should have our plans firmed up soon and we look forward to sharing them with you.
Hope all is well! Miss you!
Megan and Kevin
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