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Jan 27

Fondue, Absinthe, and Mountain Goats

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Vending machines in Switzerland sell…what else? Cheese! And potatoes, etc.

 

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We spent a fabulous day with Laurent et Gaielle hiking around the lake at Charmey.

 

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Picnic lunch – fondue!!!!!

 

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Picnic lunch: easy friends, amazing views.

 

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Melting the fondue.

 

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Santé!

 

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Melty goodness.

 

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This bridge debuted in the movie, Bridge Over The River Kwai!

 

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Up in the mountains, a small chapel.

 

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Chapel with tree.

 

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Climbing on mossy wall / Lolo et Gigi / Awesome Swiss signage / drinking out of a very cold “fountain”.

 

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Les montagnes.

 

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The trail we took today started out a dirt single track covered with roots and leaves. At times it grew to a narrow, paved road, a jeep road, and even a barely visible track in the grass up in the mountains. But always, the yellow signs will guide you.

 

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Frère et soeur 🙂

 

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Good times with the family.

 

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Nifty contraptions to deliver the mail.

 

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A walking tour of Fribourg, courtesy of Silvia. Merci, Silvia, pour la belle journée!!

 

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If you get lost in Switzerland, I’m not sure that there is any help for you. Just follow the yellow signs!!

 

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TonTon is fun!

 

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We walked all over Fribourg – past the local dam, an abbey, over bridges, up cobblestone streets and down narrow alleyways.

 

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Beautiful old bridge.

 

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The Sarine River snakes through Fribourg.

 

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Every fall, the cows are led down from the Alps to the lowlands. Many homes have paintings of this hanging on the exterior of their homes / The abbey in Fribourg – founded in 1255! / Mossy tree shrine / Cave shrine

 

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Mossy cobblestones – the streets of Old Fribourg. / Front steps of a home in Old Fribourg. / You must put your trash in the special blue trashbag. It is six gallons and costs something like $2/each to dispose of. This is why you recycle / compost as much as you can! / Dolphin centerpiece adorning an old fountain in one of many small, quaint squares in Fribourg.

 

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Silvia had lots to share about Fribourg, its many buildings and squres, and its history.

 

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One of the oldest parts of Fribourg. They are paved here but there are still sections of narrow, cobblestone streets.

 

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Fribourg grows out of a rocky cliff.

 

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Riverside homes.

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Cliff dweller.

 

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Medieval square.

 

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The Gottéron Bridge (wooden!)

 

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Funky Fribourg café.

 

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Checking out the views from The Belvidere.

 

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One of the original entry points of Fribourg.

 

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An exterior wall of one of the churches in Fribourg- above is the old/original stone and below, new stone. Two artists chip away at the stone to give it texture and to blend the new with the old. I would like to go back and see the finished product – I wonder how camo the new bricks have become…

 

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No such thing as a cookie cutter home here.

 

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Narrow, steep, cobblestone road. Complete with steps on the side for pedestrians.

 

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Imperfection is so much more interesting.

 

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TonTon (Stéphane) & TaTa (me) with our nephews. In French, “uncle” is “Oncle” – so you get tONtON. For “Aunt”, which is “Tante”, grab the first two letters and you have Tata. Et, voila.

 

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The crane, symbol of the Gruyères area, is still as significant today as it was back in the 1500s. Above: stained glass from Gruyères Castle, 1543. Below: “La Gruyère” newspaper, Dec. 9, 2015.

 

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Like the US, each state in Switzerland has its own flag. Swiss license plates display the Swiss flag on the left and the state flag on the right. The Heftis live in the state of Fribourg and its flag is shaped like a shield, top portion black, bottom white.

 

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En route to a trailhead back in Colorado, you’ll pass by some homes, a school; some onion fields. In Switzerland, you pass by…Medieval towns and Roman amphitheaters…whaaaa???? Awesome.

 

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The boys getting booted up. Today we hiked The Creux du Van.

 

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You May Not: have dogs off leash, camp, pick flowers, or base jump. / Other things you also May Not Do.

 

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The trailhead. Lots of helpful yellow signs.

 

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The area where we hiked is called the Route De L’Absinthe. Wormwood, which grows here, is harvested and the roots are used to make absinthe. You can sample the locally-made absinthe at any of the local bars.

 

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The trail begins. Marked with a cool old column.

 

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Ça monte bien! (It’s steep!)

 

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Historical print – “A day at Creux du Vent”

 

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A bear was shot and buried here – 1757 (basically that’s what the rock says).

 

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Where are we?

 

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And we go that-a-way.

 

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First glimpse of the Creux du Van.

 

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Yet another random wee home in the wildnerness

 

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Papi cruising up the steep stuff.

 

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The boys.

 

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Us.

 

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Looking good in his new red jacket!

 

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It’s like The Lord of The Rings

 

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Nearing the top.

 

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Topped out! 2,500 feet ascent. The Creux du Van in the background.

 

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Creux du Van.

 

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Look! It’s the Eiger again!

 

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Because it’s such a cool rock feature…another Creux du Van shot.

 

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Groupie at the top!

 

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Feeling good!

 

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We think this is a state line marker. On one side, the state flag of is chiseld. On the other side, it looks like it used to be another flag but it is too old to tell.

 

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Papi is not hard to find.

 

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Checking out the Alps.

 

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Which way? There are so many!

 

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Summit view. Amazing Alps in the background.

 

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We came across a family of “bouquetin des Alpes” at the top. (alpine ibex – like a mountain goat). They were completely unafraid of us and let us get quite close.

 

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We found a nice log to sit on for lunch; out of the wind. Cervola (sausage), hard-boiled egg, cheese, bread, beer. Yes!

 

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The trail passes by a farm on its way back down. I thought the fences seemed a little flimsy to be keeping these giant bulls in. I didn’t realize they are electric fences!

 

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Papi and I on the home stretch.

 

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And to round out the amazing day, we sample the local absinthe (tastes like licorice).

 

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Santé to a great day!

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