Say CHEESE…and Chocolate

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:

Totally worth all the money in the world.  It tasted JUST like home.

Like I said, the quality is great, so I have no problems.  Totally worth all the money in the world. It tasted JUST like home.  I should admit we ate here twice, so this past weekend I ate a whole chicken.

Second, Switzerland is home to one of the REFORMISTS:  JOHN CALVIN.  I know, you are probably like “who in the world?” THIS GUY:

Yep, his beard IS pointing the way to the Reformation museum...sadly we did not visit.

Yep, his beard IS pointing the way to the Reformation museum…sadly we did not visit.  BUT don’t worry my friends, I took a class on the Reformation in college.

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.

Da man, John Calvin.

Da man, John Calvin.

Outside the original CALVINIST church.

Outside an original CALVINIST church.

CALVIN IS BURIED HERE!!!!  SO MUCH HISTORY!

CALVIN IS BURIED HERE!!!! SO MUCH HISTORY!

Calvin's chair.  I'm trying to show you that he must have been a very small man.

Calvin’s chair. I’m trying to show you that he must have been a very small man.

The view from the two towers of the Church.

The view from the two towers of the Church.

some goofballs I got to hang out with all weekend.

some goofballs I got to hang out with all weekend.

May or may have not left my mark in the Church tower.

May or may have not left my mark in the Church tower.

The Reformation Wall located in some park.  It celebrates all the reformers  of Switzerland!

The Reformation Wall located in some park. It celebrates all the reformers of Switzerland!

Geneva is pretty small so here are the other few sights we saw:

The Jet d'Eau or the giant fountain that helps the lake release water.  We couldn't see it up close because it seemed to like to take siestas all day.

The Jet d’Eau or the giant fountain that helps the lake release water pressure. We couldn’t see it up close because it seemed to like to take siestas all day.

Just adventuring in front of the World's longest bench!  It's more than 120 meters and was made in 1767.

Just adventuring in front of the World’s longest bench! It’s more than 120 meters and was made in 1767.

Heart shaped pizzas made by some Italians who were in amor (love) with me.  If this trip or my past trips haven't showed you that the way to my heart IS through my stomach, then we obviously aren't friends.

Heart shaped pizzas made by some Italians who were in amor (love) with me. They didn’t speak English, so I spoke in Spanish and they responded in Italian, WOOF.  If this trip or my past trips haven’t showed you that the way to my heart IS through my stomach, then we obviously aren’t friends.

THE UN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Also a perk of being neutral, you get to hold all the important meetings!

THE UN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also a perk of being neutral, you get to hold all the important meetings!

DSC04163And the most important sight, next to the UN I guess…

CENTRAL PERK FROM FRIENDS!

CENTRAL PERK FROM FRIENDS!

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/

I found Heaven.

I found Heaven.

And we haven't even entered the factory yet.

And we haven’t even entered the factory yet.

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.

loving life.  This room had so much information about  cocoa beans and which ones make what chocolate.  There was even a poster about the HEALTH BENEFITS of CHOCOLATE!

loving life. This room had so much information about cocoa beans and which ones make what chocolate. There was even a poster about the HEALTH BENEFITS of CHOCOLATE!

When is it time for Chocolate?  ALL DAY EVERYDAY BABY!

When is it time for Chocolate? ALL DAY EVERYDAY BABY!

Let the tasting begin...I should mention I did get a verbal warning for attempting to take the chocolate tray with me.

Let the tasting begin…I should mention I did get a verbal warning for attempting to take the chocolate tray with me.

About half way through the tasting room...AND we decided to find out our "Chocolate Character" which meant eating MORE chocolate.

About half way through the tasting room…AND we decided to find out our “Chocolate Character” which meant eating MORE chocolate.

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

This where the magic happens.  We were lucky enough to catch the last cheese making show!

This where the magic happens. We were lucky enough to catch the last cheese making show!  I also felt slightly at home, as if I were in Bongards!

AGAIN HEAVEN.  It took all of my control NOT to try to break in.

AGAIN HEAVEN. It took all of my control NOT to try to break in.  This is where they store the cheese to “age.”  When we paid the entrance fee we got a sample of 3 different aged cheeses, I ate them in no time.

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.

Three lovely ladies hanging in Switzerland!

Three lovely ladies hanging in Switzerland!  This is the main part of the village.

Yep.  That's what I am talking about.

Yep. That’s what I am talking about.  I could hear Julie Andrews singing from the top of that mountain.

Just yodeling and playing in the snow.

Just yodeling and playing in the snow.

CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN.

CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN.

I couldn't get a sweet picture of the Chateau of Gruyère, so here is one from the internet.  It looks like a pretty sweet place to hang out.

I couldn’t get a sweet picture of the Chateau of Gruyère, so here is one from the internet. It looks like a pretty sweet place to hang out.

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!

I seriously cannot get over this view.

I seriously cannot get over this view.  This place seriously exists.

One thought on “Say CHEESE…and Chocolate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s