Monday, May 25, 2009


The weekend in Neuchatel was lovely.  Beautiful weather and scenery, good food, French everywhere.  Saturday morning, we went into town for the market.  In addition to the standard produce stalls, there were quite a few cheese and patisserie stalls.  There was one bread booth selling chunks of a loaf that was at least 6 feet long.  We met Aline's parents for lunch at the terrace restaurant next to the market and had steak tartare and frites.  Raw meat is oh so good.  They have a lot of good charcuterie here.  At home we have generic grocery store brands for mac and cheese, cereal, and other basics.  Here they have brie, camembert, and delicious smoked charcuterie in grocery store brand.  

After lunch, we drove down to her family's lake house, or "chalet."  Her grandmere was there, and we took a rowboat out on the lake.  There were a lot of sailboats out.  We passed a campsite that was packed with jolly vacationers.  And there are swans everywhere here.  Like canadian geese, but much more attractive and less prone to depositing large quantities of fecal matter.  

In the evening, we met up with some of Aline's primary school friends for a BBQ by the lake.  There were about 100 people in the small park with 3 grills, so grill-wars were in effect.  Everyone spoke in French all evening, and I understood about half of it if I paid attention.  Still, it was interesting to meet them and to listen.  

Sunday, we drove to the Val-de-Travers for a hike up to Cruex-du-Van.  It is a huge cliff formation formed by glaciers.  About 1 km in diameter, it cuts a half-circle into the side of the hill and has a very long sheer drop.  Again lots of people. We continued our walk down the valley along the Gorges de l'Areuse, where the river cuts its path between smooth rock walls.  The rock formations were amazing and the water below was black and calm.  It took about 6 hours for the whole hike, so we were pretty caput afterwards.  After dinner, we said goodbye to Aline's family and hopped the train back to Zurich.  It was really fun to go with her to meet her family and see her home.  

I was moderately surprise to learn that Swiss people actually use the things that we think of as typically "Swiss."  Every child seems to have a swiss army knife by the age of 10.  Sigg water bottles are everywhere.  And Swiss watches too.  Though our American version of "Swiss" cheese is thankfully absent.  

1 comment:

Louis said...

I would like any kind of cheese