13 September, Sunday – Fondue and Art
After my climb down the mountain in Zermatt, I took the train to Bern where I met Sibylle at the meeting spot; a blue cube hanging in each station (she looked refreshed and perky while I was sweaty and exhausted). We stayed two nights with her wonderful friends, Eva and Marc, and their cat, Blitz. Sibylle fixed us a delicious goat cheese fondue, a first for all of us, into which I dipped bread and pears. That revived me enough to join everyone for ArtStadt, an annual event. The installations, small and often just one piece, were scattered throughout the downtown, in shops, basements, and apartments giving me the opportunity to see many old and interesting buildings.
14 September, Sunday – Suspension Bridge
The four of us got up early and took a train and then a bus, nicely timed together, up to the mountains for a hike in the Vallis area. We took a cable car to Belap and hiked down 500 meters to Hangerbrucke, a 124 meter suspension bridge just below the retreating foot of the Aletsch Glacier, the largest in Switzerland. The uphill side, to Riederalp, was “only” 400 meters (1300‘).
Back in Bern, Sibylle and I went to the home of another wonderful couple, Martina and Claudio. It was their wedding in the south of Italy that prompted Sibylle and I to meet in Rome. We enjoyed a yummy Italian meal on their glassed-in porch overlooking the Parliament building.
15 September, Monday – Murten and Bern
Sibylle was in Bern to attend a conference so I headed off sightseeing. I first took a short train ride to Murten, a town that takes cuteness to a whole other level. The small old town is overflowing with window boxes and partially surrounded by ramparts. On my ride there and back I continued reading Swiss Watching: Inside the Land of Milk and Money, an entertaining and informative book about the Swiss by Dicon Bewes which I recommend to any considering a visit to this beautiful, clean, and organized country.
I returned to Bern, Switzerland’s fourth largest city, and wandered around the central area. It contains a surprising number of decorative fountains, statues, and hanging signs. I rode another short funicular, came across a market, celebrating cows I think, and saw many bears, the towns namesake. Sibylle and I reconnected at the train station and returned to Zurich; the two cities are only an hour apart and the train was packed with commuters.