A Travellerspoint blog

DAY 103 - Tuesday 11th August - Murten to Bern to Interlaken

... to Giswil 'Space Mountain'

Early rise as we need to be out of here by 7am otherwise it's 1 euro per hour...but mind you we haven't really seen the main town area so at 7am once we are up with the van is ready to go and breakfast eaten we put in a euro so we could head away from the van without having a surprise visitor of a ticket inspector. It's 7.30am when we depart the van for our walk and as we do i hear a noise that i thought a dog was making by grumbling when i went to get the ticket originally. Turns out it was a man snoring from one of the motorhomes...loudest snore ever!

It was so peaceful and quiet walking around the lake and town with not so many people unless you looked out upon the lake as that was busy with men fishing. There were about 15 boats out there with men standing with their rods out! Then at the harbour i nearly got knocked over...not by a car or a bike, but by a man in his 50s riding on a scooter with a motor on it!

8.30am and we are off to Bern which is only an hour and a 1/2 away from here and its one in which i didn't think much of...until i went into the old part of town. I did a U turn to drive back over the bridge as i saw a parking spot there where i could use my free parking permit, coming in very useful this one as i don't have to pay. The symbol states where i can park but i didn't understand the German wording underneath on the sign as usually it tells you how long you can stay there. This had no maximum length at all which made me question if i could use the permit at all...but the symbol on the sign normally means i can use my permit. Oh well, i'll see if i can download the translator app i had on my old phone to work it out of which i can do by taking a picture of it so it can read it for me, and read it for me offline...very clever app!

So here we are at Bern, the capital of Switzerland, yes the Capital and that's another geography lesson learnt by me on this trip. I'm sure there are others reading this which were like me thinking it was Zurich, if not then definitely Geneva...Bern wasn't in my head as a city in Switzerland, well the World actually! The strange thing for a capital is that it's only the 4th most populous city in the country. In 1983 the historic old town in the centre became a UNESCO World Heritage site and ranked among the world's top ten cities for the best quality of life...who knew?!

As i cross over the bridge i can see why it is and best of all...there is free internet and i'm loving Switzerland as it seems so far that a lot of the cities and towns give it out for free and why not! As i walk around the town i see a huge crowd gathering around a clock tower and staring on up. Fingers were pointing as the clock began to chime and i raced towards it hoping to see a cuckoo springing on out and I didn't want to miss that if it only does so on the hour and i wasn't around for the next. Disappointment is an understatement as all it was that i could see is a wooden man carved into the side, sat down, waving a stick in his hand. Why haven't i seen a cuckoo coming out of a clock as yet...i am in Switzerland am i not?!

So i walk head off and see on the side of the streets shutters that open that look like the cellars doors for bars to be able to open and place their stock underneath but instead its quirky coffee shops, barbers, night bar, sandwich shops etc. Old town is full of bratwurst sausages, swiss ice cream and chocolate shops to spend my money on but i manage to walk on by...just as the smell was so immense! Near to getting back to the car i remember that i need to download the translator app and i load up the picture to see what it says...well it told me exactly what i could see in German. Well that helped!! After swapping things around i see that i could park there unlimited apparently so i'll remember that for next time!

Next onto Interlaken which is in the Jungfrau Region and what a scenic view it was as we drove by the lake, right on the very edge and through the sides of mountains that were blown up to allow the cars on through. This region is located in the Bernese Oberland and named after the famous mountain Jungfrau, meaning Virgin. Poor thing, and all this time! At each tiny bit of space where you could park the van there were people doing just that, with picnics and their swimming costumes on to jump into the lake. You couldn't find a free space anywhere, they were all taken up. Also all you could see around this lake was a sign at each area you could park at saying no motorhomes where allowed in these spots from 10pm til 7am...and i can see why as you'd just love to be able to park on here and wake up to that view. You could basically wake up and jump from the side of your van and into the lake as your morning bath!

