For our last full day in Switzerland, V took the day off and we spent 11 hours touring the Swiss countryside and hopping from train to train from Lausanne to Murten to Avenches to Bern and back.
Up and at ’em, we headed to Murten first since I was very excited V hadn’t been there before either so we could explore it together. We made a beeline up to the ramparts of the town wall and enjoyed amazing views and imaging what it would be like to fend off attackers to protect our little town. Built primarily within the walls, the town was picturesque with gorgeous public water fountains, cobbled streets, and a few front doors that I was so enchanted by I thought about making them my own.
We checked out the clock town, a statue of Adrian von Bubenberg, and window shopped before picking a little pizza place to sit down for lunch. We each had a pizza and sampled the local wine produced from grapes grown on nearby Mont Vully. I was a fan.
Then off we went to Avenches (pronounced avon-ch) to check out the BEST Roman ruins in Switzerland; note lesson learned. We briefly explored the ancient amphitheater that was under construction to prepare it to be a venue for a summer concert series. The drilling and hammering didn’t exactly allow for the quiet contemplation ruins I had hoped for, but I saw a few photos of what the venue looked like at night, and decided it was cool that they still used this space so many centuries after it was built for the same purpose.
Next we traveled to Bern, the capital of Switzerland. Since it was nearly 3 pm when we arrived, we made a beeline to the three sites I really wanted to see: 1) Einstein’s apartment 2) Bern Cathedral and 3) the bear pits. But of course, we found the time to stop and sample a buttered pretzel at V’s recommendation that was absolutely delicious.
Our first site in Bern was Einstein’s apartment because I am a nerd. He lived in Bern for eight years in the early 1900s and while he was working as a patent clerk, made some of his most stunning scientific breakthroughs, including his formative work on the theory of relativity. Such a humble home for such a great mind; it had just one room. In addition to touring his apartment, there was an informative little museum that was just big enough to feel like I learned something, and small enough I wasn’t overwhelmed.
Next we checked out the dramatic Bern Cathedral. It’s so tall I couldn’t even get far enough back to get the whole facade in my picture! Since it was late afternoon we virtually had the whole square to ourselves and spent a few minutes catching our breath. We strolled down one of the many covered walkways channeling Einstein (walking in the rain without getting wet on these paths was something he liked about Bern) and wouldn’t you know it found MY apartment, or at least my Swiss self’s apartment.
Our last stop was at the Bern bear pits, as the bear is the patron…animal of Bern. We saw the concrete pits that they used to live in, and had to agree their new digs right on the river were quite the upgrade. We spent more time than I expected just relaxing and watching Mama Bear and her two cubs run around, and then I took a quick dip (only my hands!) in the Aare River. No swimming yet! Brr!
Finally we caught a train home, did our usual stop at the Co-op, then threw in a load of laundry and packed up to head out the Italy the next morning.
We were so grateful to have had such great hosts, and I really enjoyed spending time with V and Mark whether just hanging out or exploring new sights.
Savvy Moment: Having a French-speaking, internet-access-on-her-cell-phone-to-look-up-train-schedules travel partner.
Lesson Learned: Even if it is the BEST of something in one country, it may not be worth a trip if the country isn’t known for it. Now that I think about it, Roman ruins in Switzerland? Yep, probably should have held out for Italy. 🙂