Date: June 22, 2014
Time: 8:10 am local time/2:10 am
Place: Train between Bern and Brig, Switzerland
Good morning folks (and happy birthday, Dad)!
Sorry I didn’t write last night. We got back to our hotel about 8:30 or so, and I planned to just write my blog post and go to bed. Then a knock came at my door and Dr. Laughlin taid she had made our group reservations at a restaurant that sold Apfelstrudel. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The day started at about six when I woke up. I went down to breakfast at about 6 o’clock, then we went back to the park by the Parliament building for a brief worship service. Dr. Wohler’s verse for the day was Psalm 121: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills. From whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
The people in charge of worship that morning had us sing praise songs, which were some of my favorites, but we didn’t sing them very well. I don’t feel like I know the songs well enough to help lead them, and we kept putting them in bad keys. We’ll have to work on that in the future.
After the service, Dr. Laughlin, Kaiti, and I sang out of the hymnal for a few minutes. It was so much fun to sing with them. That was the Sabbath-highlight of the day for me, I think.
We walked over to the train station to take a train to Interlaken Ost (about an hour away) where we met our connection to Luzerne (which was two hours further). The first train was extremely full, so my small group kept walking through the train. Eventually a conductor just sent us to first class! (We’ve been riding in second class, which is already nicer than the airplane economy class).
When we got to the second train we were all grouped into one car, and some of our (South American heritaged) girls were so loud and brass. It drained me of most of my saved up introvertism. I put on the 101 Strings Hymn CD and enjoyed listening to the hymns while we passed gorgeous scenery. I felt like I was in one of Grandpa’s travelogues of New England.
We got to Lucerne about 11:30 or so and then went hunting for some lunch. After we ate we went to a gondola (think Gatlinburg mountains) ride which ended up taking us up 7000 feet to the top of the “Pilatus.” We went around a corner and it looked like we had dropped off a cliff. It was terrifying, but absolutely beautiful. We even got to pass through (through!) a cloud. So amazing!
The mountain is called the Pilatus because in Medieval times they locals believed that there were ghosts living on the chasms of the mountain. One of those ghosts was supposed to be Pontius Pilate.
When we got up to the top of the mountain, I was refreshed at the temperature. It was nice and cool, but not especially cold. I went out onto the observation deck for a few minutes, but between the crowd of people and the thin air I got nervous and slightly paranoid. So I went inside and sat down. It was absolutely beautiful.
There were gymnasts and their equipment up on the observation deck. After I went downstairs they broke a world record. They were the first to do gymnastics at 7,000 feet.
On the way back down the mountain we took a cog-wheel train instead of a gondola. It took about 40 minutes to get down. We saw people hiking up the mountain, cows with bells around their necks, and I’m pretty sure I also saw some Edelweiss. What I didn’t see were any goats or goat herds. I was quite disappointed.
We went on a boat ride from the end of the cog-wheel train to the Lucerne Bahnhoff. We were on Lake Lucerne, which is very significant in musical history. Beethoven’s piano sonata no. 14 in c-sharp minor, op. 27 no. 2 was given its nickname, the Moonlight sonata, by Ludwig Rellstab, who believed that the broken chords of the first movement sounded like what the moonlight looked like on the waves on Lake Lucerne.
After our boat ride we walked through part of Lucerne—specifically over a covered bridge which was first built in the 1500s or 1600s. It has burned several times, including in the last few years.
We took a one hour train ride back to Bern (why did we take a total of three hours in the morning if we could get there that quickly? Answer me that.), then we got back to the hotel. I cleaned up a little bit, then called mom. After I got off the phone, Dr. Laughlin knocked on the door and said she had made us reservations for Apfelstrudel over by the bear pit (which we had a hard time finding Thursday evening).
We got ready to depart and hopped on a bus. We almost got on the wrong bus, but Mrs. Goddard spoke up and made us get on the right one. Had we gotten on the wrong bus we would have had great and glorious misadventures looking for the right place. On the train we discussed how strange our group is because we have at least four strong leaders, and I am one who is a leader, but they know more than I, so I defer to them.
We ordered our Apfelstrudel and spent a lot of time chatting and laughing. We are such a strange bunch, but all our personalities mesh really well. We are efficient, but still have a lot of fun. The Apfelstrudel arrived, and it was so amazing! It hit the spot absolutely.
We made our way back to the hotel, then I finished packing and went to bed. I’m not going to go into what has happened this morning, because it will make more sense to put it in the post about today.
Love to all!
PS, I think I walked about 4 miles yesterday.
I'm a Classical musician, a growing Christian, and a world traveler. I'm learning, exploring, and trying to understand this wonderful world I live in.