Bern, Focus on Gurten

22 Sep


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.
>Michelin map



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.

Anna at Bern Restaurant.jpg

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.

Mom and Hans

I sat next to Ulla, who was quite entertaining.

Ulla Olson, Rebecca, and Rhonda

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.



Dairy Farm on Gurten 3.jpg

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.

Sean Petting Cat on Gurten.jpg

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 Olson on the clim up Gurten.jpg

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.

2 Responses to “Bern, Focus on Gurten”

  1. Denise September 22, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    That’s an interesting distinction between picturesque and powerful. It certainly is beautiful framed with the bridges and masonry. The northern Europeans are known for their love of order, aren’t they? Especially in contrast to the Daisy Miller-ish Americans? Or is that an outdated trope? I like your floppy hat and I have a similar one (maybe even floppier) that I have to wear all the time now. Fashionably dressed has been trumped by practical and a concern for wrinkles and gray hair. It happens to the most fashionable of us!

    • Kathryn Mapes ithacalansing tales past and present September 23, 2016 at 12:27 am #

      I should wear the hat more. I would like to see a picture of you in your hat! Mom and I acquired them for the trip. I am trying to go back to using sun block. One of my junior high German teachers said that the German’s love for order helped lead to the rise of Hitler, a thought man have expressed. I don’t think the trope is outdated. All the bathrooms are clean and all the streets in Bern are clean, but I was in tourist areas, so I don’t know how much poverty, if any, exists. According to an article I read, they do have the problem we have in the U.S. of a big gap between the rich and the middle class. I think part of my feeling about power comes from trying the pastime of the Bernians, which I alluded to and was going to explain in a later blog. I jumped in the 62 degree Aare River and almost immediately went to the side and asked to be pulled out. The water is very cold and fast. My family, except for Mom, was able to do it.

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