Picture: View from the Castle St. Germain in Gruyère, Switzerland.
Switzerland is rightfully famous for chocolates, cheese, castles, cows and watches. Should you be visiting Switzerland one day and want to see all those things in one go, I recommend you visit the canton Fribourg, or more precisely the Chateau Gruyère (or Château St.Germain) as the most impressive castle in the canton of Fribourg. The castle is 45 minutes away from Lausanne by car and is surrounded by snow-covered mountains, lush green pastures with its traditional black-and-white cows. The medieval castle not only features one museum but three. Worth a visit is the unique H.R. Giger museum. Mr. Giger, a Swiss artist, created the Alien monster and got the Oscar for it in 1980. The museum is housed in a labyrinthian house in the castle. The museum features also a cafe in the signature Giger-look. Next to the Giger museum is the Tibet Museum of the foundation Alain Bordier with a magnificent collection of Asian buddhas. He has been collecting them over thirty years and is housing the Buddhas in a small and beautifully lit former chapel. About five minutes away from the castle you can find a cheese factory where visitors learn how to make the traditional Gruyère cheese (La Maison du Gruyère). The cheese can also be bought in the castle and should you fancy fondue or raclette, several restaurants will kindly oblige you. About 10 minutes away from the castle, in Broc, there is another tourist attraction: the chocolate factory by Cailler, a Nestlé company. The factory offers tours of the factory and yes, you can try lots of chocolates! Should you still have some energy left for sightseeing, you should hop in your car and drive one hour to Neuchâtel or Bienne, two watch-making cities. Fribourg is really worth a visit should you wish to gulp up Switzerland in one or two days.
PS: I recommend you stay for 100 CHF a night in a one-room B&B in the Gruyère Castle. It hardly gets any more romantic! Here is their address: B&B de la Cité Comtale, Nicole & Stéphane, firstname.lastname@example.org, +41 26 921 11 10.
Picture: The Tibet Museum in the Castle St.Germain and the Cailler choclate factory in Gruyère.