Give me a good sharp knife and a good sharp cheese and I’m a happy man.
- George R.R. Martin
Splendid cheeses they were, ripe and mellow, and with a two hundred horse-power scent about them that might have been warranted to carry three miles, and knock a man over at two hundred yards.People who nourish an insatiable curiosity for anything related to food or culture rarely get bored when they are on holiday (or not, to that matter). Whether they are visiting a bustling city or the smallest of hamlets in the middle of nowhere, you can be sure that they'll never be indifferent to their surroundings as their hunger to learn and discover something new is immeasurable.
- Jerome K. Jerome, 'Three Men in a Boat' (1889)
Like all naturally inquisitive individuals who cannot envisage living a life without passion, I am broad-minded and tend to find interest in everything. Even the most seemingly meaningless details titillate my everlastingly active intellect as well as my emotions, hence p assive tourism is not my cup of tea. I mean, adventures are here to open our eyes, aren't they? So, what's the point in travelling if you don't want to interact with folks, uncover unknown horizons or impregnate yourself with other cultures?!?
During my vacation in Zelg (Bernese Oberland), not one minute passed without me raving about the grandiose beauty of the mountains that surrounded us, the cuteness of the farm animals we encountered, the majestic and imposing heritage chalets we stumbled upon as well as the delightful regional delicacies which we got to taste.
And speaking about food, and especially about cheese, we were spoilt for choice. Lenk alone, with its 2'319 inhabitants, has two great dairy stores chock-a-block full with wonderful specialities produced by the local farmers. And if it was already not enough, in addition to those two marvelous "Molkereien" (milk shops), you even have the possibility of buying gourmet cheeses ("Käse" in German or "Chäas" in Swiss German) and dried sausages ("Wurst" in German or "Wurscht" in Swiss German) from the countless fridges you'll come across while hiking in the valleys or around the remote peaks - perfect picnic items for walkers in need of boosting their energy levels.
Being used to the uncivilized and sometimes criminal manners of a certain fringe of citizens populating the town of Geneva, I was really suprised to bump into unsupervised self-service refrigerators filled with valuable alpine products. Quite an odd sight if you ask me!
Furthermore, a majority of the coolers have a locked honesty till nearby where you drop the money for the goods you choose and, as incredible as it sounds, some have a second box, packed with notes and coins, in case you need change. Typical of rural and old-fashioned areas of Switzerland - this wouldn't work in big metropolitan places as there would be a lot of stealing going on!
As you can imagine, every time I passed one of those cold storages I had to open it and check its contents. Of course, I did not only contemplate what graced the shelves of those "treasure chests", but also purchased a few goodies for eating immediately and bringing back home (just before leaving, we purchased about 4 kilos of the finest "Alpkäse" - call me crazy, but I just love the stuff!!!) .