Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bicycle trip to the Emmental region

The forecast was for a partly sunny morning and afternoon rain - so we decided to get in a bike ride before the rain came.  I went to the "Bern Rollt" loan area downtown and borrowed an electric bike in hopes I would be able to keep up with Darrell.  We packed a lunch and some snacks and were out the door by 8:30 am.  It only took us 70 minutes to go the 20 km to the precious town of Burgdorf.  Burgdorf has a large castle begun in the 7th century and then expanded in the 12th.

Largest of the Zahringer Castles at Burgdorf
The castle had a real live moat with a drawbridge (grabenbrucke).  The picture isn't the greatest but check out the greenery in the moat.  And the drawbridge is just to the right of us.  Awesome!

Moat at bottom, castle at top
The view of town wasn't too shabby either!  You can't see the river Emme here but it runs to the east of town and we were later able to bike along a nice section of it.

View from the Burgdorf Schloss (Castle)
We walked back down to our bicycles and wandered a little through the old part of town.

Heading down from the castle to town
We were feeling so spry we decided to go up to a higher viewpoint town, Lueg, and then maybe all the way to a tourist dairy that sounded like a good place to buy and eat cheese!  All was going well - I mean look at the view south to the Jungfrau Region...

View south to the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains
and then I got a flat tire...  Such a bummer!  Of course we have two borrowed bikes with no tire repair kit or any tools.  But, heh, this is Switzerland.  How far away can public transportation be?  Darrell used his iphone, got online and discovered exactly where we were and accessed a map that showed us where the closest train station was.  Thank goodness we had climbed so high that it was mostly downhill.  We coasted down to the fair town (a new favorite town for me) of Sumiswald, and bought train tickets for both us and our bikes back to Bern.  The bikes cost as much as we did, but the train was (of course) completely set up to have them onboard with a special car labeled with a bike and special straps to hold them.

Me, the bike, the flat tire and my new favorite train station
When we got back to Bern and went to return my bike they said we owed them 35 franks for the flat tire. So we went around the corner to a bike store that had tools you could borrow and put Darrell's good tire repair skills to work.  For a 10 frank patch kit (that would cost $2 in the US) Darrell managed to fix the flat.  Phew!  And now we have some extra patches to work with.

My favorite mechanic - saving us $40
We were getting hungry after all these adventures, and all stores (except those in the train station) are closed on Sundays - so we went shopping for tonight and tomorrow.  Even if we didn't get to a nice tourist dairy - you can see the outcome of it in the local markets.  This picture is about one-third of all the yogurts you could choose from.

Small section of the yogurt choices at this store
And yogurt is NOTHING in comparison to cheese.  Here is one of the four main cheese displays that they had.  It took Darrell and I at least twenty minutes just to figure out which cheeses we want to try next.

This represents just a tiny part of the cheese choices available
Now onto dessert.  After you've spent time choosing your fresh bread, yogurt and cheese, you have to look for chocolate.  Note the large bars at the bottom of the picture.  We haven't gotten the large bars yet because we are still tasting all of them to determine our favorites - but it won't be long...

Dessert choices
Now we are recovering at home, and wondering if maybe the flat was sereptitious.  I'm not sure I would have had the energy to bike all the way home!

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