Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Visit to Switzerland!

Dan and I spent the first week of September in Switzerland, specifically Basel and Bern.  Dan had a conference, and I decided to tag along.

We started in Basel (that's where the airport was) and spent almost two days there--one of which was my 30th birthday.

The town hall in Basel was really beautiful (and red).  The interior courtyard was extensively painted, often with amusing trompe-l'oeil type scenes.  In the third photo, you can see a gentleman standing on a balcony with his parrot, breaking the bounds of the flat surface.

We also wandered quite a bit along the Rhine River, which divides the city.

And then we headed to Bern, which is the capital of Switzerland.  Dan started his conference, and I spent most of my time hiking along the Aare River, which surrounds the old part of town.  The water was a beautiful turquoise blue, and apparently meets European drinking standards, though I didn't try it out.

On Wednesday Dan had the afternoon off, so we climbed the "hill" south of town--the Gurten!  I put 'hill' in quotation marks not because it's so small most people wouldn't even call it a hill, but because even though the Swiss call it a hill, the rest of the world would probably call it a small mountain.  Still, it was a lovely hike up, and a full-of-wrong-turns lovely hike back down.

The view of Bern from the top.

Also, on really clear days in Bern, you can see the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.

I don't expect we'll go back to Switzerland while we're living here (it's really expensive), but I'm really glad I went.  It's amazingly beautiful--and it was sunny the entire time we were there, which is the complete opposite of the Netherlands in September.  It was also refreshing because I had almost a week in one city--there was no rush to see everything in a short time, so I could spend an entire day guilt free by the Aare River, reading, dipping my feet in, and watching swimmers float by.  It was a lovely vacation.

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