Day 6
Monday
June 5, 2000

 

We left the apartment about 8:15 AM. After climbing up the hill we stopped at the information center to check for e-mail messages.

Today we accompanied other Untour folks from the Oberland area on an incredible jaunt to visit a cheese making family. We caught the 9:10 AM train to Reichenbach where we boarded a small bus that would take us to the tiny village of Griesalp. It took an amazing bus ride up, up, up while trying to trust the bus driver to safely navigate the steep, curvy, narrow road. We tried to not look down over the edge of the road. It was a long way down in places.

As the bus approached each sharp curve the driver would blow a musical horn to warn any traffic coming the opposite way. Only a few places along the road was wide enough for two vehicles to pass.

A short walk from where the bus dropped us off got us to the cheese-maker's house. The morning milk supply from 20 cows is placed in a large copper kettle which is then placed over a fire. Once the right temperature is reached the kettle is swung away from the flames. We arrived just after the kettle had been removed from the fire. Smoke particles were still floating in the air when we first entered the cheese-making room.

The farmer's wife is the cheese-maker here. She scooped the curds into a round container. A plastic dish was placed on top of the curds and a heavy stone was then used to weigh down the plate and compress the cheese. After 24 hours the cheese "wheels" are placed in brine for awhile, then placed on shelves to age properly.

Once all of the curds have been scooped from the kettle the remaining liquid is used to made butter or is fed to the pigs.

After the cheese-making demo we took a 45-minute hike back to the restaurant where the bus had dropped us. Here we had an excellent lunch (about $12.50 each) before another 45-minute walk down to Tschingel where the bus picked us up to take us back to the Reichenbach train station for our train ride back to Spiez. On the way to Reichenbach we stopped in Kiental to visit a bakery and wander around the village.

Our two hikes were not walks in the garden. We went up and we went down. Sometimes the ups and downs were quite steep. There were lots of wild flowers. The snow covered mountains soared above us. Waterfalls were everywhere. The sound and sight of rushing water was constant.

We paused at the foot of one very impressive waterfall. But not for long lest we get very wet. Actually it was more of a cascade than a fall. That made it even more impressive.