I had a great day today. Awesome. We went to the country town of Gruyeres, famous for producing cheese.
The train ride was a little longer than I expected, but the view was spectacular. I mean...wow. I took probably 200 pictures today. Green, mountains, hills, vineyards, etc. Just beautiful. It's a post card. The whole country. So we arrived, the first thing we did was go to the cheese museum/factory. We didn't get to see much of the live demonstration, they just washed and flipped the cheeses, but we saw where they make it, saw a video of the process, where the store and salt-wash the cheeses, etc. and there was cheese to eat afterwards! They even had a thing were we could smell some of the flowers and plants that the cows eat, which effects the flavor, of course. It was cool. Then we trekked, and I mean trekked, up to the town. It was really picturesque. They were having a book fair, and I bought the first three Harry Potters in French, for 6 bucks. Awesome. So, then we went to the castle, and started the visit with a movie, which was more like a sound and light show (some of it was projected onto the roof and rafters, lights would flash like bombs going off in the distance) telling about the history, and then we got to go through the castle. We had to go quickly, but it was really pretty, especially the view, and Kathryn and I had fun...some of the stuff was really funny.
Oh, and lunch was awesome. Delicious. We started with charcuterie...sliced meats, salami, ham, etc. Then traditional cheese fondue...with bread and boiled potatoes. And apparently, if you drink cold drinks, other than wine with fondue, it can mess up your digestion...so I just drank some wine. Anyway, the fondue was good. And for dessert, it was an meringue cookie (can't remember how to spell name in English!), topped with cream that came from the cow this morning. (Oh, I took some pictures of the cows...they're really cute with their bells.) Plus, the coffee came with cream that was in a chocolate cup! It was fun, and we had some really nice conversation. That put us all in a really good mood for the visit of the castle. It probably influenced why Kathryn and I found so many things funny...I don't know. I'll post pictures as soon as I can and let you decide.
And, weird of weird, in leaving, we passed a bar inspired by the movie Alien. The interieur was like the inside of the alien's lair...chairs like the Alien's spine. Creepy, cool.
The train ride back was still beautiful, and again, I really enjoyed the conversation with my fellow students. That has been an unexpected treat. I talked with a lady from Cape Cod about her brother's farm in Vermont, then a younger woman who's married to an older German man and about their life...and how she's not sure she wants to have kids, which is really interesting. Those are just examples.
Anyway...today was awesome. We're all sad to leave, and were sad to say goodbye to our program directors, Mr. Patane (Mr. Bean) and Christopher...they were great, even if we did have a few (or a lot) of jokes at Mr. Patane's expense. They really did arrange a splendid program for us.
Tomorrow, we leave early, at 6 am. We'll get to Paris about 11, and then leave around 2 to Belgium. It will be an adventure with everyone and their stuff. I hope I'll get to see Dad in Paris, as he just got there and is staying nearby.