My Friends’ Neighbors are Cheesy Cows

In my last vacation-related post, I said I’d tell you about our visit to the village of Gruyeres. I lied. Not intentionally, though. It’s just that as I went through the pics, I realized I had other stuff to share. So bear with me…

First, just for the record, I do realize I may be posting more pics and/or info than you care to see. I am aware of this, really. But this blog has become as much of a diary for me as it is a means to share info with the world. You can always just skip it if it overwhelms you, right? I rarely ask folks anymore if they have seen my blog.

Anyway, the last time we were in Europe — September 2012 — we spent most of our time in Italy. I never finished blogging about that trip, which was fabulous, but also mentally exhausting for me as it happened within a month of my mother’s death. It took me awhile to get my brain on the proper path, and I just never caught up on those posts. So I never told y’all about our first visit with Tammi and Martin in Switzerland.

L-R, Me, Mike, Yves, Annelies, Martin, and Tammi
L-R, Me, Mike, Yves, Annelies, Martin, and Tammi

Annelies and Yves had driven down to Italy from Belgium. They spent time exploring on their own while Mike and I enjoyed touring the Swiss and Italian Alps on a pair of rented motorcycles. Then we all joined-up for a week or so of exploring together. Near the end, we drove into Switzerland to see Tammi and Martin, who had just returned to CH from the US in early 2012.

In case you have been wondering, Annelies, Tammi, and I all used to work for the same company. When discussing the visit with Tammi in 2012, she told me there were cows everywhere and promised to introduce me to the “neighbors.”

Our drive through the mountains.
Our drive through the mountains.

In all, it was about an eight hour drive from Fara Vicentino, Italy (NW of Venice) to Tammi and Martin’s place in Ecublens, which is in southwestern Switzerland. Annelies even let me do some of the driving. So I really can say I drove across the Great Saint Bernard Pass.

Approaching the Great Saint Bernard Pass.
Approaching the Great Saint Bernard Pass.

The scenery really was quite spectacular. We were all anxious to get to our destination, though, so we didn’t stop to take many pics. Here’s a collage of images captured by Annelies while I drove… (Click on this or any image for a larger version.)

Amazing Scenery
Amazing Scenery

We were all very happy when we finally reached Ecublens.

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L-R, Annelies, Tammi, and Me

That night, we went out for dinner, during which we consumed quite a lot of bread, cheese, wine, and beer. It was a real Swiss fondue meal. The next day we all just hung out and chatted.

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Enjoying the patio.


Looking roughly north from Tammi’s driveway.

Then Tammi took Annelies and I to meet the neighbors, as she’d promised. The dogs came along, too, on what was a very unseasonably warm day.

L-R, Annelies, Zoe, Tammi, and Sasha


Some of the neighbors.


Some of the other neighbors.

Their neighbors were cool.

And now, for the 2014 visit.

Commune d'Ecublens
Commune d’Ecublens

A community Web site describes the town as follows…

The town is located in the district of Glâne in the canton of Fribourg. It is crossed by the main road leading from the town to join Rue Vaud Carrouge (VD). In the north lies the Vaud commune of Moudon, west of the Borgeaud of Carrouge, Mezieres and Vulliens. Towards the east the towns of Fribourg Promasens (Street) and Mossel and south, still the Vaud communes, those Châtillens and Oron-la-Ville.

Ecublens is located on the left bank of the Broye, which boundary between our village and the town of Rue.

Here’s a map for you…


It’s a very small — just over 300 residents in 2013 — and picturesque place.

I told you all about our wonderful dinner on Friday — Raclette! — in a previous post. So I’ll just skip right to Saturday morning, which is when I went out to see the neighbors.

Heather and Timo had left at the crack of dawn for their flight back to the US. I was a bit disappointed to see that it was foggy, but still enjoyed the stroll. It is a lovely, lovely place.

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Dewy Spiderweb


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House/Barn Duplex

I hadn’t noticed in 2012 that many of the farm buildings were actually housebarns. How cool is that? A house/barn duplex. As it turns out, they really are called “housebarns.”

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Some of the neighbors produced milk for Gruyeres cheese.


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Cows in fog.


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Wider view of one of the housebarns.


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The fog was slowly clearing as I meandered through the village.

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A view from the edge of the village.


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Another housebarn.


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My favorite street sign. Playmobil!


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Looking roughly north from Tammi’s driveway.


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View from their patio terrace.


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Gruyeres Cow


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Looking north. Lausanne is to the south. Trains run about every hour.


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Another Gruyeres Cow


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Cute Housebarn


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Neighboring village (that’s where we had fondue during our 2012 visit).


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View from the patio terrace.

Lovely, right?

I would never get tired of that view. When it isn’t as overcast, you can actually see the taller, snow-capped peaks in France on the opposite short of Lake Geneva across from Lausanne.

My next post will highlight the village of Gruyeres. Honest.

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