We stopped in Interlaken after passing through some really lovely, old and charming villages of which tour buses around here were of a plenty, and you can quite clearly see why. Interlaken was an old town also to come and visit and we headed down to the lake but it was quite restricted as it was a private one, well a private part of the lake in which you needed to pay to get right by and into the lake. Being with Ellie this wasn't the right part so that she could have a swim and it was too busy around here with no place for her to shake coming on out without getting someone wet who's dry and getting a tan on their dry towel. We had a walk around part of the lake and there were just so many activities here for children to have fun whilst the adults enjoyed socialising with other friends or having a rest as from the children as they were so very happy with the water sports and slides that were just set in the lake.

We were going to stay here for the night but the cost of the campsites was too much and also there were parachutes all around us which made good views for Ellie to take in...not!! As she was barking away i'm not sure those above were enjoying the quietness up their to soak in the view and want to land where they were close to heading to! So next onto Giswell as there was a place where we could rest our head for free, a place where you only needed to get to at the end of the day as it was just a space by a main road, that was it, nothing special, not even in a town the guide suggests to visit.

On route to here was a different matter. As we climbed the mountains looking over the lake to the other side, you could see waterfalls cascading down. Suddenly TomTom looked like something from a theme ride i remember when i was a child, Space Mountain in Disneyland. The road went into a tight circle ascending on up and up and up and up, all very slowly with the sharp decent and sharp corner. Not only that but all this through a tunnel, so exactly like it was on the ride! I'm glad to say that on the other side i wasn't flung around in the darkness not knowing how or where these tracks were taking me! Instead i was following a tour bus to make the descent back down the mountain, very slowly.

Saw a lot of people parked on up as the mountain started to descend so i quickly pulled into there, as when you see tourists it normally means there's a photo opportunity here somewhere! And there it was, a photo opportunity of a lake surrounded by the mountains with a tiny village being the only one built by this beautiful scenery.

Arriving at Giwell and we set ourselves down for the night, looking to see where tomorrow will take us...and another day not having a shower as my hair is getting that little bit scratchy right about now!

Posted by emmabrown1014 10:02 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

DAY 102 - Monday 10th August - Neuchatel to Murten

'Back to School'

We are 2/3rds of the way through, that'll make a 1/3 to go obviously...my GCSE maths doing me proud there! This is going way too quick and i'm starting to think of home but i've then i realise that i've still got the rest of Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, Holland and then France once more for my journey home; lots to fit in. So no more notes or emails as to what to do when i'm home as there is really a long way to go yet, plenty of miles to put on the clock.

It's actually blue, clear skies today so we are off for another walk along the lake and so i can check the emails i sent off yesterday to see what responses i've got. Also Ellie to have a swim, and in-between getting food in as the shops are now open and doing some more blogging whilst i've got the free electricity, the next place Murten I can't get there til 7pm anyway for when it's free to park up for the night.

Yes i'm a cheapskate but i need to save every penny to make sure that i have enough petrol to get home! From the emails returned i see that Ellie has got a place back at daycare come next year, my hairdressers appointment is made for 9am on the day after i arrive home. On the way to the wifi spot i went past the 5* hotel where i spotted a man with hand luggage. He took this from the boot of his car then got into a golf buggy driven by one of the porters. Now this may have been okay....if reception wasn't a minutes walk away!!! Really?!!

Just as i was about to head on off i speak to one of the motorhomers who turns out to be Swiss German and a teacher who's travelling with his wife who's German. So my geography lesson is given and he told me that Swiss German is the mother tongue and that he was here to see the French side of Switzerland to help them with their German for a week or two. Apparently German and French are a must for children here to learn...as well as English. Yep that's 3 languages! The children on the German side had already gone back to school he said but the French children still had a week left so he was enjoying his travels until then. That's nothing like the UK, apparently they have 6 weeks the same as us but obviously June / July time is their height of summer and August is lessening. That i can feel!

We make it to Murten a little before 7pm so we have our dinner in the van and as 7pm is hit we went for a walk knowing that the coast was clear from parking attendants. To the lake and there was a bar / restaurant right by it where we had access to free internet so here i managed to get Stef to book her flights over to Zurich and heading back via Innsbruck, whoop whoop, another visitor coming out to play!! The sun was setting and so we headed back to the van to finish our night in bed.

