Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hopping the train

You can click on the image to view full size.

To those who live outside of the U.S. this is going to seem a mundane post.  But to those of us within the confines of the 48 contiguous....the freedom to hop a train is a treat indeed.

We decided to test the waters outside of our village of Gruyeres while we were visiting Switzerland.  What better way than to walk to the small station, wait for one of the local trains to arrive and hop on...with no plan as to destination....just hop on and get off where it looks interesting.  We did just that and we let the views soak in along the way.  We rolled through the countryside stopping at Steven Spielberg like towns that dotted the landscape of this beautiful country.  We pulled into Bulle, a town of about 20,000 or so and decided to take it in.  This was our first foray outside of our walled village.  Because it was the first of our will always be a special place for us.

Our first stop was at a small cafe to catch up on our caffeine fix and just take in the ambiance.  It was a living postcard.   Walking in, the first thing that caught my eye was the glass case with perfect...sugar glazed...fresh... pastries.  Looking around I could tell it was a local cafe, not a tourist stop.  Townsfolk would arrive with a double cheek kiss to the owner...each calling each by their first names...Marichou, Jacques, Sean, Lisabeth.  Small booths lined the two outer walls with overstuffed vinyl couches filled with older ladies.  One  booth next to us...we were at a small table in the middle of the room,  sat 4 ladies...ladies who had probably been meeting here in the afternoons for years were fast in conversations catching up on the comings and goings of their small town.  The most prominent guest at the booth was a small yorkie terrier in his own seat...a small woven basket.  He was the guest of honor being fed the sugar drops by each of the ladies in the booth.  We came to learn very quickly that in Europe, dogs were the guest of honor at most of the restaurants and cafes... whether a 5 star multi-course type establishment or a small local street cafe.  What a refreshing treat to see this openness and acceptance of man's best friend.

I ordered an expresso (my favorite) with creme in the photo above.  Take a good look at the creme container.  This is a "creme double".  Small otherwise insignificant niceties are often overlooked when one is in their normal environment but step outside of the daily patterns and everything seems new.  The creme was served in the small paper wrapped cup...after the creme was poured into the expresso...the remaining small cup was rich creamy swiss chocolate which you could...and I!  After that I always ordered a "creme double" with my expresso...a small treat that I miss so much now.

When we arrived back at Gruyere after our unplanned day adventure, the sun was  in it's last throes for the evening and at the crest of the hill near the entrance to our walled village, a faint bell was to our left were two lone sheep grazing and if not for the prominent in Switzerland with sheep and cattle...we would have missed them.  After taking the picture, we stood watching them and the surrounding hills until the sun passed below the horizon....headed back to the room for a glass of wine and thoughts of tomorrow.



Roan said...

The creme double sounds very nice. Beautiful scenes. The only train I hop is the one to Chicago and haven't done that in a while. I think next summer daughter and granddaughter are going to hop the train with me and head for New Orleans. I enjoy trains, wish we had more to hop. ;)

Dan Felstead said...

Roan...I "hopped" that train a few years ago...."The City of New Orleans". We took it to Chicago and then when it heads south it goes to New Orleans. Great trip.