Apr 18, 2013

Today I said goodbye to France and hello to Switzerland.

Having a flight at 1pm was nice because it allowed me to wake up (relatively) late, pack at a leisurely pace and go out and get some breakfast.

I walked into a different part of the neighborhood and came upon the perfect breakfast: a combo of quiche, crepe and choice of drink (orange juice).

I took my breakfast to go and went to the huge park nearby that I had visited yesterday on the tour.   It was 9am and the park was virtually deserted.   Kind of nice.   It was another beautiful day and I sat on the park bench slowly eating my breakfast.

A nice way to end my time in Bordeaux.

My flight from Bordeaux actually landed in Geneva and I had planned on staying there for two days and then Milan for two more days before my scheduled flight to Malta.

That was the plan.   And then the universe interceded…

When I went to book a hostel for Geneva I soon found that none were available for those days.   I had to readjust so I decided I would take a train from the airport to Bern instead.

I also found out that the people I had planned to visit in Milan over the weekend wouldn’t be there as they were travelling on their own.   From what everyone has told me Milan isn’t really worth a visit and since my reason to visit was no more I decided I would stay in Bern for 2 extra days.

So there we have it – 4 days in Bern that never should have been.

I am a huge believer in the adage “things happen for a reason” and there MUST be a reason the universe has brought me to Bern for 4 days and I’m pretty excited to find out what that is.

I got into Bern in the late afternoon.   It was beautiful out and although I had directions to get to the hostel by bus I decided I would walk through the town to get there instead.   I wanted to take in the nice weather because I know it’s supposed to rain the next few days here.   The walk took about a half hour and near the end, after walking over a bridge, I came upon the famed Bärenpark.

The Bärenpark is a bear pit that houses live bears.   The city of Bern is actually bear crazy as history says the name Bern comes from “bear” which was the first animal the founder killed and throughout the city you will find bears to remind you of that fact.

Once again the hostel I’m staying at is actually a modified hotel and it seems I will be on my own again for this part of the trip.

After settling in I went out to find some dinner.   As I glanced at menu after menu something became glaringly obvious – everyone speaks German here and I wasn’t prepared for that.

Usually when I go to a new country I create a little cheat sheet of common phrases in the native language.   I didn’t do that here because for some reason I just assumed they spoke French here.   So here I was trying in vain to read German menus and not even being able to say “can you speak English?” in German.

Oh yeah and everything is expensive!

Anyway after walking past restaurant after restaurant I took a side street and came upon a reasonably priced   daily feature menu of a 2 course meal for 25 francs or about 20 euros.   After seeing entrees in the other places for 34 francs I knew this would be the place.

And the waitress spoke English.   Thank God!

I had a nice hearty onion soup followed by a bratwurst with rotti potatoes in a nice marsala sauce.   I also had a couple of glasses of smooth white wine and finished it off with a huge portion of tiramisu.

I asked her if the feature menu changed daily and she said yes so I think I’ll just go by there every night for dinner.

When I got back to the hostel I decided on three destinations for day trips while I was based here in Bern but I wanted the universe to decide what order I would do them.

I went to Facebook and asked for people to pick either 123, 132, 213, 231, 312 or 321 and whatever the averages were I would go to whichever city the numbers corresponded to.

I had a reply within 5 minutes and that was the only reply I would need.

Dorianne – a girl from the Chicago area I had met in Nice a few days prior – posted 312 which is Chicago’s area code.

I thought it was perfect.   Maybe that was why Dorianne was dropped into my life for that brief time.   Sure, us Vancouverites are supposed to hate Chicago (cough, Stanley Cup, cough) but I had to go with it.

So, tomorrow I’m off to Lucerne and then I’ll go to Fribourg/Lausanne the next day before going to Interlaken on my last day here in Bern.

Let’s see what the universe has in store for me…

Euro Trip 2013, Bern, Switzerland, Trip Journal
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