We had a week off for fall break and Hank, Steve, and I
decided to go to Switzerland
to visit a friend of Hank's, Michael. After a nice train ride through the Alps,
we arrived in Bern
where Michael was studying. It was his girlfriend's birthday so there was
a surprise party at the local Mexican restaurant and we had a feast.
Still, the closest thing that I have had to Mexican food since I left San Diego. We had an all
you can eat buffet of steak, chicken and shrimp fajitas with all the toppings
and I was stoked. After dinner we all went out to a few of the local bars which
were, for the most part, fully equipped with foosball arenas. Literally, there were caged in tables, like a
Penguins in the Ice Palace
The next morning we were up before the sun in order to go to the
Top of Europe. This is the highest train station in Europe
at around 11,400 feet. Fortunately, one of Michael’s friends, Sarah, was able
to take us up to this place. This made Swiss-German a little easier and the 7
different transfers, that it took to get to this place, that much more
bearable. On our way up to the top, we stopped in this town that had some food
to eat breakfast. We had some sausage and their version of hash browns with
some mustard. Again, this was some of the best food that I have had in Europe
, mostly because it was different than the Italian that
we have been having. Mustard is not easy to find in the boot so this was truly a
delicacy for us. When we finally got to the top we had to visit the main
attraction, the Ice
Me in the snow
In the glacier,
there was carved a catacomb of passageways that connected various ice
sculptures. The walls were ice, the floor was ice, and the ceiling was ice. After
a lot of fun sliding on the floor and freezing to death we made out way outside
to see the view and to freeze again. By the way, the taste buds of people from Switzerland
for a dirty version of Heineken. A very difficult drink to say the least, so,
by the time that we made it outside we were drinking hot cocoa. The view was
beautiful and well worth the trip, especially from the observatory that was at
11,700 feet. We had to take a very fast elevator to get there that went up to this
point in no time at all. After snapping a few pictures we were all very cold,
sleep deprived, and ready to get back to Michael’s house. After 7 more train
transfers, we were back in Bern
and ready to go
to Michael’s parent’s house where we would be spending the rest of our time in Switzerland
They lived in the region of Solothurn
. Michael’s dad was a general practitioner
who worked out of the office on the side of the house. They also had a chicken
coup so that they would have fresh eggs every day for breakfast. That night
Michael’s mom made us the traditional cheese fondue. It was scrumptious.
Michael’s dad loved to put this cherry liquor in the cheese to give it that
little extra kick, it was good. However, he also dipped the bread in the liquor
and then put it in the cheese which put the three of us flat on our backs. It was
After a good nights sleep
we were ready to tackle Solothurn. We took the two seat chairlift up to the Top
of Solothurn. And yeah there is a Top of almost every city which basically
gives you a vista of that city. This was no exception.
Solothurn is the only
true plane in the country that is protruding with mountains. There is a river
that cuts through the plane and then the Alps
are in the background. On a day like the one we went up on. The light was
hitting the water of the river and the two lakes that they originate from and
making them gleam just that much more. It was an amazing view. Another thing to
mention here is that there are changing seasons so the trees are starting to
turn all kinds of colors. Being form southern California
, this was quite different for me.
All in all this was an amazingly beautiful country with all kinds of
interesting facets and nuances that made this experience quite unique.
The following day we made out way to Luzerne. We
didn’t stay too long here but walking across one of the oldest bridges in Europe
and exploring their shopping district was quite nice.
The architecture was cool and made the whole experience that much more
enjoyable. The next day we decided to go to Germany
to make our own Oktoberfest.
We arrived a little late and only had enough time to go to the Hofbrau House.
This turned into everything Oktoberfest should be, with litter beers and Pretzel
Wenches, we had our fun.
and a meal latter we meandered out of the historic brewery and explored the
streets of Munchen. After some general debauchery we called it a night and
prepared to wake up early to get a full taste of the city. Our first stop was Dachau
. This was a great
historical site to visit. We did the audio tour and watched the movie that was
presented in the museum. They were very informative of the atrocities that had occurred
in the camp.
We made our way back to Munich
and walked around the pedestrian streets. Kind of like the 3rd street
promenade. I got my
steins and have had a smile on my face ever since. I have yet to drink out of
them but will very soon. Finally we hopped on our night train and made our way
back to Florence
Fortunately we had our own car and after a 9 hour rider we were back home. All
in all a fun fall break.