chocolate & cheese

You can't visit Switzerland without indulging in chocolate and cheese, so we went to the Cailler chocolate factory and Gruyere before we all head to Chicago tomorrow. First a history of chocolate and factory tour before we reach the tasting room...  

After we staggered away from the multitude of samples, we stopped at the nestle outlet...just down the road for a few (twenty or so) bars to go. Then to Gruyere, a brisk walk up to the cheese making village and some meandering before the trip home. 


an engagement

We are happy to celebrate Tyler and Jackie's recent engagement while they are visiting, and I shot some photos for them this morning before they left for a few days in Rome. We are lucky to have some sunshine today, but it's cold and really windy. After battling the wind in an open field, we tucked into the woods for protection and continued at a few more locations that kept the hair whipping to a minimum. Here's a few shots of a cute couple...when they weren't making goofy faces at each other:


geneva tour

We took our visitors on the train into the city and saw the sites. A usual grey sky for our tour -including stops by the the jet d'eau, flower clock, cathedral, cannons, city wall, and snacking on chestnuts on the streets of old town. To escape the cold, we spent some time wandering through the large Museum of Art and History. It was the first time there for Derek and I too, and we really enjoyed the artifacts from local excavations, paintings of the surrounding Alps, and the extensive armory...really cool knight's helmets.  



We've finally collected both Tyler and Jackie, after a travel snafu that rerouted Jackie back to Chicago after flying as far as Newfoundland. Tyler made it to Geneva yesterday afternoon, Jackie this morning, and hopefully her bag will make it soon too. Despite the somewhat scattered start, and some dark, drizzly weather, we headed to Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval for a walk. In any weather, it's a beautiful trail between steep cliffs, and rushing waterfalls. So many waterfalls! 

As we approached the far end of the loop, the sun broke through and left a rainbow in the valley and revealed some snowy peaks above us. 

Our walk back was warmer and a little more colorful.


november changes

November: I made my annual goal - not turning on the heat until now. We started the month without hot water for five days. It's time for eating hot, squishy foods and leaving dough to rise on the counter. I've been cooking pumpkin curry and homemade naan, and finally made lentil wat with injera bread (yum). Daylight hours are short and shifting to dark winter nights. A very special person left the world this week, and we will miss her severely. I saw the Nutcracker ballet, a signal to begin the holiday season. I started a pottery class. We're getting ready for a visit from Derek's brother and his fiance, just after the exciting news of their engagement. There has been a lot of hot and cold and up and down to start the month. 

Some early November skies: 



Eek! While Derek tried to figure out why we didn't have hot water, I started cleaning the cave, and encountered a rather large eight-legged housemate, cozy on the side of a stump. (The stump is another story).

"How big?" you ask... as big as I can make my thumb and forefinger to depict "this big," while we both grimace.  So that's about five inches. Just the usual harmless house spider (I think), but one that was big and hairy enough to make me nervous reaching my camera  up to it.

He's doing a good job of guarding the wine.