Fall Break

Switzerland Travel Blog

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Solothurn

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 death match.

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 Palace.
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 are 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.
Luczerne
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 quite fiery.  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.
Munchen
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.
Hofbrau House
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.  Four glasses 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.
Dachau
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.

michaelricci says:
Hi Andrew,

Looks like you are having a great time. This will be a time of your life that you will never forget.

Have fun, be safe and I look forward to seeing you next month.
Love,
Uncle Mike
Posted on: Nov 13, 2007
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Solothurn
Solothurn
Penguins in the Ice Palace
Penguins in the Ice Palace
Me in the snow
Me in the snow
Luczerne
Luczerne
Munchen
Munchen
Hofbrau House
Hofbrau House
Dachau
Dachau
Swans in Luczerne
Swans in Luczerne
Alps in the background
Alps in the background
The time in Solothurn
The time in Solothurn
Fenceposts in Dachau
Fenceposts in Dachau
Train Station outside of the camp
Train Station outside of the camp
Ice Palace
Ice Palace
Eskimos
Eskimos
View from the Top of Europe
View from the Top of Europe
It was pretty high
It was pretty high
Lit up River
Lit up River
Top of Solothurn
Top of Solothurn
Changing seasons
Changing seasons
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