In the morning we once again took an early tram to the train station. This time we boarded the train by ourselves and rode to Bern. As soon as we got off, we were greeted by Reto, “You must be the Daleys!” Reto is a programmer that Jon met through the LifeType project. He lives in Bern and this is the first time we met him face to face.

He gave us some little cakes in the shape of bears; the bear is the symbol of the city of Bern. We ate them as we walked along the city streets. He showed us the Parliament House (Bern is the capital of Switzerland) and we walked across a bridge over the Aare River to see the fancy side of the building. There had been an ice storm and all the trees were beautifully covered. Jonathan and Noah threw ice/snow balls into the river.

We visited the Historiches Museum Bern, which had more armor and weapons. It also had an exhibit about Einstein which looked very interesting except that I did not get to see very much of it because of diaper changes. The stairway to the exhibit was really neat. There were mirrors on all sides, which made it rather disorienting to walk up or down. Noah's solution was to sit down on the steps and slowly slide down one step at a time. He was happy to hold a hand on that stairway.

We planned on doing lunch the same way we did in Zurich, so we stopped by a Migros for food. This was the biggest grocery store we'd been in yet and I actually got lost, using the cash registers at the opposite end of the store from where I came in, and coming out on another street. We all found each other in the end, but had to run to catch our train.

We took our lunch train to the beautiful little alpine village of Erlenbach. The walk from the train station to the gondola station took us past historical log houses with Swiss decorations adorning them. We made it just in time to take the stunning ride up through the air. There is a transfer station where hikers, skiiers, sledders, and fishers can start enjoying their ground activities. But we took the next gondola up to the top of Stockhorn.

Though it was cloudy in Bern, it was clear on Stockhorn. The sun made the temperature pleasant (still with coats on, though.) Ah! I tried explaining a bit of my thoughts as I viewed from Rigi. I don't think I can do justice to it here, but I'll only say everywhere I looked, I enjoyed it thoroughly. They have carved a tunnel through the mountain that you can walk through to see the view on the other side. We finished our lunch sitting there admiring.

After that came our most perilous adventure of our Switzerland visit. The station, restaurant, and tunnel are not quite at the summit of the mountain. There is a path (labeled an 8 mintue hike) that you can follow to the very top. In the summer, there are logs across the path to form stairs in the steepest parts. But we were there in winter, and there was at least eight inches of snow over the path. In the middle, the snow had been packed down and smoothed out by other hikers and it was slippery to my worn down sneaker soles. I found that I could manage by stepping on the edge in someone else's footprints.

Reto and Jonathan went up together, and Jon (with Faith blissfully asleep in the sling) helped Noah. At the top there were railings and fences to hold on to and the view was 360 spectactular. We even watched a pair of birds flying below us. Reto got some pictures for us since we had once again left our camera behind (this time we had meant to bring it.)

Then it was time for the hardest part. The part where you can see that if you slip in a particular way, you're heading down 1000 meters of slippery slope. I half crouch-walked, half slid on my bottom, praying for the safety of us all. Jonathan and Reto practically ran down, laughing all the way. Ah, the fearlessness of youth! (And I'm very thankful for Reto's strong steady hand.) Noah was much more aware of his danger, but Jon's strong steady hand brought him safely down as well.

Jon's back was sore from carrying two kids up and down, so I took Faith inside to nurse her while they hung around out on the deck. Then they got hot chocolate and I joined them when Faith was done. The ride down was just as beautiful as the ride up. Our walk back to the station was a bit different, however, when all of a sudden Noah tripped. He was falling asleep while walking! Jon carried him for a while, but got tired soon because he also had Faith. So I took Noah on piggyback. However, he was soon so asleep that he was falling off my back. I finished the journey holding him frontways and was happy to get to the chairs at the station.

There we met some Japanese tourists who fell in love with the boys and got their picture taken with them.

Our train went all the way back to Basel, so we said thanks and farewell to Reto at the Bern station. At our destination we used the 2 Frank bathroom and it was worth it. I think it was this day that we saw a Fastnacht band at the tram station. They were dressed up and had their instruments out in the cold. But they did not play there.

Posted by Heather Daley on January 17, 2009, 5:57 pm | Read 5183 times
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