Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And We're Off to the Alps

After a couple of days in Munich, we headed Southwest toward Switzerland. Beep found this wonderful design museum just outside of Basel, Switzerland in Weil am Rhein, Germany. The Vitra Design Museum really was a highlight for two reasons. First, the buildings and displays were fantastic. I loved the way they created rooms to show the furniture and other things.
At every turn, I felt like there was something new and interesting to see.
Second, because of the amazing weather that day, the views from the museum windows were some of the best I've seen. Like Beep, I was interested in finding something in the museum shop to take home. Alas, everything was far beyond my means, so I didn't buy anything there.
From Weil am Rhein, we continued South into Switzerland and to Bern. We had a lovely, centrally located hotel in the city and we were able to go explore a little our first evening there. We had dinner at an outdoor cafe, where we were reminded how very many people in Europe smoke. It was anything but delightful when our waiter sat at the next table over from us smoking.The next day, we headed out to Zollikofen, just outside of Bern, and visited the temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There was a little stress in finding the temple because the street it was on is a private street and didn't show up on the GPS. This turned into another "opportunity" for me to practice my German as I had to ask for directions from someone I stopped on the street. Fun times! Once we were there, though, it was wonderful. All the people were so nice and I got to see a couple that lived across the hall from me when I was a missionary there.After we got back to Bern, we did a bit of a walking tour of the city. We visited a beautiful church. I loved the decoration on the doors.
We also went to the bear pits that didn't have the bears in them. The pit was being cleaned, so the bears were in another more open area next to the river. It looked like fun for the bears, so we didn't mind too much.We also saw the Bern landmark, the Zytglogge.Then we went to the botanical gardens. It was interesting, but somewhere along the day I had twisted my knee and it hurt really bad, so I wasn't too interested in climbing the hills of the garden. Everyone else saw a lot more interesting things than I did, but that's the breaks. The good news was that the hurt knee went away the same way is showed up -- mysteriously and for no reason.The next day, we headed out of town to the Berner Oberland. This is perhaps some of the most beautiful land on earth. We went to Interlaken where we looked around a bit, then headed for the mountains.
We got on one gondola that took us up, up, up. That took us to a train that wound us around the mountain and up some more.Then we had to walk through one of the cutest towns ever to get to another gondola. It was fun to pass a group that looked like an alphorn band, but they were all Chinese.
Then we rode our second gondola and then a third one to get to the top of Shilthorn, featured in the movie On Her Majesties' Secret Service. Fortunately, we didn't really get our Bond on. That would have been a little much, especially as thin as the air was up there.
From there, we headed down the mountain and on to Luzern. Again, we had a perfectly located hotel. It was right on the river, just a quick walk to the middle of town. This was the one place that I think we didn't stay long enough in. It felt rushed to see the sights of the lovely town before we had to move on.We did enjoy the farmers market, especially the bread and produce.And we went to see the Luzern Lion Monument.
From there, we had a whirlwind trip to the tree museum. It was hard to find, but well worth it once we found the right place.The outdoor garden displays were so unique and beautiful.And that's where the Swiss portion of our tour ended.

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