October 26, 2007

10/26/07 Wunnewil Switzerland

This morning was looking a lot different than yesterday. Kind of an overcast day with a lot of fog in the lower elevations. After breakfast, we loaded up the van along with the kids. On the way back home, we stopped off at "Cholerenschlucht" or "Choleren Gorge". It's a deep canyon creek with lots, I mean lots of waterfalls. And, for tourists like me, there is an extensive network of steps and catwalks to view it all.

The family climbing up behind

While Ariane took the kids back to the car, Daniel and I got to hike a bit of the country-side to a loud waterfall called "Pochtenkessel". Just like France, there are literally thousands of trails criss-crossing the country for anyone to walk, many just walking by farm houses along the way. If it was this loud now, I could just imagine how deafening it would be in the spring with the snow-melt.

Still pretty loud

Ariane and the kids met us at the highway with the van and we headed off again. Another kind of strange attraction I saw is a loooong (153m/501') suspension bridge, one of the longest in Europe. It just goes to the other side where an enterprising farm has set up a self-serve refreshment shack. Business must be good because they were building a new building complete with bathrooms. I've been on suspension bridges before, but never so long. I got a little bit scared in the middle because it seemed that the whole thing could twist out from under you without any trouble.

Didn't seem to bother the kids

Mmm, good mom!

We took the scenic route (as if there is anything but in Switzerland) on the way back to Bern. I asked to stop at Lake Thun where we could see the famous Eiger across the lake. Too bad we didn't have more time to explore the village on the lake front.

Lake Thun with the Eiger in the distance

In the land of cheese, milk cows rule!

Once back home, while Ariane headed off to a teacher's meeting, Daniel and I loaded up the kids in the bike trailer and decided to bike around the country-side near their home. The weather was a bit chilly for our passengers, but for Daniel and I, it was a great day to ride.

Are we there yet dad?

Old farm-house along the way

Every night was a feast at the Ritschards for me. They were always cooking up Swiss specialties. I definitely didn't loose any weight in their care. They cook too good. [smile]

Tonight was a special night for Daniel. I met them both on our respective cross-country bike trips in the USA back in 2001. After they returned, Daniel had given a slide show several times here in Bern to various groups. And he was so excited to show it again for me. Unfortunately for Daniel, his equipment was less than cooperative. I think our 30 minute show ended up taking about two hours and I think Daniel used every piece of electronic equipment in the house to pull it off. But I had so much fun, both seeing their pictures and comparing notes about our travels, and laughing with him when the show didn't go quite as smoothly as he hoped it would. He even tested it before I arrived in Switzerland just to make sure it would work. Next time he says he'll go digital. [smile]

Ariane, Jim & Daniel on July 12, 2001 in Oregon

My 'Show Me America!' trailer
Since I never got to show Daniel my pictures