This past weekend I had the great delight of eating all the cheese and chocolate I could ever want IN SWITZERLAND! Two friends of mine and I took on Geneva for the weekend, and had a grand old time.
First thing you need to know about Switzerland is: IT’S EXPENSIVE. The flight there may not be horrible, but once you get there it’s expensive. That is because the standard of living is much much much higher than most countries (That’s what you get for being neutral!), but the quality of everything is also so much better too. Por ejemplo (for example), we ate at a restuarant that offered 1/2 roasted chicken, with chips (fries), and salad for 14 Swiss Francs (about 12 euros). This is what we got:
Second, Switzerland is home to one of the REFORMISTS: JOHN CALVIN. I know, you are probably like “who in the world?” THIS GUY:
So back in 1517 this guy Martin Luther started the Reformation by posting his 95 Theses to the Catholic Church door, stating everything that is wrong with the Church. There was a big uproar (claro) and the Catholic Church met at the Council on Trent to see what could be done. Well the Church decided they didn’t want to fix much, so Luther went on with his Reformation and created in the new Protestant religion, Lutheranism. He was soon “excommunicated,” while the Pope condemned the Reformation.
Well in Switzerland, they had their own little Reformation as well, with John Calvin (Pictured below). While Luther was being excommunicated, and the Pope denouncing the Reformation, Calvin was writing his own little Reformation papers. Calvin was asked to use the organizational skill he had gathered as a student of law to discipline the ‘fallen city’ of Geneva. His ‘Ordinances’ of 1541 involved a collaboration of Church affairs with the City council and consistory in order to bring morality to all areas of life. After the establishment of the Geneva academy in 1559, Geneva became the unofficial capital of the Protestant movement, providing refuge for Protestant exiles from all over Europe and educating them as Calvinist missionaries. The Geneva University was founded on Calvin’s principles. I would like to thank Calvin for his great organization skills because the Geneva public transportation system is AH-MAZING.
Geneva is pretty small so here are the other few sights we saw:
Our second day in Geneva, we took a last minute day trip to Broc Village and Gruyère Village. These are VERY important places in Switzerland because Broc is where the Cailler Chocolate factory is located and Gruyère is where the Gruyère Cheese factory is located. Basically we spent the whole day eating, but that is completely normal for me.
Francios-Luis Cailler is the man we have to thank for the first Swiss brand of chocolate. He began his amazing work in 1819. He built his factory in his hometown village after a trip to Italy. It wasn’t until his daughter married Daniel Peter, who would later become the creator of MILK CHOCOLATE. It wasn’t until some later son established the factory in Broc village where it stands today.
If you want more information about this, here is the link: http://www.cailler.ch/en/
Once inside the factory we took a great little tour explaining the history of chocolate. Columbus and Cortéz were the first explorers to bring the cocoa bean back to Europe. It was really only eaten by the upper classes since it was so expensive. It was known for being an aphrodisiac and a caffeinated drink. At one point the Roman Catholic Church banned chocolate until they realized the human necessity of it.
After we came down from our sugar highs we continued our food tour of Switzerland, and headed to Gruyère Village for the La Maison du Gruyère. Home of the Gruyère cheese. We got the chance to watch the cheese being made as well as hear the story of “Cherry” the cow (who happens to think that cows are superior to humans…) and her daily life in Gruyère. Most importantly, we got to sample the cheese.
More information here about the Cheeseeeee: http://www.lamaisondugruyere.ch/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=142&Itemid=209
After we were sufficiently full from our adventures in Willy Wonka’s Cheese and Chocolate factory, we headed up the hill to Gruyère Village to see the picturesque Swiss Alps. This place is home to many things: The Gruyère Chateau, the Tibet museum (with over 300 Buddhist sculptures), and the famous museum holding Oscar-winning H. R. Giger’s art from the movie “Alien.”
Note before you look: I have not edited ANY of these pics. THIS IS THE REAL DEAL PEOPLE.
Before I sign off for this blog, I just have to reiterate how lucky I am to be here right now. I have been able to see some amazing places and experiences some awesome traditions that I may never get to do again. I want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way here and has been continuously sending me love and support from home. I should also probably announce that I have applied for another year here in Spain as a Language and Cultural Assistant. This is the time for me to experience the world, and I would LOVE to have another year in Spain.
KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSS! HASTA LUEGO!