A new tour, a new group, a new country, We are now in Switzerland. The West part of the country, the French speaking part, close to Geneva lake, in the heart of Gruyeres.
From Left to Right: Lina, Jim, the watercolorist art teacher on the tour Sonja Hamilton, Linda, Helen and Betty.
Here is the post from Betty, one of our guests on our painting trip in French Switzerland. The pictures are mine but the text is hers.
This is an absolutely beautiful place. I took 301 photos today. Everything here is sensational. Had a huge breakfast, and smuggled leftovers into our pockets for lunch. We wanted to picnic, rather than spend time in a cafe for lunch.
Our village of Charmey
The weather here changes radically in the course of each day (or hour). We walked a short distance from our hotel, sketched, took pictures, and watched Sonja paint window boxes full of flowers…a very common thing here.
The window we painted
Painting of the window by Sonja Hamilton
It was hot in the sun, but a lovely site.
Then we took a gondola to the top of a mountain, where we were surrounded by breathtaking views of jagged mountaintops, hills covered with wild flowers, a distant lake, Charmey stretched out in the valley, and more.
Even the dandelions were beautiful.
This is where The Sound of Music could have been filmed. Stunning! After major picture taking, studying unusual flowers, and just gazing at the view, we found a picnic table and sat down for lunch.
We were soon scurrying for cover as a light rain began. Looking at the darkening clouds above, we decided to go to a chocolate factory, rather than pursue outdoor activities. However, the sky began clearing, so we proceeded to a nearby town or village. We stopped at a beautiful viewing place and took more photos. Our attention soon shifted to six cows fairly close to us…nice looking cows.
About cows…this area focuses on cows and dairy so much that there are curtains, tablecloths, murals, every kind of cow ornamentation imaginable everywhere.
Cheese making is serious business here, and cheeses are slightly different when made at different altitudes. The
best or most traditional cheeses are made at higher altitudes, so in June some farmers take their cows up into the mountains, stay there with them until the end of September, and make cheese. The sound of distant cowbells is a common and pleasing sound here.
After visiting with the cows awhile, we started down toward town in the van. That is when torrential rain suddenly hit. Maybe we would see the chocolate factory today after all. However, just as we reached a cascading waterfall, the rain stopped.
We took more pics and started sketching again. Fortunately, we had trees to shade us from the sun. Later we visited a church with a small cemetery. Each grave had a unique wood carved marker that showed the trade or major
activity of the deceased.
We had a couple hours of free time before dinner. Lina and I decorated our bathroom with a clothesline full of laundry. Then we set out to investigate a local swimming pool (for me) and a nearby mineral bath spa (for Lina). We are both excited about the results. The pool is closed tomorrow, but I will be able to swim Tuesday!
Off to sleep now…another big day tomorrow!