Tales of a non-Swiss miss in Switzerland - part Thun, Bern, and Zurich (March 16, 2012)

Day 5 - March 16, 2012

I hate when vacations come to a close.  You have to make that last day a great one.  Luckily, we did.

We woke up at the Rugenpark and had another fantastic breakfast.  We had a very simple check-out and headed to the train station determined to go to Thun, Bern, and Zurich.

Near the train station we looked for horses, but it appeared they were heeding the warning signs.

Kris looks for horses.

Kristy and Skitler await the train with full baggage.  I love that I can carry my morning soda in my pants pocket!
A very short hop to Thun had us quickly loading all of our luggage into one locker at the train station so we could explore the city.


Thun wound up being my favorite stop of the day.  Thun is a small, quaint city with terra-cotta/brown roofs and a lot of charm.  Thun is divided into the Upper and Lower Hauptgasse, and we did our best to explore both levels of the town on our way to and from the Castle/Schloss Thun.

Stairwell up/down between levels of the Upper and Lower Hauptgasse

Always the daredevil

Such interesting artwork inside this gazebo

Lovely carving on a building

Schloss Thun (Castle Thun)

I had to slide.  How often do you get to slide outside of a castle?
While at the castle, I was distracted by a pretty and friendly cat.  (Made me miss my Pesto and Paws.)  Kris was distracted by a statue of a devil thing.




It mysteriously started getting really hot after Kris started playing with this devil-like statue.

The hollow/black eyes creeped me out.
The parts of Thun on the Aare River afforded us some precious moments.  It was so peaceful and devoid of tourists (well - aside from us).



Obere Schleuse in Thun

Kris has gotten really good at the macro captures.
After staying in Thun way longer than expected, we headed to Bern.

Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  I generally love these spots.  I seek them out and detour vacations for them.  I wasn't enamored with Bern.

I should say that Bern is a very interesting city.  It's filled with history, bears, and medieval architecture.  However, it's the incredibly fascinating architecture that also made this town seem dark to me.

Kris and Bern

There were a few lighter colored buildings in Bern.

Love me a good Gargoyle.

I love buildings that have old advertisements still visible on the side.  I love this one even more because Chocolate is amazing!

One of the neatest things about Bern, however, was the window displays and the stores.  From live bunny displays decked with tiny houses and animations to eclectic shops of strange, Bern had a bit of everything when it came to shopping.  It also had many a store with a sign we couldn't read and nothing inside but a single desk with computer and chair.  We had to wonder what they actually did inside.

They really get into Easter in Bern - and disco?

Bunny with a tree and rabbit cabin

So cute.

If you look closely inside the top window you can catch a bit of the animation that was going on inside.

Terrible photo, but we had to show everyone the scope of the display.
What were they selling?

Window display

What an odd shop!
 Bern is known for their bears.  Many years ago, the bears came to Bern and stayed.  Some say they got their name for the bears.  Going to their lair is a big tourist attraction.  These bears don't have the need to hibernate.

Looking down into the bear habitat in Bern


Bern Bear Lair - Bärengraben
One of Bern's most famous sights is the Zytglogge, an elaborate medieval clock tower with moving puppets.

Zytglogge, clock tower, is the building with the green top.

Fountain head with the Zyglogge in the background.

Close up of the moving parts of the clock tower.

Weights and measurements in the inside of the tower.
And, of course, no trip to Bern would be complete without a trip to the Einstein House. Albert Einstein lived in an apartment at the Kramgasse 49, the site of the Einsteinhaus, from 1903 to 1905, the year in which the Annus Mirabilis Papers were published. Unfortunately, the building was recently flooded and was closed for repair.



Our final destination for the evening was Zurich.  We went to the Radisson Blu Hotel by the Zurich airport to check in.  I had gotten a stellar deal with this hotel.  And talk about convenient...the hotel is attached to both the train station and airport! There are also stores inside.

The Radisson Blu Zurich was some kind of fancy - as evidenced by flying girls in the lobby.
Our room at the Radisson Blu

Flying women in the lobby
We couldn't actually afford to have dinner at the hotel and thought it a shame to have been to Zurich twice but never actually step foot in the city, so we headed to have dinner in old town.

Yup - we're classy!

Reflection in the train window

I was pleasantly surprised by Zurich.  I tend to dislike the biggest cities.  Maybe it was the evening, maybe it was the spirit of our last hoorah, or maybe it was that the old town of Zurich is charming, but I quite enjoyed myself.

Old Town Zurich at twilight



Very pretty church but can't remember which.  There were a lot.



Pretty Zurich at night
For dinner I had Alplermaggronen.  I love how after we asked the waitress for more info as the menu instructs, she didn't give me any information that wasn't on the menu.


The side of applesauce made this dish.
We made it back to our room on the 9th floor on the Radisson with time to make it to the market inside of the airport/train station/hotel for breakfast foods and morning caffeine.

Radisson Blu reception from the 9th floor
Day 6 - March 17, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane...don't know when we'll be back again.
Arriving in JFK was nice and easy thanks to Global Entry.  Oh my goodness do we love Global Entry!

On our layover I liked some of the airport artwork at Pittsburgh.


Kris waits while I take photos at Pittsburgh.