Saturday, February 16, 2008

Back in Basel

Hello again from Switzerland! This is a midnight blog for all the Oregonians who are wondering if I made it alive, how I managed my 100+ pounds of luggage, and whether I’ve adjusted to the new sleeping schedule yet. In short, "yes, fine, and sort of". I’m here, safe and sound. I managed my luggage just fine, thank you very much, but my shoulders and arms are grumbling about it a bit today. And ok, I might have maybe asked a few guys to help me a little bit along the way. But not much! I was mostly self-sufficient this trip, and you’ll be pleased to know I have finally mastered the long distance trains. Did you know that there is a way to tell which car your seat will be in and where you should stand on the platform to be able to get onto the right car the first time?! I didn’t know either until yesterday, which made for some confusing and frustrating train trips, believe you me. But it turns out there are letters hung along the platform and a nifty little map showing which car stops by which letter. Who woulda guessed? …and I know for all the Europeans reading this, figuring out the trains seems like a small victory indeed, but for me, it made a world of difference to know where I was supposed to be!

Once in CH, I hit the ground running: I got home to my house at 2:30 yesterday afternoon, took a shower, sent some emails and was back in town before 5:00 to buy train passes and deliver some stuff to a friend. That took a couple hours, but I was still feeling pretty energetic despite my measly 2.5 hours of sleep the night before. I was going to unpack and read the last 60 pages of Heart of Darkness last night, but I sat down for a few minutes at 7:30 and woke up an hour later, so I decided the book and the bags could wait till I'd slept.

This morning I was WIDE awake by 5:30 so I sent some more emails before heading off to meet Janet and her parents at the train station at 7:30. We spent the day in a town called Murten (which is deceptively difficult to pronounce correctly). We followed a walking tour from a book and went tripping through the ancient Ramparts (Janet’s mom and I both had the Star Spangled Banner stuck in our heads afterward), looked out over the field where the Swiss-to-be fought the French in 14-something-or-another, attracted the attention of a sweet tabby cat and a whole shop full of bakers, and drank coffee in a tea house while sitting on some fabulous canary yellow leather covered chairs and catching sly glances from opposite table (presumably for our very American English).

Janet and me, looking like tourists!

Cannon balls lodged in the walls, as a reminder of the battle. "Like the Alamo, with a better ending," according to the guide book.

Ramparts, over which there were no broad stripes or bright stars gallantly streaming. But they were fun to walk along anyway.

More of the same ramparts, this time from up above in a tower.

After that, we went to raclette dinner at the house of some people from church. I don’t know them very well yet, but they’re very kind and gracious people, and Janet knows them better. And then I came home to finally write you all this brief, yet blow-by-blow account of my last 48 hours! I do hope you have enjoyed this update! I have to go to bed now. I have a meeting in the morning, bright and early. No time for dilly dallying!

Talk to you all soon! More pictures to come. Oh, and I learned an interesting fact at dinner. There is not a single mosquito in Wisconsin!! They're all married and have large families. :) har har...funny stuff! 'night!


  1. Welcome back!

    Too bad you couldn't make it for the carnival. You've missed something...

  2. Yeah, that's what I hear. There's always next year. But I was surprised to still see people dressed up and wandering around town today with masks. Kinda weird!

  3. 76, I think. There was a triad of battles - Murten, Grandson, and Nancy - which I discover looks funny in English as I write it - and they were in 76 and 77.