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50 Shades of Grey

Well, there was an enticement for me to visit Bulle, Switzerland, on November 12. I'd feared that mid November in Switzerland might be quite grey and gloomy, but the enticement was too powerful to resist, so I planned a vacation around the November 12 rendezvous and hoped for the best. It turns out that grey isn't so bad, as long as there are at least 50 shades for variety.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chuck_llama/sets/72157647014743823/

Mind you, it wasn't all grey.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chuck_llama/sets/72157647032217113/

When planning this trip, I feared the weather would be bad, so I stitched together an itinerary involving castles, as I figured they would look good under clouds, rain, and lightning. "Unfortunately", the weather was very nice whenever I was near a castle.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chuck_llama/sets/72157647027979854/

I walked an awful lot on this vacation, which was good, because I enjoyed a great deal of food and beverages. Various local ladies steered me to some fine wines, cheeses and chocolates. I also happened upon an "oil and whiskey" shop where I tried absinthe for the first time. I later shared some with a fun group of Finns who were staying at the same place as me - they knew a lot about absinthe and even showed me a hilarious skit about it from a Finnish comedy (go to youtube and enter "absintti" in the search field). "Air-dried" meat (I had boar, venison and beef at different times) was another local specialty that I enjoyed. I also liked the beef marrow consomme (they certainly do not skimp on the marrow!). I also tried some of Gruyere's signature cream - it is incredibly rich and thick - I think it comes from cows that are milked just before they succumb to cardiac arrest.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chuck_llama/sets/72157647048144373/

Getting back to what lured me to Switzerland at this potentially dismal time of year...well, it was the chance to see another concert by Spain's charming singer, Luz Casal, at the CO2 Spectacle in Bulle. Dressed in scarlet and accompanied by five musicians dressed in, well, 50 shades of grey, she put on a very enjoyable show. I also saw a nice performance by Irish harpist Janet Harbison near Vevey as well as a pair of classical concerts in Bern.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chuck_llama/sets/72157649045448368/

My route was shaped by various castles I thought looked interesting. I ended up skipping the side trip to the last couple of castle ruins, but that gave me more time to enjoy Bern. Each place had a different look and feel, starting with a brief stop in Geneva, followed by a train ride with the Swiss countryside to my left and the French Alps to my right, arriving in Vevey which was right on the Lake Geneva shoreline, then on to the terraced vineyards of Sion, followed by Bulle and the quintessential storybook Swiss town, Gruyere, and finally into the German speaking regions to see Thun and Bern.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chuck_llama/sets/72157649445259252/

I do have one question - Is there some sort of law that no two buildings in Sion can have the same color combination of wall and shutter colors? (I could have shot many more examples.)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chuck_llama/sets/72157649044153330/

Posted by
13967 posts

Chuck, fun trip report! and beautiful, beautiful photos. Thanks. I'm sort of sorry now that I'll be going to Switzerland in June and not in November (okay, that was tongue-in-cheek), but after looking at your photo, I am doubly excited about my up-coming trip.

Posted by
1846 posts

Fun report to read and truly gorgeous photos. Sounds/looks like quite a wonderful trip. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Posted by
65 posts

I'm glad you liked the report. 97% of the credit for the photos goes to the technology and the surroundings - it was hard to take a bad picture. (I was very fortunate with the weather. The only rain I encountered was very light.)

The food was great, but two errors are worth noting (one mine, one beyond my control).

I wish I'd ordered raclette (a dish based on heating cheese and scraping off the melted part and eating it with little potatoes, gherkins, etc.) instead of fondue. The fondue was great but I've had fondue before, whereas raclette would have been "special".

The other food error was the restaurant running out of fresh fruit for the Gruyeres cream. The meringue wasn't a bad substitute, but....

ah well, I suppose I'll be "forced" to return there someday.

Posted by
13967 posts

Chuck, you're too modest. I take decent photos, thanks to the surroundings and technology you mentioned, but I am envious of your ability to see great shots . . . You have a great eye for detail and composition that comes rarely in tourist photos.

Posted by
287 posts

Chuck, thank you for sharing your trip in words and pictures! An excellent armchair visit today...now I'm dreaming of Switzerland!

Laurie