With some freshly made chocolate bars ... yum


The land of chocolate and cheese ...

Unfortunately, I've the time to write this blog because I'm holed up in bed feeling unwell... fortunately, the last time I felt well, Tim and I were spending the weekend in Charmey, and there is a lot to tell. Charmey is in La Gruyere, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The countryside is pre-Alpine and all around are rolling hills and miniature little peaks; nothing is overbearing and the landscape is very open.

We were staying in a cosy little hotel - all wooden beams and balconies - which is attached to the one spa in the area. We spent most of the afternoon in the spa, which is a very simple building designed to reflect the surroundings. It is all green tiles, huge windows and wooden fixtures.. from so many parts of the spa you can see the mountains, and it is hard to tell where the spa ends and nature begins. It has one indoor and one outdoor pool, both with features including an alpine waterfall and jacuzzis. There were also hammam steam rooms and finnish saunas, and the brilliant thing is, in the French speaking part of Switzerland, you are not allowed to be naked in them. My treat was a massage with chocolate!

The therapist asked if I wanted to try the chocolate beforehand! It was warm, melted and soothing, so the treatment was relaxing.. although I smelt like a giant chocolate bar afterwards, and I'm not sure it's something I'd try again! In the evening, we had dinner in a delicious local restaurant, and afterwards laid on massage beds in the pool, looking at the stars.

Sunday was an exhausting day, but packed with a lot of interesting stuff. We got a cable car up the mountain and admired the surrounding view in sunshine; we also saw lots of paragliders taking off. Then we went to the Cailler chocolate factory (Cailler is owned by Nestle), saw how they make chocolate bars and got to taste a fresh one...yum! Then we went to a cheese factory, because Gruyeres is of course famous for cheese. Finally, we visited the medieval town, La Gruyere. It is perched on a hill, has a castle and is beautiful for wandering around. The castle had an interesting multimedia show about its history, and inside was filled with rooms from all different periods, because relatively recently it was owned by an artist who wanted to preserve it.

Not a region I'd have though of visiting, but very glad we did, and hopefully we'll go back ...
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