Thursday, January 07, 1999

We don't need no water, let the Swiss capital Bern!

Paris, France
Woke up at 5:45 am, got ready, snuck in breakfast and walked 8 minutes to Gare de Lyon. I'm taking a TGV (fast train) from Paris to Lausanne (Western Switzerland) and passing through Dijon, Dole, Mouchard, Frasne, and Vallorbe. I'll switch there and get on a train to Bern.
Santa takes the train to let his reindeer rest
The train went through a tunnel with a banked turn in it. It was weird how the lights on one side were above the window, and below it on the other side. It's 8:08 am, and the clouds are just now turning red in the rising sun. Which is no longer visible due to the fog we just entered. Dijon-totally fogged in. The trees are like shadows on the white background. It cleared up sometime while I napped. There was a passport check, and now there is frost and snow outside. A ticket check, by the chief of the train. I stepped out for a bit in Lausanne, just your average quaint Swiss town. Foggy though.

I'm waiting for the 1202 to Bern. It's much colder here than Paris. I'd guess mid 30's. I'm now on the train to Bern and it's different than the TGV for a few reasons: 1) many more face to face chairs. 2) the car is divided into smoking and non-smoking by a glass door. I sat in the smoking section by accident, but was too lazy to move. I also can't nap this time as the train doesn't terminate in Bern. The ticket checker had green bangs. The fog is so thick here I can only see thirty to forty feet past the window. It seems all railways are plagued by graffiti, but Switzerland has very skillful ones (I saw Einstein on a bunker!). Fog's gone, not a cloud in the sky.

Bern, Switzerland
At Bern, it took me a few minutes to get my bearings. I dropped my stuff off at the hostel, and went to check on my ticket for tomorrow. Turns out, all I need is the Europass and I'm golden. So I toured Bern. One main street is a mall, but in a setting that preserves the medieval feel of the town. Cobblestone streets, with an occasional statue right in the middle.


A few nice churches and clocks. The bear pits had two big bears just sitting there eating the stuff people threw to them.

The Aare river is quite tranquil. Right now (16:30) I'm waiting for the reception to open. The hostel's much better than the one in Paris. There are 8 bunks, but only 3 people (so far). I finally got to change into some clean clothes.

For dinner, I went to a small bar/grill and ordered veal and Gurten, a beer. Mutze Bugler 50 cl, 5% alc. vol. So I watch countless women walk into the back of the restaurant (they're all around 40-50). Then two come back out and discuss with the waitress about tables or something. Then the women pour out of the back and fill up the seats behind me. My meal consists of fajita-sized strips of veal in mushroom sauce, with hashbrowns (more or less). It's good. Restaurant Zum Untern Juker (Einstein Haus), if you're curious. Went to sleep around 9pm.
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