Date: Thursday, June 19, 2014
Time: 8:55 pm local time/2:55 pm EST
Place: Bern, Switzerland
I know the title is a little facetious, though at this point it really seems as if I have walked that far. My feet hurt and there’s nothing more that I want to do than to get in bed. That will come in a few minutes.
Dad dropped me off at the airport yesterday at about noon, after we had some trouble finding the right place. We eventually got there and I went in and got registered. I ended up checking Dr. Laughlin’s bag (which was housing unexpected liquids and my peanut butter). We (Kaiti, Dr. Laughlin, Mrs. Goddard, and I) quickly made it through security and settled in at our gate (E-18).
A few hours later we got on the plane (about 4:30) and were soon airborne! The flight was just over nine hours long, and it was quite miserable. I tried to fall asleep, but by the time I got tired enough to fall asleep, I got to fight with restless leg syndrome. I think I finally got about an hour of sleep.
We got off the airport and went through customs, where I had no problems getting into the country. From the airport we walked a few blocks to the train station, where we were given our Eurorail passes. These passes are as important as our passports, so we were threatened not to lose them.
We rode the train from the Zurich airport to the Zurich Hauptbahnhoff (train station, pronounced hopped-bon-hoff). We killed time there for a while, which included taking a walk down the Bahnhoffstrasse (or something like that) to the river, then walking around the other way. There is a piece of modern art hanging in the Hauptbahnhoff which I immediately christened the Winged Hippie (based on the statue called the Winged Victory).
On our walk around Zurich we were shown the towers of the Grossmüster Cathedral, the church from which Huldrych Zwingli started the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland (in around 1523).
We returned to the Hauptbahnhoff and had a little bit of time to kill before taking the 13:32 (1:32 pm) train from Zurich to Bern. In the meantime I needed to be alone, so I went into the station’s chapel and dozed. From there I was told about a waiting room which was supposed to be more comfortable. I went there and dozed a little while longer.
The trip from Zurich to Bern is about an hour, and it was quite a nice little ride. We ride second class, but that’s still got plenty of room and a bathroom, so we’re all set.
We arrived in Bern about 2:30 and made our way the few blocks to our hotel. We checked in, and went up to our rooms. I’m sharing a room with three other guys (Joel, who I knew about in advance, and then two other people (both animation majors) who I can’t remember their name. When Joel and I went up to the room, there were two twin beds in the room, pushed almost together, making something the size of a King. Joel and I were slightly alarmed, as we couldn’t figure out how to fit four people into one bed. Luckily, our room is a suite and there was another room with two more beds.
We showered, and were back out to explore the city on our own by about 4 o’clock. Dr. Wohlers split us up into four groups, mine consists of both Laughlins, Joel, Kathy Goddard, and, once she joins us, Lisa Diller. It will be lots of fun and we’ll do lots of fun things.
We started out just by walking around. We found a park, and decided to sing. Then we decided to sing in every park we encounter on this trip. We sang Be Still My Soul (which stunk, but maybe we’ll have better luck next time).
We were hungry by this point, so we decided to go find something to eat. Joel had mentioned Indian food, but we couldn’t find the restaurant. Then we were going to eat Lebanese, but it wasn’t open in time. We finally decided on a place called Tibits, which is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant which was actually quite good.
We were told about a funicular (like the incline railway) and so we walked a long ways to try to find it. We had been given a special card by our hotel which allows us to use the busses and trams for free. We found the funicular and rode it down, but it wasn’t very long, or breathtaking. People took it like they took a normal bus.
After find and taking the funicular, we found ourselves looking for ring where they used to have bear fights. We spent about 3 hours hunting for it, in doing so we saw a lot of the city. We found our way to another park/beach/pool area and walked around for a little while. We walked by the river, which is quite calm and a beautiful green color. We walked a little further and came to a dam where we stopped to take pictures. Then it started to rain.
We all crawled under a canopy where we chatted and waited for the rain to stop. From there we hiked up a hill (still looking for bears, mind you), but we didn’t find them. We did, however find the art museum. We didn’t go in, but we took a bus from that stop. Unfortunately we didn’t have a very good sense of direction (or got on the wrong train), because it was a couple more hours before we found the bears.
In the meantime, however, we walked through a lot of Bern, saw flying buttresses live and in person, enjoyed clocks, fountains and chiming bells. We stopped at a chocolate shop and bought some chocolate (one which was milk chocolate with M&Ms, and one which was white chocolate raspberry). Out front of the chocolate shop were two girls (late teens or early 20s) who were playing violin (or violin/viola, I couldn’t tell) duets. It was quite nice.
Finally, (and I do mean good grief) we found the bears and took lots of pictures. Then we came home and are in the process of crashing. I’m going to go brush my teeth, then get in bed.
Love to all!
I estimate that I have walked at least 5 miles today. I need to see if I can find a pedometer.
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.