Some more (very delayed) Swiss pics for you! It’s been almost a year since that trip, and I’m ready to do it again. Right now. I could very happily live there…just need to learn German first.
One of our day trips to an alpine cheese hut did not require much travel. It was located on the alps just above Hasliburg, the area we were staying in. We took a gondola ride up the mountain and hopped off among the clouds. The pictures below show the outside of the cheese making hut, and the surrounding areas. It was difficult to take pictures inside because the hut was small, dark, and full of people. The cheese maker was a woman in her 30s, who lives there during the summer months with her young daughter and some piggies. When we visited, she had a young man assisting her, but he was only there temporarily. She used to be a teacher but quit her job to learn the trade of cheese making (which requires an apprenticeship and extremely large muscles). The hut has running water but no electricity, and some of the huts that she uses in other areas don’t have either. She’s responsible for rounding up and milking a heard of about 20 cows. They are no fences on the alps, so she has to get up early in the morning and walk about until she finds them, using the sounds of their bells to help her. She remarked that it’s very difficult to get the cows to come to the hut for milking, because the areas they graze are so rich with food. She makes the cheese in the hut, using huge cauldrons and water heated outside, and then the cheese is aged in a cave. A cave! Apparently, people who have lived in the area their whole lives can taste a cheese and tell what area of the alps the cows were grazing, and what plants they were eating. I think it certainly takes a unique kind of person to do her job. She works extremely hard, often only sleeping for 6 or 7 hours each night if things go well, for very little money and spends much of her time alone. She was such a gregarious and friendly person, with a great sense of humor, so it seems strange to think of her up there by herself with just her young daughter. Here are some shots of the gondola, the cheese-making hut, and the stunning views.
After the cheese making demonstration and some delicious samples, Ad and I decided to travel home the non-gondola way, on monster bikes and then by foot. Monster bikes are terrifying. Just terrifying. I have terrible balance, a fear of heights, the ability to trip and fall over my own two feet, and I haven’t even ridden a regular bike in about 3 years. I sucked it up though, and managed to make it down the alp with what I feel was only a minor amount of screaming. The dorky helmet accentuated my giant head quite nicely I think. I looked like a fool, but a happy fool.
After the death defying monster bike decent, we hiked the rest of the way home. Hasliburg is really probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The views in every direction are absolutely breathtaking. Everything is so simple and clean and natural.
There are more Swiss pictures to come…