Posted by emmabrown1014 08:57 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

DAY 101 - Sunday 9th August - Neuchatel

'Worlds Most Expensive Chocolate?'

The rain continued through the night which awoke me at 3.30am but then I just couldn't get back to it. Also I was hot, then cold, then hot, then cold, then couldn't figure out what I was!

Morning came and so did my bladder and it was a trek to the nearest toilet. Therefore Ellie's walk came early, breakfast can wait a bit longer as I can't. Ellie does her wee, and then her poo by choosing the right spot, then sniffs around a bit more. No Ellie, wee time for me, march on to it!!!

Disaster averted and back to the van where we find the weather is better, as in its not raining. It is though blowing a gale force wind out here. Back to the blogs but then as I'm thinking we are getting closer to home I find that I need to put things in place, so I do a notes list, but would help if I had WiFi to do some of these things. The list went something like this:

- Download 7 day juice diet app as need nutrients after this bread, chocolate and cheese diet for the last 5 months

- Download Map My Run as I need exercise when back; so therefore also download couch potato to 5k app first as need to start from the beginning!

- Download autotrader to start looking at 125cc bikes

- Mark down date in calender to put Bongo up for sale :((

- Look into Triathlons as next on list to do after marathon done

- Look at derelict cinemas...one can dream

- Check Deacs hasn't read the books she gave me, if not hand them over whilst picking up the charger, Del's charger, she took home by mistake

- Check bank account (yes could be interesting)

- Load money onto Euro travellers card

- Book Salzburg hotel, early check in request for Ellie

- Book Sound of Music tour with sing a long on the bus

- Put Ellie back into day care in New Year, as they get booked up quickly and to make sure I have something

- Moonpig cards

- Hairdressers appoiniment for Saturday when back so not harrowing roots ready for work on the Monday

Well all in all think that's a compromised list to do!! Even on holiday the Coord in me is still there to organise, just had to do it in note form and not on a spreadsheet!

After that a long walk was needed to stretch our legs and find a spot for Ellie to swim. Whatever the weather she's in! At the harbour where the internet tried to kick in yesterday but failed it has done so today, hurrah! I open up my football correspondence email from dad...yep spurs lost and gave me his own personal article to the game. Now I can get through my list and tick it all off! Sad, yes!

After the list is pretty much done we walk on and I look to get some food in, well bread, but it's shut. Things on a Sunday it seems gets shut at 12pm, so I'll have pasta but no chocolate....will I be able to cope?

The wind is increasing, the sun isn't showing its face, so we may need to take shelter in the van but as I look to go it seems like Stef is looking to come and have some Bongo fun. She's looking into it, meaning she could be here by next weekend! New person to explore with and Ellie to jump to joy to...until she realises that front seat is taken away from her! Back to van where the wind has turned to fine rain and I decide just to stay here for one more night as the electricity is free and I can get up to speed with the missing blogs. Also there is WiFi I can get and Ellie can have her swims. Win win.

Pasta eaten but I'm in need of chocolate but everywhere is shut. I don't want to move from my parking spot in case anyone nicks it. Decisions decisions...all for chocolate. TomTom is inputted for petrol stations and there is one 600m away, and so I walk with fingers crossed...it has a shop!!! One bar is bought and its a new one I've not had, so not to risk not liking it I went for an old favourite too as a back up, a packet of M&Ms. What I failed to notice was the price and considering at home I never ever pay over a pound for a large bag I paid 6.30 Swiss Frans which is over £3. That's the most expensive chocolate ever!!!!!!

Oh well, chocolate had and I liked the new one, bit like a galaxy bar. The M&Ms I'll savour and eat so slowly over the next few days. Now I can go to bed happy!==Your heading here...==

Posted by emmabrown1014 12:14 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

DAY 100 - Saturday 8th August-Cheyres to Murten to Neuchatel

'A Letter from the Queen'

It was a long, hot, stifling night where I took a good part of a hour fanning Ellie down with my birthday card so she could stop from panting and settle to sleep in the night. She'll be asking for grapes next! Wake up to also find that it's day 100, 100 days of travelling and taking each day as it comes to who knows where!!!! Wow, and does that certify a letter from the queen?!

