Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Part Three: Bern, Switzerland!

Our train ride to Bern took about six hours, with one switch between trains. Train travel is really the way to go, if traveling with a toddler. You can get up and walk the train, for one, but the best part is that you have a few options. You can ride in a main car or you can ride in a small room, with a table and a door that closes. This room often has to be shared with others, but it's nice to be able to contain a toddler! Coming into Switzerland we had an entire room to ourselves. Woo!

The main goal of our visit to Switzerland was to visit with our Swiss family and see Breitacker, the beautiful farm my great aunt lives on. There were a few wonderful additions to our time there, though!!

As soon as we arrived in Bern, we were greeted by my friend, Eva!! She was a German exchange student in my high school during my senior year. We played soccer together and did almost everything together that year. She's now living in Bern and working as a physical therapist, when she's not having amazing adventures around the world!!

Also meeting us at the train station was my sister and her boyfriend!!!! Phoebe came running up to us next and it was so good to see her! We hadn't seen them since September, since they are living in France and teaching English to French students. The plan was to meet them in Switzerland to see the rest of our family. I am so grateful that this came to fruition!!

After hugs and catching up, we dropped our bags at Eva's office and then she took us on a quick tour of the city of Bern! 

She first took us to a beautiful view of the Alps! We were all so excited that the day was clear, sunny, and perfect for gazing at these beautiful mountains! Eva said that we were very fortunate with the weather. Based on the weather we'd had the week before, all of us were ecstatic to be able to view the Alps with such clarity.

Imagine this being your view. It's straight out of the fairy tales.

Eva & Me
Sisters, Sisters 

 I loved this group of men playing chess with GIANT pieces.

We came across these neat vehicles. The first is a twike, which can be powered by pedaling, and the second is a Smart car designed for just one person.

 Bern is such a beautiful city. The cobblestone streets stretch throughout the main street area. You can walk the entire street under the protection of the canopy, which must be lovely on rainy days. It's so picturesque.

Bern Bear
The Aare River adjoins the city and the water is a beautiful, turquoise color. All of the glacial melt makes it look almost tropical, however it's quite chilly!

These chimneys caught my fancy.

 We crossed the bridge, passed where they keep the bears (who weren't there), and walked up this hill for a view of the city from above.
 What a beautiful spot. A beautiful city.

 And Ian slept right through it all.

As I mentioned before, it was a quick tour of Bern. We had family waiting on us and so we booked it quickly around the town. Back down the hill, across the bridge... 

 This bike was quite interesting, with a huge luggage area.

The iconic Zytglogge clock tower in Bern. It was built in 1405 and has mechanical moving figures on the hour and an astronomical clock. It's one of the top ten clock towers to see in the world!

And that wraps up our time in Bern! What a beautiful city. We wished we had more time to explore and spend with Eva. We were so grateful to have had the time we did, but Aunt Lizzy was expecting us for dinner and we couldn't wait to see her either!

Thank you SO much for your wonderful generosity, Eva! She took off work, helped to make plans, gave us cake, let Phoebe & James spend the night so they could make an early train on their last night (!!!), and gave us the tour of the city! We really appreciated all of your kindness, Eva. Thank you from all of us. Though quick, it was great to see you and catch up in person!

I wonder where we'll meet again next time... it's exciting to think about.

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