Essays about life in Italy, traveling in Italy, and more
Fall 2000 - Switzerland and Italy
In late September, 2000 we flew into Zurich, spent a couple of nights recovering, drove up to Balingen in southern Germany for a night to visit friends, then drove to Kandersteg in the Berner Oberland region of Switzerland for a week or so of hiking.
We spent 2 nights in Hotel Glockenhof in Zurich. Here is a picture of the bed where we spent most of our time (sleeping). I include this picture to give you a good example of a Swiss bed. There is no box spring, as on American beds. It is a mattress on a frame. The frame has slats of wood across that the mattress lies on (like our Futon bed frames). This is a typical bed for Switzerland. Also in Italy they do not have box springs.
If you look at this bed, you will see that it is two single mattresses put together. This is what they call a "double". You will not usually find one large matress. The comfortors are folded on each side of the bed. You unfold and turn the comforter and each person has their own. When we first started traveling in Switzerland, for some reason, we just could not figure out what to do with the comforters. We tried sleeping on top of one and under the other. We tried getting in between the folded one like a sleeping bag. In the end we just used one and put the other on the floor. It all seems so obvious now - one comforter for each person. It doesn't help that they fold them and turn them when they put them on the bed.
It was only a 2 hour drive from Zurich to Balingen where our friends Ursula and Lionel live. We have visited them a couple of times before. We drove through some beautiful, old towns on the way. Rotweil was full of old timberframe buildings. Balingen is more modern, but has some lovely old buildings, like the ones in this picture. This was the view from our hotel room.
The hotels in Switzerland and Germany have these great shoe cleaning machines. You turn them on and put your foot (with shoe on it) under a cleaning brush and then a shining brush. My shoes got cleaned several times a day.
These are the mountain peaks above one side of Kandersteg. Kandersteg is a small town (pop. 1000) in the valley that goes south from Spiez on Lake Thun (Spiez is between Interlaken and Bern). Kandersteg is at the end of the road. Most people who come in this valley take the car-train from Kandersteg, through the mountains, to the Valais region. We did this in 1997.
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