Locked in

If you’ve read last week’s Use Your Words post you know that the spring that was pulling up our garage door busted. 

The lady at the installation company said since it was an old model (1996), it was unclear whether their supplier had in on stock, and even if they did, how long it was going to take to order and ship.
“Surly not more than a week, right? After all my car is locked in.” 

Being the underpromise / overdeliver type the lady didn’t provide any signs to have high hopes, so I was ready for a car-less week challenge. Not to confuse with a carless week, which sounds like more fun! Or could I have both?

So this incident happened on Thursday night.

Friday I had to work, which is no big deal, I can walk. On other days I could also take my bike. Only that day it was at the shop. However, at 5:45pm Colin needed to be at Kirchmattstrasse gym in Zug - the one hardest to reach by public transportation. Damn. Hubby took pity in us and let us borrow his station wagon. 

Which was actually brilliant because as part of his birthday gift, we had promised to take D, one of C’s hockey mates, to take him out for a burger.  

Saturday we had to pick up Colin’s new glass frame at the optician’s. Remember it had gotten roughed up by nobody. Again we got to use hubby’s car. He warned me, though “I have appointments pretty much every day next week, so you’re on your own!”

Usually in this situation you would see me frantically comparing rental car prices  (even though I’d still have the challenge of where to park said vehicle because we only have two guest parking spots in front of our apartment complex. This is two spots for a good eight parties. So you’re not supposed to use it as a resident.)

Coincidence has it, though, that on Monday morning, Colin and his classmates left for camp. 

No practice duty for me! On the other hand the gift of me-time! Only that I had to spend it depending on public transportation. 
You know how I feel about taking the train. One of my pet peeves is that the newly made smoke free stations are far from being smoke free, but hey, moving on.

Weather conditions for Monday through Wednesday looked fantastic. Monday was my day off. With no lunch, after-school and practice activities it was truly a day off. Well, I had to tell the husband not to come home for lunch. Boo! He’ll survive. 

I had a conversation with a Facebook acquaintance earlier that morning. She accidentally sent a draft instead of the carefully edited version of an e-mail to a potential employer and asked for cute pet pictures. I sent her a video of three bear cubs playing in a hammock. It’s adorable. 

One thing led to another. Next thing I knew I was sitting in a train to Bern. Bern is Switzerland’s capital. Most people think Zurich is our largest and most important city and therefore should be the capital, but it’s Bern. 

Bern’s mascot is a bear, and Bern had a bear park. When I was a kid it used to be a bear pit. The bears would walk around in circles on concrete floor, and visitors would throw down carrots and other treats. About ten years ago the built was today is the bear park. The entire land between the former pit and the Aare (the river flowing through the city of Bern). 

Now the bears are roaming through grass, bushes and forest, which is great for the, certainly more animal friendly. On sunny days like today it proved hard to actually spot a bear because they retreated to the woods enjoying the cool shadow.

Moving on I took the bus back to the city and got out at Zytglogge. The medieval clock tower that prevents the most iconic landmark. It’s a good thing that apart from public busses it’s pedestrians only, so the bunches of tourists doesn’t have to worry about standing in the middle of the cobblestone street, taking pictures. 

I was pretty sure the Bundeshaus couldn’t be far from here. There’s a recurring joke among Swiss people. They make fun of Bern being more like a village than a big city, so when you ask “where is” (insert restaurant or shop you’re looking for) Answer: “right next to the train station!” And it’s kind of true. I could have even walked to the bears, it’s about 1.75 miles one way.

Almost forgot: somewhere, just about to cross a street, my phone rang. The garage door lady! “You won’t believe the good news” she said. “We’re getting your springs in tomorrow!” Wow, really? That kind of ruins my car-less week challenge. Just kidding. I’m so glad!

Wrapping up my sightseeing in Bern, this is our Bundeshaus, house of parliament. The plaza in front was literally empty. I wonder how crowded it must have been on Friday when the women’s strike march took place. That’ll be for another post, though. Today there was not a soul. Well, a handful of people holding a sign that said “time to wake up”. I wonder what that was about. Didn’t wonder enough to approach and ask them, though. I had something else in mind. 

Approaching the city by train I spotted some snow capped mountains in the distance, and if my memory served me right, you have to most awesome view from the Bundeshausterrasse, the Capitol’s terrace. It’s public, you’re allowed to walk around. No metal detectors, no security guys, That’s how safe we feel here in Switzerland. 
And I was right. The photo doesn’t do justice to the actual view, but still. Pretty breathtaking, even for me, the native Swiss girl!

Next stop Chindlifrässerbrunne. What? Literal translation of this landmark: children eating fountain. I’m sure there is a horrific backstory. I’m typing this on my newly repaired notebook, and since I’m on the train back home, I can’t google it. I may insert it later. 
So there are different theories, none of which I like. Check 'em out for yourself.

I didn’t actually plan on getting something from Starbucks, but between the fountain and the alley leading to the train station, there is Bern’s flagship SBUX store. It was the fifth store ever to be opened in Switzerland, so it must be a good 15+ years old. Did I mention it was a sunny, blue sky kind of Monday? The kind you don’t get often? Temps were climbing to almost 30°C (=90°F), so I deserved a cool pick-me up. Strawberry Lime Iced Teavana, so yummy!

So instead of the car-less week challenge you got to join me on my be a tourist in your own country day. I hope you enjoyed strolling through Bern with me. Should you ever visit Switzerland let me know, I’ll be happy to show you around. 

After all everything is right next to the train station!


  1. Great pics, loved the tale of your time. So, is the car out of jail yet? LOL!

    1. The release is supposed to take place after lunch today, Donna!

  2. It's funny how it takes something like a stuck car to get us out and exploring our own backyard. Sounds like it was fun =)

    1. AJ, it was the combination of my son being away and the weather being super nice - not having my car was just not an excuse not to go out there. It was a fantastic day, and I need to to more of this!

  3. What neat places. Me times is wonderful. Thanks for sharing those great pictures.

    Janet’s Smiles

  4. Wow what awesome photos having no car can be a right headache, glad you haven't had that


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