Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gruyeres the walled village

You can click on the images to see the large view.

Gruyere was exactly how I remembered it.  The last time I was here was in August of 1970.  I had hitchhiked from Barcelona to Geneva for a Summer session in French at L'Universite de la Cite in Geneva.  I met a guy on the way who lived in Geneva and was returning home after a summer of travel.  He told me that I would never find a place to stay that I could afford and invited me to stay with his family while attend the university.  The family did not know me from Adam but took me in as one of their own.  My time there formed friendships that  have lasted a lifetime.  While staying with the family, one weekend we traveld by car to Gruyere.  Each night the mother would make a different dish for dinner but something at the meal would always have Gruyere Cheese in it.  I often asked questions about this magnificent cheese and one night she told me that she would take me to the village where all the Gruyere cheese is made.  Little did I know that all this cheese could come from a village this small and remote.  This is a land where cows, goats and sheep are king.  Festivals, children's stories and legends are built around these animals and their strong ties with the Swiss countryside.

The first image of Gruyere above gives some perspective as to the layout and location of this beautiful fairytale village.  It is a village so typical of this medieval time period of the 1100's or thereabouts.    The entire village is surrounded by a wall....from the entrance at the right had side until the Castle at the other end.  The street that you see served as a support system for the castle.  Therein lived the merchants and workers that provided the upkeep and construction infrastructure for the Lord of the Castle.  Inhabitants from all the surrounding areas would travel to the village and buy goods from the merchants....food, fresh fruits and vegetables, living supplies and of course cheese.  The lord of the castle would then tax the merchants and demand payment for the use of the merchant shops.  Sound familiar?

During our stay at Gruyere, each of the images above would become part of our experience while in Gruyere....from top to bottom _ view of Gruyere from the train, The castle in the mist at the end of the street, the clock-tower, the Hostelerie St. George where we stayed and the weather during our stay.



A Scattering said...

Hi Dan, I happened upon your Tweet about your trip this afternoon and made a note to "visit" you in Europe after supper. Wow!

Your recounting of your trip is every bit as enthralling as your lovely photos. I'm looking forward to eavesdropping on the remainder of your journey. Elaine

ADRIAN said...

Perfect processing.

Dan Felstead said...

Elaine...thanks for the visit! This was a trip I had wanted to take for 40 years and it finally came true. There was literally a postcard every where I turned. I had an external hard drive with me and I loaded over 12,000 photos during the trip. Many of course were no good but hey with a digital camera...why not take them if I had the room! I will be posting many of them over the next few months.


Dan Felstead said...

Adrian...thank you so much for the comment. I know that HDR processing can sometimes be over the top so I purposely try not to take it there! Most of what I take is HDR but I always try to keep it as realistic as possible...sometimes I succeed and sometimes not!


shabby girl said...

Wow, wow, wow! That first photo is amazing. When I see places like that, I can't help but wonder what it's like all year round. What do you suppose the elevation of the mountain in the backround is?

Dan Felstead said...

Shabbygirl....The picture of the village was taken from the train as we arrived. It is the type of site that takes your (at least mine) breath away when you first see it. The mountains surrounding the village are probably in the 7 to 8 thousand foot range. I think the telephoto lens makes them look bigger than they really are but they are quite impressive.