As its a fairly early rise it's time to get to the lake before others arrive so Ellie can have a dip as she didn't manage to get in yesterday as the place was covered, even the tiny areas where you can fit only one towel and a child were taken. In she goes and in she goes for another 15 minutes until she keeps out to chew her stick. Swim time over then.

On the way back over I click onto the free WiFi and get in touch with as many people as I can as you never know when you can pick it up again. Obviously Facebook is in order and the WiFi signal took me all the way to the harbours edge so I could sit on the rocks as I did. There's only so far back you can go with Facebook these days in which I've missed but I hope I've got the gist to what you are all up too!

Overhead the clouds are keeping tight, if not slightly grey so I wonder what we'll get today. Internet done, swim done and now breakfast eaten so off we pop to Murten which is free for an overnight stay but I didn't know from what time so need to check that out. Again on a budget and especially in Switzerland so free the better!

Again on route I went past some amazing scenery and villages, still looking French though. As we pulled in Murten all that changed as I saw Schule written on the floor instead of Ecole for school. Looking around it has a German feel to the buildings and the signs, as much as I remember my GCSE German these words weren't French anymore.

Heading into lidl to get some bread I let the cashier speak first...yep definitely German! So I've done the Italian side, French side and now into the German which makes me think, what is the actual language around here?

Parking up I look at the meter and there are still 6 hours to go until it's free and it would cost 6 Swiss Francs until that time. Time to find another Ellie and we'll come back here tomorrow at 7pm as it will be on the way to Bern if we pop over to the other side of the lake in between. This one I've seen is free and can be for two days by the lake!

So a spot was found and water and electrics are free here so I can get on drafting some more blogs on the computer...yep still on those! Also I notice I'm back in France mode again on this side of the lake...I'm getting confused! First though a trip to the lake as the sun has started to come on through. Also I need to find if there is anywhere I can get a cheeky WiFi hook up to as its the first game of the premiership season!! Not that I need to look as Spurs are away from home against Man U so I'm sure we are on for a loss.

First priorities and that's Ellie to have a dip and we see a lady chucking in toys for her two dogs to get a swim. We head down a few feet along and do the same but I need to hunt for a stick first. As I'm throwing it in I see a 5* hotel where the rooms are water bungalows...why are we not in one of them?!

We walk pretty much to the next town down and nothing...no internet for me, there is one that looks free to get onto but it's just spinning on round but not clicking in. Back to the van and Ellie takes the shade whilst I blog away. And that's when it happened, the storm came and pelted it down so being inside now on the computer wasn't so much of a bad thing whilst it's not sunny outside.

In the midst of reading a bit later a lady approaches, about late 50s, and has a chat as she's from the UK, near to Manchester, and mentioned it was rare to find a fellow Brit in Switzerland travelling. Turns out she is with a friend who's helping her explore Switzerland for research. She's writing a new novel about the second world war and is here to research something or other. As she's noticed my kindle she says one of her novels is on Amazon to buy so she comes back with her business card. I'll have a look but what strikes me on her business card is that her home address is on it which I think is a bit too risky.

Kindle book done and as the heavens are still raining upon us a new book is started, the second book Deacs gave to me for my birthday. Few chapters in and I'm hooked into my new book and I get the feeling it isn't gonna last too long as the blogs take a back seat for a while! Storm is still going strong into the night where with one more quick walk it's time for bed but at least unlike last night it's cooler to get to sleep.

Posted by emmabrown1014 12:11 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

DAY 99 - Friday 7th August - Romont to Cheyres

'Silence of the Lambs'

So the ding ding ding didn't occur during the night so my conclusion is that sheep do sleep during the night and have some time off from eating grass, oh and the cows too as I spotted them last night also down the field below us.

