We are a long way from home. And boy, was it worth it!
Above: Wengen to Geneva
Interesting facts about Geneva:
- 40 % of residents in Geneva come from outside Switzerland
- Dog droppings is annually listed as the top complaint of citizens in Geneva
- The World Wide Web was invented and developed in Geneva at CERN laboratories.
- The European Headquarters of The International Red Cross and the World Health Organization are in Geneva.
- The city is known for The Jet d’eau, which is an important monument and is identified as the ‘tallest water fountain’.
- Geneva is one of the most expensive cities of the world; the city is also ranked amongst the top in terms of ‘quality of life’.
I recalled that when we took our bus from the train station to our hotel, we did not have enough change for all 4 of us. A very kind gentleman came and gave me money for us to take the bus. We wanted to go get change for him by buying something from the newstand but he refused. He took the same bus as us and told us where to get off. How nice of him!
Till this day, when I see a lost tourist in Singapore, I go up to ask if I can help. We have met many kind locals wherever we go and no harm paying it forward.
We spent 2 nights in Geneva – 1st day was spent walking around the city centre, the lake and having gelato for dinner.
When I was doing our research, I was wondering where to go for a side trip while we were in Geneva and got inspired by a travel book that I had. Gruyeres sounded oh-so-fascinating with its cheese factory, cheese restaurants and medieval town. And so we up and left Geneva for Gruyeres on the 2nd day!
The fastest rail trip from Geneva to Gruyères will get you there in just under two hours, with one change of trains at Palézieux. Trains leave once per hour. We had a good breakfast at a nearby cafe and left for the train station.
Halfway through the ride, the conductor came to check our tickets and asked where we are going on that train. On that morning, my sister and my husband said to me ” how difficult can it be to hop onto a train and get to somewhere else”? Turns out we boarded the wrong train.
The 1 time that I DID NOT BOTHER TO CHECK the information on the side of the train, we ended up on the wrong one. I completely forgot that one platform can serve more than 1 train/ destination and we ended up on the wrong one. The 1st few stops were correct and so the 2 of them just sat back and relaxed.. And when the conductor said we were on the wrong train, they both looked sheepish and smiled at me. We had to change at Montreux to get to Gruyeres. If you check out the map below, it is not exactly on the way…but well it gave us a chance to ‘see’ Montreux.
At Montreux, we alighted and as we had some spare time (thanks to these 2), we walked around and took in the scenery for a short while. We went up to a rooftop and snapped some pictures of our surroundings.
This hotel looks beautiful.
We then boarded the correct train this time and landed in Gruyeres proper.
Gruyères is a town in the district of Gruyère in the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. This medieval town is an important tourist location and gives its name to the well-known cheese. In this town, a trackless train is the only vehicle allowed on its pedestrianised streets.
Gruyeres (Gruyere spelt with an S, meaning the town itself) is a beautiful walled medieval town with cobbled streets. Our 1st stop is La Maison Du Gruyere, an interesting cheese manufacturing museum, which is just by the station where we took an audio tour (available in lots of languages), watch modern cheese making and strolled around the souvenir shop.
We had a super lovely delicious lunch at the inhouse restaurant and the weather was so accomodating, we ate outdoors on the terrace. The waitress came around to show us how to twirl the bread / potatoes onto the gruyere cheese and it was wonderful and delicious. If you have never tasted gruyere, go try some today! Some people think it is a bit too strong but it grows on you and my family loves it now. Maybe we had good memories of it, thats why.
After that, we walked to the city centre and the HR Giger Museum (famous from the Alien films). There were also very nice touristy shops and restaurants. But we were too full so we only stopped at a cafe to have tea. This town is really medieval and we don’t see that often so we really liked the atmosphere. The population of Gruyere as of 2011 is only 1967. Imagine that!
We had a really relaxing time just walking around this old town and admiring the medieval surroundings, tasting the fantastic Gruyere cheese and having a ball of a time reaching here by the old Gruyere train as well.
Even though we got lost, the fun is in the journey so all is good.