Saturday, October 25, 2008

From a chocolate factory to a castle - all in a day

Today we sought a little sightseeing adventure. Kathleen had the idea of going to the Cailler Chocolate Factory. Cailler's is owned by Nestlé. They offer free self guided tours and rumor has it that at the end you can taste free chocolates! Payton and I needed little convincing. We packed up the family and headed out.
We found the factory with little problem. Thank goodness for GPS! Those little gadgets are indispensable in a foreign place. Sure enough they had tours. A tour of the factory? Hardly. At best it was a quick walk through a few museum types displays. We didn't care though because the rumor was true! Free chocolate awaited you at tour's end.
We don't know how much you can have (a candy cop was on duty), but we had plenty each. How good was it? It was free so of course it was just the best. Just like any museum you get hustled by the 'gift' shop before leaving. We had no problem buying a box of chocolates that we tried out.

Before heading to our next destination we hung out in our van. Parker needed a change and Payton had chocolate milk to finish. We finally got Kathleen's new car. It took forever - 6 months and should have only taken 3. We love it. The panoramic roof is so cool.
After Cailler's we headed to the town of Gruyère (Groo-Yair). Here they make a cheese named the same. It is said to be good, but I wouldn't know. I'm still looking for my Kraft American cheese slices, extra-sharp cheddar cheese and Velveeta. They are no where to be found. Above the town is Gruyère Castle dating back to the 13th century.
The walk up to the castle wasn't hard, but you knew your ticker worked by the time you reached the top.
Looking down the trial we just walked up.
Here is the plaza area just outside of the castle. As you can see it was foggy and just a little misty. No blue skies today. At the far end of the plaza is the castle.
Through the archway lies the outer grounds of the castle.
Just inside the archway and on the right was a museum with a weird exhibit. Note the banner on the wall. The exhibit was like all this 'Alien' stuff. To the right in this picture was the museum bar. It too was decked out. You sat in alien skeleton chairs and the walls and ceiling were done up like the ship the Alien was first found in.

Before heading into the castle, we first walked around it.
Nice ceiling work.
These gardens are no doubt really nice when in bloom.
A self propelled wheel chair. Each wheel is independently powered by turning on the handles. They're lashed together so that visitors can't mess with them. There wasn't any information provided to date the chair, but I'll bet who ever used it had a very strong upper body.Ahh, the rich always have the best views.

We ate an early dinner at a restaurant on the plaza. Kathleen had been wanting to try fondue. For me I have yet to find a Swiss dish that appeals to me. I am not looking to hard. Fortunately the restaurant Kathleen chose had fondue and spaghetti - which is what Payton and I had. And Parker? He had milk. Kathleen liked her fondue and is looking forward to having it again. The cheese tasted okay, but it stunk.

Well, that's about all the pictures. We were somewhat disappointed with the weather. The views are supposed to be great from the castle. Gruyère is said to be at the foothills of the Alps. South of the castle they frame the castle beautifully - at least that's what we saw in the postcards. Oh well, the place isn't far and we can always go for another chocolate tour. We'll just go again in the spring.

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