Here's the regular travelogue of Swizterland.
Everything is right with the world after losing the bag. Finding the bag, I mean.
We trained alongside rivers and rolling green hills and big alpy mountains and they came through and checked our passports and what were they going to do throw us off the moving train? Just curious. We were all done with Italy, Italy goodbye. We fell into Switzerland like a comfy old gramma.
We dropped our stuff near the station at the hotel across trolley tracks and in drizzly cool rain and everything seemed high tech and clean. We immediately got coffee that the kids wanted and soda for me and had to figure out the bus and got a pass from the hotel clerk for free. Always a new town is like where are we, where is the center of this place, what will we learn here and how to do we get there.
We had to find our way to the gurtenbahn, the trolley that would take us up the mountain to the bobsled down the mountain. It wasn't Nathan's birthday yet, he would wake up here in Switzerland on his birthday tomorrow, but it felt like his birthday because we weren't hot and we had to get to that slide before rain might shut it down.
The buses were in german and french, and we climbed a very high hill to get to the funicular which is a word I have no words for, fun and angled up. In line for that behind a swiss baby who was complaining we saw a vending machine where you could buy candy, chips or a pregnancy test.
The top of this mountain. This was the pinnacle of our trip. I don't want to write about it because then I will be past it, but this was all Emma's doing. She found this place, she took us to this place, and this place was abundant. It was a kid's park really, with climbing things and a big house for formal functions with a view, and the tobaggan run
This was the most fun and would be totally illegal in the US, so dangerous, no safety devices, just you on a metal board with a brake between your legs, and they shove you down a metal open half pipe and there you go, waving goodbye as you pick up speed
We were able to go on a million times and also sneak on free times because you could walk right around the turnstile since there was only one guy and he wasn't exactly the cops. He was this young blonde kid and he spent his day on top of the mountain shoving people onto a skateboard down a mountain.
The first time I used the brake and was careful not to die and by the end I used no brake at all and just went faster and faster and faster. We screamed and played and looked at the green mountain and we were cooled off and there were secret paths through the woods and cows, I didn't see any reason to leave the tobaggan but for some reason the kids were saying come see the cows and I thought we have cows at home but we walked up the mountain and then we sat on the top of the hill and just looked at the cows eating grass, with their massive horns, and Nathan really loved this one brown cow who was right next to us. We stayed up there a very long time, maybe like when we were at the beach in Venice, it was a time we stopped, and felt.
We played on the wooden structure and listened to some british indian kids who were like wild indians in the bathroom, totally not listening to their mom, screaming and running and in need of a spanking. That was the bathroom at the top of Switzerland where I thought the toilet paper was weird and plastic and I kept using it and then realized it was the toilet seat covers all folded up so tiny it looked like toilet paper. I should've brought that home, also it's really awkward to wipe with plastic. It was funny when i found the actual paper, I thought it was just a weird swiss thing you never know.
Emma was starving and we found a snack machine in the funicular lobby and got some weird swiss kit kat cookies and beef jerky to eat while we walked down, we decided to walk halfway down and it was steep and woody and our legs would the next day feel impossible on the upper thigh, who uses those top muscles like that? Those bracing ones so you don't fall down a vertical hill. Nathan managed to roll his ankle halfway but we made it to the funicular stop and caught it halfway. The blonde guy from the tobaggan, Noy, was on the way back up and said if we only had one night in Bern we should go to the restaurant across the river for the best view. We didn't know where we were yet, so we took his suggestion and looked later on.
Emma ran out of steam a few hours into walking the old town at Bern. We passed Einstein's house which was closed and we couldn't find anyplace affordable to eat, or a souvenir shop so we kept walking and we found a bridge over a green river and this was the most beautiful view of our trip, I think. The houses along the river, and the river fat and wide and rushing, and a guy was swimming in there it must've been freezing and he had a bobbing orange float attached to him I guess so they could find the body later cause we weren't sure how he could ever get out of there. Poor Emma was so starving her personality ran out and there were just fumes there and the fumes were pretty mad so we finally got back to the main square and ate an overpriced burrito but the fries were good and then Emma had to do an interview for Raytheon in the bathroom sink while Nathan and I pretended not to listen. We went out again later in search of pretzels and souvenirs and everything closed up early in Bern compared to the bigger cities we had been used to lately.
The next morning we ate downstairs and ran down to the one souvenir shop we had found so we could get something before our train. Einstein's house was open next door so we walked up the stairs and the lady gave us student discounts and we looked around his little room where his huge brain worked, and read about how his wife thought he was so boring.
This was Nathan's birthday, my little baby. We got him a bunch of these lemon drinks he loved, and took them on the train with us.
We stressed at the train station that we were at the right track, we weren't sure, we were standing next to the marching band from the swiss army. So I ran down underground to the far away infomation booth and it took forever, there were three people in front of me, and 2 swiss girls in the booth and it was like they were just learning the computer in 1982, I thought I'm going to miss this train and then finally it was my turn and they slowly timeticking checked for me, but we were in the right place, so I zoomed back up and even got a pretzel.
The first train was more beauty out the windows, and around Lake Geneva, which is worth doing if you're starving for paintbrushed watery landscape. Everything green, or blue, and as my friend Kurt said, Switzerland is beautiful no matter rain or shine.
We felt good after this train which was lucky because the second train was packed full of backpackers like all over the floor, we were stepping over people like an orphanage had just burned down. There was no way to get into the car on the left so we went up some steps into the car on the right, the only one we could reach and it ended up being first class. It said first class on a tiny sign but it also said it was for elderly or pregnant people, and the seats were less packed and only about five people in there out of ten seats. But the seats were yellow felt and kind of dirty so I'm like this isn't any first class I've ever seen, maybe first class is up that other set of stairs and through that door, but we had nowhere to sit and we couldn't go back there was no room so we sat. The kids slept while I worried the guy would come look for our tickets but no one came (they had never checked us on any train actually) and they slept long and I just watched all the green out the window and fretted about the tickets but it was Nathan's birthday so I let them sleep and have this time. Right before we got into the station in Lyon I made them get up and shooed them out of first class and got our bags lugged out and down into the orphanage pit where it was shoulder to shoulder standing room only at a Seattle indie grunge concert and just before the station the ticket guy came around as I knew he would so we got a free first class ride and got out of there.
Next time we go to Switzerland I would like to stay in a smaller town where the kids can snowboard and I can just enjoy the nature. This trip we needed to get around and see as much as possible. Next time, with Bess maybe for her semester abroad, we'll show her the gurtenbahn and then stay in a little chalet.
Swiss dreams can come true, in four years. You guys go with us.