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Bern to Zürich

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    I'll continue here with my trip to Bern. After Erwin and his grandma dropped me off, I was able to catch a ride in like 15 minutes. After what was a kind of strange drive, I made it to Bern. My main safety measures with hitchhiking were intently watching the street signs making sure we were going to my specified destinations.This ride consisted of trying to communicate with a Turkish/Italian/Swiss guy, getting a free cup of coffee, and I think him wanting to marry me. But I made it to Bern to meet Martin, a friend that Pascal's, for lunch. He took me to a very traditional Swiss restaurant that's supposed to be one of the best in Bern. I had veal cordon bleu and rösti, which is like the Swiss version of hashbrowns... Delicious!
  Martin was really nice and good to talk to, and showed me the capitol building and told me a little about Bern and where to go. He was just on his lunch break though so it was just a quick visit. I'm really glad he could meet up anyway though.
  From here, I went back to a little market before going in search of "the bear pit." Trying to get directions from non-English speakers made for the funnest communication attempts so far... After growling like a bear to three different people that told me what seemed like very different directions, I finally found this spectacle. I was walking over some bridge, (which there were many of which I think was part of the confusion with the directions) and finally spotted this hill at the end of the bridge. This was the bear pit... A hill on the side of the bridge that housed three bears.
   The city was really cool, with this really cool clock face, statues I was actually impressed with, little secret passageway doors all around like the one in the picture, and of course more pretty buildings with flowers everywhere.
  Next it was off to the Rosengarten Café, which was recommended by Martin. During this trip, I made an effort to take all the locals' recommendations and they've all been excellent. I'd hiked two mountains on this trip but this walk up to the top of this hill was still a trek. But it was definitely worth it. It offered the best view of the city while eating a fruit cake... So much cake on this trip.
  I killed time here waiting for Nicholas, my next host, to get off work. I met him at the train station at around 5 with plans to go evening kayaking! His place was a really cozy loft that he had decorated with pictures and posters of places he's traveled, plants all around, one of which was from Mongolia? Madagascar? Shoot I don't know. Somewhere cool... And herbs just chillin' on the kitchen table. Peppermint was the only one I knew though. Outside, he had a nice little porch with more plants and an awesome view of the Aare, the river that kind of circles around the city. (pictured below)
  And this was the river we were to kayak. To get to the launching point, we had to carry the kayaks through a tunnel with really cool graffiti the whole way through. I was in for a little surprise with this kayaking trip, as everything in Florida is just easier... The hiking is just walking through the woods, kayaking is just paddling through a still river... Not too difficult terrain anywhere. So getting into this river with a little current meant me spinning in several circles, getting a little wet, and almost running into a big rock. But I made it out alive without flipping or anything... Success!
  Coming in from the cold, my nice hot shower and hot tea were much appreciated. We discussed some of our travels while making one of the most delicious pizzas with zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and probably more that I'm forgetting. He was somehow successful in getting me to try this pepper that was the second hottest in the world... How he got someone that doesn't like any spicy things to try this is a mystery to me. I guess I don't turn many things down though, right Mischa?! One tiny piece had me downing two big glasses of milk to soothe my burning mouth.
  Before this trip, when I read some couch surfers' references on pages mentioning watching movies, playing cards, and other ordinary things, I wondered why travelers would want to do this. But eating pizza, drinking wine, and watching Planet Earth were exactly what I needed that day. It was such a nice, relaxing night, and I'm so glad I met up with Nicholas.
  Now... I'm just on this morning? So much has happened! Since Nicholas had to work, I had to begin my journey at like 7am this morning. And it was a COLD morning. I thought my feet were going to freeze as I stood at a poorly chosen spot for like 30 minutes. But one guy brought me to a better location where I got a ride in like five minutes by a really nice lady.
  She also didn't speak much English but we were able to talk about her being a gardener, our favorite flowers, and some of my traveling experiences. She had to drop me off about 20km before Zürich so I just caught another ride. Like most of the drivers, we were able to exchange a little about our hometowns, marital status, families, and travels. This guy even showed me a video of his son playing the accordion. That lady was so so nice and wouldn't let me go without giving me 20 francs.
               Hitchhiking and all has definitely made me feel like a real traveler... Ate breakfast at a rest stop this am, practically finished getting ready in this Starbucks... It's almost Alexander Supertramp style, eh? But with an iPad. Couch surfing has been great too. Strangely, it hasn't been strange staying with random people I've never met, even when it's sleeping in the same room!

The view right outside Nicholas' apartment! 

The super awesome, homemade pizza



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