My Life as a Traveler

Bravo for the Bernese Bears!

Eguisheim. That’s the name of the village that I can see from the terrasse of my gite (country bed and breakfast). We arrived here, driving from Bern, hungry at 4pm and walked down the hill to town to find a bite to eat before dinner. There is no restaurant serving any type of meal until 7pm, so we have to survive on pate and wine.

Euro food timing is often a problem for us. We can’t seem to make it down to breakfast before 9 or 10 am and eat way too much because we’re hungry. We are not hungry for the traditional lunch time from 11:30am to 2pm, but get hungry around 3 or 4pm. Unfortunately, by then any type of decent restaurant is closed. You can always get sandwiches or maybe doner kebab if you can find a place, but for something other than fast food, you need to wait until 7pm. If you are farther south or in a bigger city, restaurants don’t open until 8pm. In a small village like this, the only thing open is the patisserie (bakery) and the charcuterie (where you can get meat, quiches, and maybe a sandwich). The boys got a meat pie shaped like a turtle and I got bread and pate. We did a petit wine tasting for $5 bottles of local wine and pick two. Our little house we are staying in has a porch which overlooks the Rhine valley below. Heaven! The Gewurztraminer wine tastes like candy, perfect with my $3 worth of pate and $1 bread. Who said Europe was expensive?

It took us about three hours to get here (on the non-highway route thru the north Jura mountains, where Susie and I had been just a couple of weeks before) from Bern. In Bern this morning, I led the boys on a nice walking tour, direct from my favorite travel author, Rick Steves, visiting the hot spots. Although we missed the jester-dancing-litte-man-hitting-the-clock-tower-bell-with-a-hammer animation at the old clock, we did get to the cathedral just as church was letting out (it’s Sunday!). We went around the corner to enjoy the adjacent park when we heard music. Live music, like chamber music. At first, we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from, until we looked up. There were musicians on the balcony of the tower 200 feet high! How cool is that to be serenaded from on high as you are leaving the service?

We had to see the bears, the living symbol of Bern. When I saw these bears 20 years ago, they lived in this barren, concrete pit next to, but not in view of, the Aare River. It was incredibly sad. However, just a couple of years ago, some concerned citizens made the town build the bears a new, beautiful, open enclosure on the hill that goes down to the river, with trees, dirt, and even a fishing canal. Hooray for Bern citizens and bear freedom!

So for now, we are just killing time until dinner, me blogging away and George working on equations. Not a bad place to work!

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