Wednesday, 30 November 2011


In the end I only had a few hours in Brussels, which to be fair has little in the way of landmarks but it was time to find their strange little statue.
look at a few of the nicer buildings.

I took eurostar back just to see what it was like. Confusing is the word, first I was misdirected to Central instead of Midi station, then there were no signs so it took ten minutes to find the way in. Once at the eurostar area though it was a lot clearer evn if I did cross the UK border while still in Brussels (do the platforms actually count as British teritory?). I had hoped the approach to the tunnel would include a view but instead it just came on suddenly and that was that.


The onion market was more than a little odd, not so much because they sell onions but because hundreds of people get up early to drink wine in a freezing cold street and children are given plastic hammers to hit people with.

 I went back to bed at 7 for another hour then went to see the bears of Bern, after being assured they are no longer kept in a pit. I suppose the enclosure is not too bad but it still seems wrong to keep them in the city next to a main road.

Then it was time to go to Brussels, unfortunately there was no overnight train so I wasted a day, further delayed because trains in Germany were stopped for two hours by an unspecified 'incideint involving a person'.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


I took a train to Interlaken today planning to get the special train7cable car to the top of the peaks but it was closed for winter so in the end I just walked around the town getting some photos. Te views are pleasant enough but the town is so taken over by tourism I don't think there was a single building except the train stations that wasn't a gift shop or hotel.

I always wondered who made Swiss clockwork so famous

Now that's optimism

Tomorrow I should be going to the Onion Market a rather strange sounding event that starts at 5am and is recommended by the locals.

Saturday, 26 November 2011


Last night I met up with some locals, one of who I knew from Austria so I didn't get to bed till nearly three and gave up on the idea of going to Interlaken in the morning. Instead I explored the historic centre of Bern
and looked at the old town hall or Rathaus and the Munster cathedral.
The cathedral seemed rather plain after Italy but did have some nice old seats with coats of arms on.

I then went over to the Kunstmuseum which had exhibitions on the history of Switzerland and the life of Albert Einstein where I learnt that Albert was excused from military service on the groubds of sweaty feet.
In the afternoon I found a viewing tower on a local hill from which there were views down to the the city, surprisingly small for a capital and across to the high mountains.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Bologna to Bern

I took a fast train to Bologna, which was recommended to me as the home of the oldest univesrity in Europe, as well as bolognese sauce. There didn't seem to be anywhere cheap to stay so I ended up at the Mercure hotel near the station.

The town has relatively little in the way of sights apart from two massive mediaeval towers in the centre that were closed for repairs but is full of nice arcades especially by the university where I found a neglected little museum that seemed to consist of no longer wanted teaching aids such as waxwork internal organs and old globes.

I did have bolognese with ravioli for dinner but while it was fine I can't say it was that much better than in places that didn't invent it.

In the morning I visited the city mediaeval museum but the signs were only in Italian so I don't know what I saw exactly.

From there I went to the station planning to catch the 10.40 train north only to find a huge queue for the reservations I needed and end up going an hour later. The route to Milan was flat and largely misty but after changing the train climbed to the border where there was a second (unadvertised) change to a Swiss train that rapidly moved into tall mountains and big lakes. The temperature dropped and we even passed through an area with snow on the ground before dropping slightly to Zurich where I made the final change for Bern.