Our driver, a jolly man, suggested some of his favorite destinations within driving distance of Geneva, which we decided to go along with because of his expertise. Our first destination was a combination gift shop/cheese factory located in Gruyeres, where we got a first hand view of the aging process for Swiss cheese. Some people also purchased gifts, which ranged from cowbells to Swiss chocolate .
Then, we drove closer to the namesake chateau of the village, which is located on top of one of the many hills in the region. Walking the final part of the way to the chateau, we passed by the Museum HR Giger (named after the Swiss man behind the Alien films) that focuses on surreal and biomedical art and the Alien themed bar that lays opposite the street to the museum.
The chateau, which was home to 19 different Counts of Gruyeres, features turrets and parapets unlike many of the famous, more decorative chateaus of Europe.
While some of us finished up in the castle, others had fun with the snow.
Returning to the bus, some of us played the American card game "Liars Poker" (not for money!) to occupy ourselves as we travelled to our next destination, Chateau de Chillon on Lake Geneva. Others, especially those in the back of the bus, slept instead. The castle was undergoing some external restoration, but the view from the coast of the surrounding Chablais Alps was beautiful.
For lunch, we hopped on the bus to the small town of Montreux for kebabs, pizza, risotto, pasta, and fondue. Once again, the view was gorgeous, but the snow proved to be much more entertaining.
Freddie Mercury, the lead vocalist for Queen, adored the town of Montreux, where he recorded many of his songs between 1979 and 1991. The Freddie Mercury Memorial rock concert takes place every year in Montreux, where a statue to the proclaimed "lover of life"Â stands in homage to his recording career.
After finishing up with lunch, exploring the town, enjoying the waterfront, and "playing" with snow, we reboarded the bus to move on to our final destination, Lausanne and the Musee Olympique. The museum covers the history of the games, but also includes a sculpture of rotating abs (yes, you read that right), a high jump bar displaying the event world record, and a 100m track on which one can race Usain Bolt.
After departing, about 10 of us filled our travel time on the bus by playing the game known as "Werewolf" or "Mafia," which has almost identical rules across the Atlantic (we played with two werewolves, one witch, one cupid, and one fool). Like usual, the students in the back of the bus slept.