Leaving Le Val D`Ajol, we ascended smooth twisty roads through the French countryside into the rolling hills of the Swiss Jura region. This area is not known on the typical tourist route but is filled with beautiful scenery; old farmhouses; and cheese, watch, and chocolate factories. The closer we got to Cormoret, the very small town where Erika spent many summers with her mom's family in her younger days, the chillier it became. Those were supposed to be green fields where horses grazed in the sunshine! But they were covered with snow! Erika was reminded by the icy rain that she did actually own a heated vest and it was about time to try it out.
Erika's parents' warm greeting, however, warmed us up. And for the next week the we were warmed (and fattened) up with hot meals of regional Swiss specialties by different groups of Erika's relatives. First day was a big Raclette lunch (note: lunches usually start around breakfast and go through dinner). This dish consists of a huge half-wheel of cheese placed under a special grilling machine that you only own if you are a Swiss cheesemaker, which Erika's Uncle Hans-Ueli conveniently happens to have been. When the cheese begins to bubble, a big blob of it is scooped off onto your plate which has been filled with potatoes and pickles and onions. Erika was not able to top her childhood record of 8 helpings but Dave came pretty close.
We were also treated to a big sausage lunch by cousin Noelle and her husband Yann. Sausage lunch consists of at least 4 delicious types of regional sausages placed over a special grilling machine that you only know how to make if you are a Swiss butcher, which Yann conveniently happens to be.
On other occasions we enjoyed immense individual pizzas at a local restaurant (did we mention that lunch traditionally begins before breakfast and continues until after dinner), oven-roasted chicken and risotto (at Tante Erika and Uncle Marco's beautiful chalet), and Thai chicken coconut soup (at cousin Kiki and Marco`s wild and crazy tri-level apartment with winding staircase through the center and airplane chairs and food cabinets straight off some SwissAir plane, where Kiki has worked for many years. Shhh, don't tell SwissAir!) Naturally at all the meals there was lots of wine and beer to wash everything down. We were happy.
We did roll away from the dining table long enough to check out the watch museum with Erika`s parents in La Chaux de Fonds, a nearby city which is in the region's "Watch Valley". Many prestigious Swiss watch manufacturers are based in this region and the museum is comprehensive and modern. At those prices Dave will have to wait to add to his Rolex collection.
Overall there didn`t seem to be a whole lot of motivation to take off for campgrounds, grocery store bread and cheese, and long hours on the road since we were being wined and dined--and we were waking up to new snowfall every morning. Luckily it was lots of fun just to hang out with Erika`s folks in the chalet her grandfather built, relaxing and chatting and generally being spoiled. Thanks to all the great people in Switzerland: M & D, Hans-Ueli and Erika, Dany and Janine, Erika and Marco, Kiki and Marcos, Noelle and Yann, Dominique and Gilles, Martin and Valerie and Zoe and Samia, and the two little ones on the way (congratulations K & M and N & Y!!!)
And the snow finally melted... (see Cormoret below:)
Posted by David McMillan at April 21, 2005 04:24 PM GMT
"The calendar is magnificent!"
"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"
Next HU Events
- USA California: Sep 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Germany Autumn: Oct 23-26
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12, 2015
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!
"Inspiring and hilarious!"
"I loved watching this DVD!"
"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
New to Horizons Unlimited?
Membership - help keep us going!
Books & DVDs
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!