It’s shameful that we lived in Switzerland for nearly a year and still hadn’t had a proper visit to Lake Gruyère, not even to go swimming.  We’d driven past it, around it, and over it on various highways, always saying we should spend a day at the lake, but it took the intense heat of summer to finally prompt us to dig out our swimsuits, head next door to convince Simone & Gintare to join us, and drive the few miles to the lake.

Simone & Travis swimming at Lake Gruyère, Switzerland

As soon as we could throw our stuff down in a semi flat place above the water line, we splashed in, relieved to finally get a reprieve from the unusually intense July heat wave that had extended into August.  It was so hot and dry this summer that the Swiss military created a minor international ruckus when they “stole” water from France for their parched cows.  [Modern Farmer wrote the funniest article about of the incident.]

Swimming at Lake Gruyère, Switzerland

Typically not a fan of swimming, Touille didn’t even hesitate to sploosh in after her ball.  She’ll do anything for her ball.

Swimming at Lake Gruyère, Switzerland

Of course, every little rat terrier has her limit.

Stranded on a submerged rock, Touille waits for rescue.

After swimming out a bit too far for her ball, she snagged it and then took refuge on a submerged bouder, refusing to plunge back into deeper water to swim to shore.  Taking pity on our poor little rat dog, I rescued her and gave her a free ride to shore.

Swimming at Lake Gruyère, Switzerland

When we were finally all blessedly chilly, we toweled off and climbed a rocky promontory.  A strong believer that wine makes every occasion better (and who am I to argue?!), Gintare uncorked a bottle of wine and we shared a hastily thrown together picnic dinner.

Picnic dinner at Lake Gruyère after an evening of swimming

A thin line of angry black clouds crept in from the south, eerily snaking across the lake and blotting out the sun.   Watching in awe at the speed with which the storm descended, we realized the curtain of rain that had quickly obscured the mountains would likely be upon us in minutes.

Angry storm clouds roll in across the lake from the south.

Suddenly, the wind hit us, needling our skin with fine sand picked up from the beach.  Lightning, visible only as sheets of bright light, flashed inside the curtain of rain.  It was quite impressive!

It was also definitely time to go.  Racing across the rocky beach ahead of the rain, the four of us passed the beautiful old tree next to the Pont-la-Ville church; the tree was flattened against the chapel, branches bent sharply in the wind.

Laughing, we reached our car just as the first few fat raindrops hit us.  Before we’d even reached the end of the winding road out of the village, the deluge enveloped our car.  Content with our memorable first visit to Lake Gruyère, we crept along the road in the pounding rain, already anticipating hot showers and giant mugs of piping hot coffee awaiting us at home.

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