Monday, June 6, 2011

6 Jun 11 – Day 4 (Lucerne, Bern, Interlaken)

I was the last to get up at 6:20am. Went for breakfast slightly before 7am and then moved off from the hotel at 8am. Everyone was given a voucher each to exchange for a teaspoon from the shop Bucherer, one of the leading watch and jewellery retailers in Switzerland with the largest flagship store in Lucerne. We reached Lucerne around 9am and went to see the Lion Monument (Lion of Lucerne) and took photos. It was drizzling and so I put on my windbreaker instead of taking umbrella.

Then we went off for a brief city tour before going to see the Old Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe and it was nicely decorated with flowers along the side, series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Luzerne's history on the wooden cover and a section of the bridge was blacken from the 1993 fire. Fed the ducks and swans with the bread that we had brought along and took some photos. We were told to gather at 12:45pm and so that gave us some time to explore the town. Checked out some souvenir shops, shoe shops and almost bought a pair of nice black boots but didn’t manage to coz didn’t have my size.

The Lion Monument :

Some photos of the Old Chapel Bridge and the Ducks and Swans nearby :

Bought some chocolates from Manor and then some from Coop. Walked back to Bucherer and headed to the top level to exchange for the teaspoon and checked out some of the souvenir where Kim bought a can of sweets, saw part of the big Aion Ball Rolling Clock (the world’s largest indoor rolling ball clock) in Bucherer, then came down to level one and went to check out the watches. Saw the B Swiss watches, Bucherer house brand, that Cecilia recommended and the price looked on par with the Swiss Railway watches that I saw the other day. So I decided to see if there were any suitable ones that I could buy. Looked at the prices, designs and functions and finally settled on a Swiss Military Gent’s wristwatch at CHF245 and felt a pinch.

Proceeded to the entrance where we were supposed to gather but it was still early. So went off to explore other shops round the corner and Mag bought a box of 14 macaroons to try. Headed back to the meeting point and saw a few of our members together with other people scavenging from a big container of rubbish. It seemed that shops nearby would sometime bring out unwanted or defected stuff to dump into that container and few lucky ones would be able to scavenge for treasure.

One or two of our members managed to find black rubber boots and a couple of big paper bags to put their stuff. Our coach came and we headed off for char siew and roast duck rice, recommended by Cecilia. The shop sells a variety of Asian stuff such as Korean noodles, various types of cooking sauces, dried stuff and they also sell cooked food. Our lunch was not included and so Cecilia suggested that we eat at this shop so that it would be easier to move off together to the next destination. There were not a lot of seats and so we had to go into the shop by batches whenever seats were available. Waited for our food, gobbled them up so that we could give up our seats to others. Our lunch turned out to be CHF18 each. That was the most expensive char siew and roast duck rice I have ever eaten.

The Chinese eating place - Kam Tong

The expensive char siew & roast duck rice

Waited outside of the shop for others to finish and saw a very, very big dog. It wasn’t big in size but was very long and I could imagine it being probably about 2 meters in height if it was standing up. Some of our members took photos of it and some went to pat the dog. The owner had a smaller dog but no one seem to take note of that poor dog. After everyone was out of the shop, we boarded the coach to go to Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, to see the Bärengraben (Bear Pit) which is now empty and replaced by the BärenPark (Bear Park), an open-air park next to the Aare River and the Nydeggbrücke (a bridge). Managed to see a couple of bears and took photos of them.

Then we went to the old city of Bern which the structure is largely medieval, to see the Zytglogge clock tower, took photos, walk the streets, and took photos of the fountains. Saw the Stadttheater but forgot to look for the No. 49 Albert Einstein's House before heading to Interlaken for city tour. Dinner was Swiss fondue at the place called Bebbis which we upgraded with 5 Euro. The boss, Bebbi Boesch, and one of his employees were the one doing all the entertainment from singing to dancing.

The Aare River

The empty Bärengraben (Bear Pit)

The Nydeggbrücke (bridge)

The new BärenPark (Bear Park)

Some photos of the clock tower, the old town and couple of the many fountains in old town :

The back of the clock tower

The front of the clock tower

The first fondue was the cheese fondue where there were three types of cheese melted in a pot and we had to use the long fork to dip the bread into the cheese to eat. There was wine in the pot of cheese and so after trying with one piece of bread, I stopped. Next was the meat fondue and we were given beef, chicken and pork. Used the long fork to poke a piece of meat and left it in the pot of water to cook. After it was cooked, dipped it in one of the many sauces available and ate. Wasn’t too bad and I ate most of the beef coz Kim doesn’t take beef. The last was the chocolate fondue and it was my favorite. Unlike our local chocolate fondue which was in the shape of a fountain, the Swiss chocolate fondue was in a pot and the chocolate was not as thick as our local ones.

Our dinner :

The bread for the cheese fondue

The meat fondue

The melted cheese

The chocolate fondue

After dinner, we were given some time to explore the town before gathering at 7:45pm. So walked about but some shops were already closed and so was Migros, the supermarket. Got back to the meeting point and waited for the coach but the engine didn’t work. The worse thing was that the coach stalled at the no-parking place. The road was narrow and the cars behind the coach were stuck and drivers were cursing and swearing in their vehicles. One of our members went to be a temporary traffic policeman to direct the traffic stuck behind the coach. Some sped off at the side and one particular one just had to be the trouble maker. The guy at the passenger seat rolled his window down and started scolding. A member explained to him the situation and still he wasn’t very satisfied and after a while drove off.


Our coach driver then told Cecilia that he would need about an hour or so to find ways to fix the coach and hence we were told to gather again at the same place at 8:45pm. Walked around and took some more photos to kill time. Finally the night ended at 9+pm when we got to our hotel in the mountains. It was cold and felt like winter. The hotel lobby and the rooms were opposite each other and so after getting the keys and being brief at the lobby, we dragged our luggage across the road to the rooms’ block. The block came with only one small lift and since there were so many of us, a couple of us with light luggage decided to just take to the stairs and I was one of them.

The room was quite spacious with a balcony, microwave oven, fridge, tv and so on. The extra bed was placed near the window while the other two beds were nearer to the door. Kim was fast to occupy the window bed coz she liked the cold while I took the one closest to the door so Mag could only have the middle bed next to me.

Thoughts: Disappointment one after the other today. The nice black boots didn’t have my size and the coach broke down. The only good thing was the view that the hotel room provided overseeing the mountains.

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