Gurten is located just below the lower left-hand corner of the map. It is directly south of Bern. My niece, Gwynne, has marked off a number of places, including the restaurant where we had dinner with Hans and Ulla.
The Aare River is probably the most striking of all Bern’s fantastic features due to its unreal shade of green and awesome speed. The average temperature of the water is 62 degrees. The houses with their terra cotta roofs are not unlike those we observed in northern Italy. I would call Bern picturesque if it were not for the river, which struck me as unearthly and powerful.
I love this picture of Anna. She looks so pretty and it is a typical pose of hers.
Hans and Ulla Olsen came from Denmark via Zurich to see us and they were in the restaurant, Lötschberg, that night. It was probably the most expensive restaurant we went to, which brings up one problem in Switzerland, the high cost of dining out. Actually the time I ordered a second carafe of wine might have been the most expensive meal. :>)
Hans is our former Danish exchange student through the Rotary program and a good friend of my brother, Barth. Mom insisted that he sit next to her. Hans is often the life of the party so that was a good choice.
Hans and Barth enjoyed many adventures across the U.S.A., including almost getting run over by a beach machine in Nantucket at a beach where they stayed overnight and staying fed in Las Vegas by partaking of the free food at the casinos.
I sat next to Ulla, who was quite entertaining.
The next day the twelve of us took a hike up Gurten, a hill or what Mom referred to as the “small, old-looking mountain,” which looked squashed like one of the Catskills, outside the city. Because of the arthritis in my knees, I was often behind my family on other hikes, so I appreciated the fact that Ulla stayed with me. I thought we might run out of topics, but we seemed to do fine discussing banking, Swizz farming, and such.
I mentioned in another blog that the Swiss are very neat farmers–their grass is closely cropped and well-sculpted. This farm was a more contemporary farm with John Deere-type machinery. I wish I had taken a picture of one machine to make my point.
At this point in going up the hill, I turned to look back at Bern. Even though it is only 2,815 feet high, I came to feel every single one of the feet by the time I reached the top. The Swiss refer to what you can see close up in this picture as the Bernese Oberland (the higher part of the Bernese canton, south of Bern.)
About halfway up we came across a dairy farm. The curious thing for someone like me with relatives who were farmers was the lack of any farmers to talk to or actual farming taking place. It looked like a model farm, the kind you play with as a child. The smell of manure wasn’t even that strong. Of course, these are heifers.
You can see my family way up the road. The thing I couldn’t quite compute was the cylinder of what looked like wet hay to the right in the picture.
We all stopped to pet a kitty, including Sean, Gwynne’s boyfriend. Gwynne was not around to observe him. My oldest niece is definitely a dog person.
Ulla, my hiking companion, is always decked out in the latest fashion. When I first met her, in Ithaca at a fancy restaurant, she had on a very short dress and boots.
Anna claimed I looked like Paddington in my sun hat.
Nearing the Top of Gurten
My niece Rebecca looking stylish (note the stripes), her father and my brother, Barth, talking. They are standing near the gondola that Mom and Hans, always a gentleman, took with her both ways. I took it going down. Everyone complained about the downward trip, making me thankful I’d chosen not to walk downhill.
This is a picture from the Bern Tourism website.
The Gurten, a belvedere or summer house at the top of Gurten is quite striking, but what really made us interested was the wedding with its fifties theme: the girls in poodle skirts and pony tails.