Two things struck us instantly about Switzerland: 1) The landscape and architecture is hopelessly pretty, with lots of expensive chalets made from wood and cows wearing giant bells around their necks. (Cliché are clichés for a reason.) 2) everything in the shops & restaurants cost at least a third or in some cases, twice as much as they do in France.
Above pic: Shifty Swiss Selfie
Above: The Clock Tower
Above: Loved this classic, a slightly older version of my VW Beetle
Despite the sudden inflation, we made the most of our trip, which lasted three nights and two days. We were headed for Bern and made a stop-off to Lasaunne en route. Here’s a fast fact for you – Lasaunne was the place where David Bowie married his wife, model Iman Abdumajid in 1992. There’s little wonder, it’s a lovely town, but it rained the entire time we were there and we felt very restricted by the weather.
Above: Sulky Selfie – when the rain came
So what did we do? We ate.
The thing I was most excited about in this town was ‘Gaufre’, which simple means waffle. However, the Swiss waffle is a different breed. It’s doughy, heavy, sugary and spiced with lemon zest, this stodgy and more comforting version of the waffles we know and love, brought a huge smile to our faces on a rainy day.
Three other foods you must try in Switzerland: 1) Cheese fondue 2) Raclette 3) Rosti
And, if you do visit Bern, which is highly recommended, then you must, you must, you must, visit, Lotschberg Restaurant in Bern (Zeughaus Gasse) www.loetschberg-aoc.ch This was a recommendation from a local. It’s cool and quirky interior is super happening and the menu is a cheese-lover’s paradise.
I had the fondue made with half-and-half: gruyere cheese and Vacherin Fribourg cheese, both AOC. Served with potatoes and lots of bread. CF 25 per person (£18).
The recommended wine was: Fendant, Cave St. Pierre, VS, a popular Swiss white wine, which went superbly with the richness of the cheese.
If we had have visited in the evening, after 6pm, you can try this for CF35 (£26):
Raclette “all you can eat” Raclette is a traditional Swiss melted cheese dish, usually a combination of two different cheeses (cow and goat cheese) and served with steamed potatoes, mixed salad, pickles and pickled onion. The Raclette cheese round is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates; the term raclette derives from the French word racler, meaning “to scrape”. Accompanied by small potatoes. Pickles and dried meat.
After the meal, we took a stroll around Bern and we discovered the open-air Bear Park. Now I’m not an advocate of zoos, but these rescue bears, three in total, seemed to be very happy in their over-sized open-air pen along the banks of the river.
Above: Bern Bear Park
NB: Please note that this bear was in an enclosure at Bern Bear Park and I’m actually taking this shot from the safety of the other side of the fence. Roots and Toots does not advocate “bear selfies” in the wild!!
And then it was time for a bit of culture vulturing. We headed to Einstein’s house.
Einstein Haus Bern: Albert Einstien’s House Kramgasse 49 (Near the Zytglogge) www.einstein-bern.ch
It was in this house that he first discovered the theory of relativity.
For CF6 (£4) each we saw the apartment where he once lived and watched a short film about his life. In 1902, when still 16, Einstein was father to a baby daughter Lieserl, born to Mileva Maric, whom he married in 1903. His wife’s clothes can be seen in the wardrobe above.
Einstein never wore socks and he never used shaving soap. Fact. “Those were good times, the years in Bern” ~ Albert Einstein