Suddenly as we were getting up, after a cool night to sleep in but a sweaty one to begin with, we hear the sheep doing their bahhh noises but it sounds like they have surrounded the van. Their bahhh's echos all around and Ellie's ears were all pricked up wondering if we were under attack from the woolly animals, especially as one sounded like it was being tortured. Was this the Silencing of the Lambs?! After a few minutes it died away and I can only figure out that the farmer was moving them from one field to another, but which field as there was a definitive drop next to our van to the other!

Today is going to be another chilled one I feel as this is the best spot to hang around until my 24 hours is up as its peaceful, a great view, and electricity to run my computer off. Breakfast done and we head for a walk around town but this time we take the long steep steps to where the castle and towers are. Think my fitness is wearing down as I was breathing deeply by the end of them!

Down the hill and back to the high street to get a baguette and try some chocolate bars here, there's got to be one I like! Baguette bought, drink and couple big bars of chocolate and how is that near 10 SF's?! Change in pocket and back to the van where I empty my pockets to find a note of a tenner wasn't in there. I definitely was given a note I'm positive so I quickly retraced my steps....money found on floor. Phew, that two baguettes worth at least here!

Upon our return so have the sheep and a small van rocks up of which they obviously only know too well as they hurtle towards it. Feeding time me thinks. Blogs are being drafted up as I split the task with a few chapters of my kindle book...and so kindle book done. Have a few days of blogs drafted on my kindle too when I had no electrics so polished them off a bit also. Slowly getting back on track and I'm going to get to 155 even if it kills me, come this far!

After another walk and a few hours before our 24 hours is up, not that anyone is tracking us or there's been a queue of motor homes wanting to use the space, we head to the next. Back to the lakes and this place has electrics too and free to park. Again trying my best not to spend too much in this country!

On route and like yesterday it's so cute going through the villages which means I'm still avoiding those motorways. Through the villages with their flags flying everywhere there are also farm barns with their tractors parked up in pretty much on all the main roads of the villages you pass. Still French I see also in these neck of the woods and the buildings show you the same. It has a feel of France but also of the English countryside to me.

As we get to Cheyres I see that both parking spots for motorhomes have been taken, one though looks more like a works van so that could move once the sun sets. We head off to the beach / lake area and there is free WiFi. Hooking onto that to catch up with friend's, love a free WiFi, especially when there's no lock which puts you in a false sense of security as often then it wants a username and password of some sorts. Nope this is tick and go.

It's hot out here so we head back to the van where I was going to head to another free space about 30 min down the road but Ellie, when we got to a shaded area given by the van at the sliding door entrance, laid down. Okay kiddo we'll stop here for a while and see if one of the other two vans at least heads off at a decent hour. We could maybe sleep next to them on the grass verge we're on but we are on a tilt...could be interesting as that normally means Ellie squashes into me, I can't move, I get no sleep! If it's stifling hot in the van even worse.

So Ellie gets her shade on and I get into finishing my kindle book. As I do I glance up every now and then to people watch, just love people watching. Woman in her 40s in a bikini suddenly passes by on a scooter, pushing herself up the hill. A car arrives next to us with parents and a child but when they all stood at the boot when it opened an argument erupted between the parents and back in the car they went. Wish I could speak French to figure out what was so catastrophic of them leaving behind at the house to cause that argument. Not sure if they returned but probably not, poor kid I felt!

It's near 9pm and as I start a walk with Ellie I see one of the vans has moved...Ellie back to the camper as I only saw a motorhome go past just a few minutes ago which means if they are only turning round a bit further down the road they'll grab it! He goes, I start the car, I pull on round...and we are in! Seconds later a motorhome rocks up...phew!!! The guy in the van next to us I don't think saw me reverse in as he was chatting to the motorhome and pointing to our spot as I'm sitting on the sofa reading my book as if we've been there for hours!

Oh and the electrics I found you have to pay for as well as the water so you get nothing much around here. But luckily just 100 yards down there is a toilet I can use and the internet I've already discovered...always a silver lining somewhere and you can't have it all.

And with that it's nearing bedtime but it's hot, Ellie is looking at me panting. She's hot. And so I use my birthday card to fan her, and I fan her for nearly an hour til she's settled! Bed now....well try to sleep.

Posted by emmabrown1014 12:03 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

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