Thursday, December 1, 2011


In the past two weeks, I've been to Bern twice. Bern is the de facto capital of Switzerland and about an hour by train from Zurich. It is known for its bears... and I think that's maybe all. But it was a nice and cute little city!

Two weeks ago, Brian and I had a little Sunday trip to the west. We did a whole walking tour of the city... which was pretty empty since it was (a) Sunday and (b) November.

Bern Cathedral

Our main intention of heading to Bern was to see the Rendez Vous Bundesplatz light show. In October and November, it was a twice nightly light show projected on the Swiss Parliament building. It was really cool! Here's a video of some of the best parts. Funnily, though it was completely empty in Bern that day, at 7pm, EVERYONE in Bern was apparently in the square.

About a week later, I headed back to Bern with my friend Linda for the Zibile-Märit, or Onion Market. The Zibile-Märit is an annual festival in Bern celebrating the noble onion. Farmers and other vendors set up stalls throughout the old town, and starting at 4am sell onions, wreaths and ribbons made of onions, and little figurines made of... yes, onions. You can buy onion pies and onion soup all over town... as well as big bags of confetti. When walking around, little kids throw confetti at you and at each other, as well as bop people on the head with plastic squeaky hammers. Because why not?


Confetti Re-load


The first out-of-Zurich trip that Brian and I took when we moved here in July was to Luzern and Mt. Pilatus. Luzern, about 45 minutes south of Zurich, is a tourist mecca, with a beautiful lake and boat trips, access to three major mountains, and lots of pretty and historic buildings and bridges. A popular activity in the summer is to do the "Golden Roundtrip", which takes you from Luzern by boat to Alpnachstad, up to Pilatus on the Pilatus Bahn (the steepest cogwheel train in the world), down Pilatus on the other side by cable car and gondola to Kriens, and then back to Luzern by bus. While we enjoyed our multi-modal trip, the view from Pilatus that day was clouded in, so we couldn't see much of the view from the top.

In the Clouds

This past weekend, we took a trip back, after first checking the webcam on the top of Pilatus to make sure we'd get a good view. The Pilatus Bahn closes at the end of October, so we could only make our way up from Kriens. At the top, it was much less crowded than in July, much windier, and much clearer. We had a great view of Central Switzerland, including all the surrounding peaks and of Luzernsee (Lake Luzern).

Lake Luzern

With the addition of a sausage and roesti for lunch and some raclette and glühwein that we picked up at the Luzern HB Christmas market, we successfully negated any hiking we might have accidentally done on the mountain. A lovely Sunday!