Europe Trip 2016 || Day 8: Swiss Alps and Basel

We woke up early the next day and had a special Sunday breakfast of fresh croissants. Then we got in the car and drove to the Schwarzsee (Black Lake) so we could see the pre-alps. I mean, you cant go to Switzerland without at least getting a glimpse of the Alps. We walked around the lake, and I went crazy with the camera. I wish I could have spent a whole day there just exploring and what not. Valérie told us more stories about Switzerland while we were walking around. We got to see traditional Swiss cows and feed the babies and pet them. There we also people paragliding around the lake which was pretty cool to see. After we had made it all the way around the lake, we went on a driven tour around the Fribourg, looking for good views of the city. We parked illegally to get some photos of the whole town, then pulled off the highway to get a picture of a picturesque bridge over the Saane river that runs through Fribourg. Then we headed back to Valérie’s house to pick up our stuff so that we could catch the train back to Basel. Valérie walked us down to the station and we said our goodbyes. It was really nice to see Valérie again and she was such an amazing tour guide.

We took the train into Bern and then transferred to a train to Basel, where Chris Guillini (a former camp mom and tutor) met us at the station. She took on the scenic route back to her house which consisted of lots of winding roads. We got to see the Goetheanum and all the weird shaped houses of Dornach which is the center of the anthroposophical movement. Then we dropped off our stuff at the house and met Lorenzo and their dog Pandora (a little pit bull mix, such a sweet dog). Lorenzo (Chris’s husband) took us to the bottom of the mountain and Marguerite, Chris and I hiked with Pandora in the Jurassic alps. The scenery reminded me a lot of the mountains here in North Carolina. Since it had been raining a lot, we had a minor detour since the trail Chris normally took had a pretty fast moving river running through it. We managed to find our way around and when we got to the top of the mountain, Lorenzo met us and picked us up. We then went to a small brewery where Chris and Lorenzo knew the owners and everyone had a few beers and snacked on soft pretzels. Since Marguerite and I hadn’t eaten much that day Marguerite got pretty tipsy pretty quickly.  Pandora started getting restless so we went back to the house. Since everyone except I had been drinking, they let me drive us all back to the house. Pretty cool to now be able to say that I have driven in Switzerland (even if it was only for about 5 minutes).

When we got back, Chris and I prepared fondue chinoise which is one of our favorite family meals that Chris introduced to us. Basically its like fondue with a hot broth and you cook your vegetables and meat in the broth. It is so delicious. After dinner we watched Legally Blonde (Lorenzo’s choice) and Marguerite and I both fell asleep during the movie. We did stay awake long enough to hear both Chris and Lorenzo singing along to the songs, it was fun. After the movie was over, Marguerite and I went straight to bed. I think it was pretty obvious that we were both exhausted.

Europe Trip 2016 || Day 6: Göttingen, Germany to Düdingen, Switzerland

After our last breakfast together, Johannes took us to the train station where we said our goodbyes. I had such a lovely time in Göttingen and had a blast catching up with Johannes again. The night before, we had bought first class train tickets (how luxurious of us) since they were only an extra 10 euros. I definitely felt like we didn’t belong in the first class car of the train though. Everyone in there was at least 30 years older than us and we probably wondering why two young travelers were in the first class car. It was worth it for our long train ride from Göttingen to Basel though. Having pretty much guaranteed seats was wonderful after our past few train journeys. This trip went very smoothly and we spent the whole time reading, and enjoying the free snacks of first class. It was fairly frustrating though because we never got our tickets checked on our whole journey. We only got asked IF we had a ticket but no one ever asked to see them or punched holes into them. We had spent a total of 230 euros to get the ticket and could have potentially ridden for free. But, in the end it is better to be safe than sorry.

When we arrived in Basel we switched trains and headed to Fribourg and then switched again to get to Düdingen where we would meet Valérie (another former counselor). Again, not once did our tickets get checked. When we arrived in Düdingen, Valérie was waiting at the train station to pick us up. We walked up to her family’s flat and met her parents before going back out to the train to venture into Fribourg for dinner. We went to a cute little local burger place called Cyclo Café which was very tasty. Then Valérie showed us around the town. It was a very cute little city, especially charming in the evening with the twinkling lights. It was definitely a change of scenery from the gentle rolling grassy hills of Germany to the steep mountains of Switzerland. She showed us around her university, then we went to get gelato. We then went further into downtown (downtown being the lowest part of the city, not the center) and saw the Fribourg Cathedral. We walked even further down and saw the city from below which was really quite beautiful.

Then we were walking to catch the bus back up to the center of the city but we missed it, so we took the stairs back to the top. There were SO MANY stairs. We had to take a break a few times, but after about 30 minutes of climbing up we made it to the top. There was a little train next to the stairs that was fueled by poop (I can’t remember if it was human or animal waste, but nonetheless). When we finally got to the top of the stairs, we walked to a little club and hung out there for a little while. We met some of Valérie’s friends and then managed to find a table and Valérie told us more stories about Switzerland. After about an hour or so, we walked back to the train station and went back home. Once we got home we were all tired and it was so late so we all went to bed.

*Today was primarily a travel day, and I forgot to bring my camera into Fribourg when we went out that night, so not too many pictures, but there will be tons on the next post