Oct 12 2008
Alee, our friend from the Reform Minyan at Harvard, came to visit us for a long weekend! It was great! Alee is a junior and is studying abroad in Nantes, France, this semester. She arrived just after Kol Nidre, and we hopped onto the train she took from the airport, and showed her back to Renens. The next day we took a late morning and headed into Geneva in the early afternoon. We walked around the old city (which I still hadn’t been to since age 14!) for a few hours and, in particular, visited the old cathedral and its archeology museum. We went to the 3.5 hour afternoon service, during which we all felt very lathargic and pretty darn hungry. Then we broke fast with apples and headed to Mary’s for dinner, which was delicious.
Seth went to work on Friday, but Alee and I took the day to go to Gruyères, of cheese fame, and the Cailler chocolate factory in Broc. Gruyères was a beautiful old village nestled on the top of a hill, amongst trees of all sorts of vivid autumn colors. We ate a traditional Swiss lunch of rosti covered in gruyère and macaroni in cream and melted gruyère and then walked down the one main street towards the chateau.
The cheese factory was a bit disappointing, as it was targeted towards elementary school children and seemed far away from the artisanal processes we had been imagining. We liked the Cailler factory in nearby Broc much better. This little rural town for some reason hosts the only Cailler factory, which we learned differentiates itself from most Nestle products by virtue of the fact that Cailler chocolate uses condensed milk rather than the standard Nestle milk powder. All of said condensed milk comes from the cows grazing on the land around the factory, although, of course, the cocoa beans come from far, far away. This tour was free (!!!) and gave us unlimited tasting of Cailler chocolate, yum.
On Saturday Seth was back with us as we went biking in the Canton of Geneva. We rented bikes (cost 2 francs per bike) for the day right by the train station, and we biked along the lake through the city and out into the country side. Most of it featured a clearly marked bike path, but there was a stretch where it disappeared. That plus a couple big hills made me somewhat unhappy for a little while (but the hills were great on the way back!!!). We stopped at an apple orchard and bought a 5 kg sack of apples and a bottle of hard cider, and then we stopped at a squash farm and picked out a couple of those, too. We biked back into town, stopping at the Jet D’Eau for some photos and a coffee/sorbet break, and then Alee was off on the train to the airport, back to Nantes.