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Living in a Medieval Village … and tourist destination

View The Alps Bucket Trip on sstalpo's travel map.

I am sitting by the open window of my hotel room (with a VIEW to die for) listening to the school children playing in the playground at the bottom of the hill, and to the voices animatedly conversing in French on the café terrace next to us. My favorite place to sit..


Sigh.. our last full day of total 'non-modern' relaxation and beauty. The old stone wall outside our window is part of the stone wall ramparts that go around the village. You can see a slit of a window built into the wall. It goes down the steep diagonal side of the hill behind us. Beyond that are houses across the valley at the base of the foothills.. which eventually become the alps.


The last 24 hours have been exploring the old Medieval Village of Gruyeres.

Btw, I have discovered that I do NOT like Gruyere cheese unless it is melted in French Onion Soup. You can smell the melted Gruyere everywhere here. I do love the what is called the 'Mountain Cheese' but.. um.. Gruyere is just a bit too pungent for my taste. Same with Raclette. Pat loves both so he even bought some in a shop here, with some bread, to melt in our Studio kitchen for a late night snack.

So despite not being a fan of the local (and most famous cheese.. even back in the 1700/1800s), I found the history of this place very interesting. The myth that it was started by a hero who saw a crane (Gru) fly before him against a red sky as a sign to place his home here. Gru does mean crane, and you see that image on metal signs outside of buildings and stores here. It is the basis for name of the region. After it fell into disrepair after not needing to serve as a fortress, and was saved by started, then saved, and saved again... and then again. Till it is now almost like a living museum.

I would recommend staying in one of the hotels here in the old village, as walking around the rock (not even true cobblestones) streets and discovering the garden behind the church, or some cute souvenirs, is very relaxing. Even just sitting by the central water fountain and people watching is fun. And you get to experience the village when the crowds of tourists come for the day trips. Sunset is still my most favorite time in Switzerland. Still can't believe I am really here.. kinda.. its amazingly beautiful Everywhere! How do people live here on a daily basis??!!

Pat continued his success in street playing and actually brought some almost $100 CHF. *grin* Enough to pay for one dinner for the two of us! It's SO expensive here! LOL

Anyway.. did buy (though I swore to myself that I wouldn't) some souvenirs. Small things to keep the luggage light. I'm not sure yet what to do with the bottle of wine that Pat was given by the restaurant owners in Lauterbrunnen.. as it's a deep red (and I'm allergic) I might give it our VRBO host in Zurich.

Anyway.. the highpoint of Guryeres (the 's' at the end designates as the medieval village from the town down the hill) is the quaint architecture and the history here. Some of these buildings date back to the 1700's. This is one where they have a metal pig king (crown on his head) as a water spout sticking way out in front. Also note that the stone window facades are all different. Including the ones on the same second story windows. I love that kind of detail, knowing someone had a desire for eclecticism back in the 1700 - or maybe even earlier. The first fort here was built in 1115.


This house has the dates of some kind of importance painted on it's walls and carved into the stone over the front door. 1692, I think is the year it was built. The 16. 18 . 17 . 88 could be the address and not years. *shrug*


Also in the village are two unusual museums. We did not go into either, but it did surprise me to see them.
- H.R. Giger - artist for the movie Alien. Loved it here so much he bought a chateau at the entrance to the castle and set up a museum to his artwork
- The Tibet Museum. -- didn't seem to have anything that was unusual.. for us. The outside was very beautiful though, and starting to show some colors of Autumn.


The views of the Alp foothills behind the ancient streets, is magical.


Last night we ate on the terrace, just outside our hotel room. It was just us and another person out there as the evening chill was getting... well chilly. But the view of the castle and the church spire were wonderful!! AND, like Salzburg, Gruyere has their own special Meringue dessert. Though they do a hard back meringue here, with a side of super, thick, double cream to dip them into. YUM !!! Though after tasting both I still feel that the fluffy mountains of meringue made in Salzburg outshine the still yummy baked well crunchy pallets of meringue with double thick cream in Gruyere. I didn't get a picture as we had to move inside … brrrr. But I bought some today to snack on.


Posted by sstalpo 03:10 Archived in Switzerland

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