October 24, 2007

10/24/07 Adelboden Switzerland

Daniel and Ariane have been so kind to take the whole week off to show me around. But today we thought I'd give them both a break and spend the day with Thomas. He is a high school biology teacher but has the day off so he offered to take me on a tour of Lucerne. One thing I didn't know about Thomas is that he is visually impaired, so he rides the bus and train for free and can take one person also for free to help him, not that he needs it. Daniel and Ariane had thought they could come too but the cost of tickets for the whole family would have been a little too much.

When I got to Thomas's, he was still getting ready. But to speed things up, he asked if I could feed Hannah her bottle. I must be getting better at this 'kid' thing because she was very content to take the bottle while in my arms. We bundled up because it was still pretty cold. Here is where I see differences in our cultures. For Hannah in her stroller, they have down sleeping bags that fit inside the stroller. I doubt if anyone in the US would take a child out in the cold but here it's normal. So, it was a quick bus ride to the train station and we hopped onto the train headed for Lucerne.

"Since the city straddles the Reuss River where it drains into Lake Lucerne, it has a number of bridges. The most famous is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbr├╝cke), a 204 m (670 ft) long wooden bridge originally built in 1333, although much of it had to be replaced after a 1993 fire. Partway across, the bridge runs by the octagonal Water Tower (Wasserturm), a fortification from the 13th century (now a gift shop). Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Luzern's history. The Bridge with its Tower is the city's most famous landmark." from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia

Chapel Bridge

I just liked the view of the hotels along the waterfront

Thomas, Hannah and I headed up to the tower wall that rose above the city. Like in a lot of places all over Europe (it seems), all the old monuments are being restored. The largest tower had scaffolding surrounding it and it was locked. But we could still go up and walk along the wall fortification. The only problem was the old wooden stairs that were not exactly stroller-friendly. While Hannah and I spent the time looking over the city and lake, Thomas carried the stroller up the steps. We walked along the narrow wall to the clock tower. We left the stroller this time as we climbed up into the clock tower where you could see all the clock mechanism and how it worked. And unfortunately for Thomas, the steps down from the clock tower were even steeper, so while he got the stroller down, I very carefully carried Hannah down the steps.

The view from the clock tower

Hannah isn't so sure about this sight-seeing thing

Even with the chilly temperatures, folks are out
(notice the McDonald's on the right?)

I saw more bikes in Switzerland than anywhere this trip

We spent a lot of the time just walking along the waterfront. It was a peaceful day but still a little cold. I can just imagine how popular this place must be during the warmer summer months. We stopped off for some lunch but Hannah was getting a little tired of all this sight-seeing. So, we headed off for the train station. Thomas has suggested we take a different train back so we could see some different country-side along the way.

Hannah loves riding the train

Daniel, Ariane and the kids were waiting for us at the train station. I had a good time with Thomas and Hannah but it was too bad Rahel had to work today. After saying goodbye, the rest of us loaded up the van and headed out of town, up into the mountains to their chalet near Adelboden.