Travis and I were pretty excited to find out that two of our American friends, L & C, would be visiting us in Switzerland. (No, the photo above is not of our American friends…they’re just a couple of cute Hungarian Racka sheep at Gruyères Castle.)
L’s parents have been living in Zürich for the past year on sabbatical while Travis and I have been living near Fribourg. (You can follow their blog, Glamping In Switzerland!) Though L’s parents had invited us to join them for certain events and we’d invited them for others, we’d never been able to connect – either they were traveling or we were. But finally with L & C visiting them in Zürich, the 4 of them planned to take a train for the several hour journey and stay with us for the night. We were so excited!
As soon as they arrived, it was huge hugs all around amid smiles and exclamations of “Americans!” Folks in Switzerland are crazy friendly (at least in our neck of the woods) and we’ve made some wonderful friends here, but I was amazed how easily we slid into chatter about news from the States and jokes that didn’t need explaining. We had really missed our culture, missed being around other Americans. Not for the first time here, it made me realize how immigrants to our country must feel when they first arrive and struggle to learn a new language, find housing, get jobs, and have to learn how to do the most mundane tasks in a new and foreign way.
After the hubbub died down, we took a walk through the countryside near our house. Lounging on the terrace afterwards, we set about making raclette for our 4 guests, then stayed up late into the evening chatting while watching the Eurovision finals on our roommate’s laptop.
The next day, the 6 of us piled into our VW and headed for Gruyères Castle. Though Travis and I visited the castle before, as did L’s parents, we were excited to share it with L & C. We wandered through the tiny little village of Gruyères, then L & C toured the castle while we headed to the HR Giger Alien Bar to hang out with L’s parents.
Though we’d also previously visited the Alien Bar, we’d passed up the meringue et crème double (meringue and double cream). New to Switzerland at the time, we couldn’t imagine that it would really be that good, certainly not worth the hefty Swiss price tag. But since we were back in Gruyeres, renowned in Switzerland for the richness of its double cream, we decided it was time to try it, particularly since L’s mom decided to also sample some.
When it arrived, I immediately dipped one of the fluffy cream meringues in the thick double cream. Made simply of whipped egg and sugar, meringue is a light dessert common in France, Italy, and Switzerland. The double cream made from famous Gruyères milk consists of at least 45% fat and has little actual flavor, making it a perfect complement to the sweet and fluffy meringue. Separately, neither was particularly impressive, but together…heaven. Considering the Swiss penchant for fine wine, chocolate, cheese, and meringue with double cream, it’s a wonder how they all stay so fit!
Since it was already late afternoon and our friends had to catch a train back to Zürich, it was time to head back to our house. We slowly wandered through the village on our way back to the parking area, admiring the climbing ivy, old wooden doors, and wrought-iron decorations on store fronts and the apartments above.
After they left, the house seemed too quiet, as is often the case when house guests leave. Though our time was short with our American friends, we enjoyed their visit immensely and know we’ll see them again. Until then, à bientôt!