Friday, January 21, 2011

Let's go to Switzerland

Gruyéres, Switzerland

Alp Horns, Gruyeres, Switzerland
Gruyéres, SwitzerlandRiiiiicolaaaaa!  Yes, Ricola, the cough drop herbal remedy. That's what most people think when they see these guys with their alphorns.  Heck, I didn't even know what they were called until I went to Switzerland.  They were used for communication between villages in the alps.  Sometimes for people, sometimes for cattle. This is one of only two times I've ever seen them being used.  This is in the tiny town of Gruyéres.  This region in the alps is known for it's cheese and chocolate.  I ended up going on a tour of the cheese factory and it was very impressive.  The cows that they use for the milk roam the alps freely eating flowers, grass and herbs (some of the same herbs you find in Ricola).  This diet gives the cheese it's special flavor.  At the end of the tour they gave us 3 cheeses to try : each at a different stage of maturity.   It is definitely my favorite cheese.  Of course, every time I bite into a piece of it I remember the experience of being there.  I'm sure that plays into my love of this cheese.  At any rate, if you've never tried it, pick some up the next time you are in a good cheese shop. 

Friday, January 7, 2011


Bergen, Norway..........

Bergen Norway

Bergen Epcot
The photo on the top is from Bergen, Norway a town on the western coast of Norway known for it's harbor and fish market and rich sea-trading heritage.  These buildings face the harbor and had some great weathered character to them and were anything but straight.  They all seemed to have a bit of a lean to them.  I liked the simplicity of the shapes and how they became a color study with the blue sky and the mountain of green trees in the background.  And the funny thing about the photo in the bottom is that it's from Epcot at Disney World.  They have a World Showcase area that highlights 10 different countries and Norway is one of them.  As soon as I saw these buildings I realized they were mimicking Bergen.  So to have some fun, I photographed the architecture from some of the countries in the showcase and I posted the images on Facebook.  I didn't say where I was but most people thought I was in Europe.  The architecture in the World Showcase is very believable.  I had German beer in "Germany" and ate French food in "France" and pretended, at least for the day, to be in Europe.