Paying the travel tax

with a headcold and alot of coughing and snot. I know, just what you wanted to visualize. Never let it be said that I don’t share the highlights šŸ˜‰ I will tell you that I am profoundly grateful that when I was leaving JFK in November, I paid 8 dollars for a box of Alka-Selzter Cold and Flu. At the time, I remember kicking myself for not going to a drugstore before going to the airport and paying airport prices. Yesterday, when I opened the box and listened to the first familiar fizzing sounds, I knew I would have paid far more than 8 dollars for the relief!

I really enjoyed exploring Bern. The city is a mix of my favorite styles of architecture, Federalist, Gothic and Medieval. I also like the way the river Aare flows through the city and you can see the working water courses. Several times I sat on the edge of fountains that I knew had been in use for at least 800 years. ItĀ made meĀ think about how much I have in my life and that fundamentally throughout the centuries, we are all still connected. Whether that is through DNA, stone, the artsĀ or the natural world around us.

The thing about Bern is that it feels a bit like a movie set. I feel like no one lives in those buildings. I know they do. However, you could walk down streets and not see another person. This is definitely something that I am not used after the density of Amsterdam. I would like to visit it again in the summer, I have a big desire to go swimming in the Aare, like so many Bernese do in the warm weather.

I like the Swiss sense of orderliness and cleanliness. Everything is very precise. However, this doesn’t leave much room for flexibility. For example, their rules about fondue. Minimal 2 people, no exceptions. I ran into this rule everywhere I tried to get my fondue on. So tonight I will go to Cafe Bern here in Amsterdam with Marjo and get my fondue finally!

The coffee was also a bit of a miss. Pretty watery and definitely not what I expected. I did learn alot about Ovaltine, which was a Swiss invention and how Toblerone came into being. If you can’t tell, I spent a good deal of time in the Bern Historical Museum which also houses the Albert Einstein Museum – he lived in Bern and wrote the first draft of the Theory of Relativity there. The museum was so cool. I learned that Einstein was quite a ladies man. I also noticed that he had incredibly kind eyes and in the morning, my hair resembles his hairstyle. Also seeing the Swiss view of their famous concept of armed neutrality was interesting, especially in relation to the WWII question.

The first night I was there, I was in the vegetarian restaurant Tibits. I was enjoying my meal, with my grown up coat over the chair next to me. All of a sudden I hear a crash and feel a splash. Turns out someone behind me lost control of his overly full plate and his raw onions, olive oil dressing and other aromatic dishes landed all over my coat. Not even an apology from him or his dining partner. I was frantically trying to scrub his dinner out of my coat because it was the only one I had and I needed it for my interview on Monday. Unfortunately, I was not successful. And rather than smell like a walking food cart, I went without a coat over the weekend. That probably didn’t help with staying healthy.

Tomorrow night it is the Within Temptation concert in Haarlem. Woohoo, time to get my rock opera on. I just bought Henry Rollins tickets for next January when he comes to Amsterdam. Next week is Easter which means we get Friday through Monday off. Hard to complain about living in a country like this šŸ™‚

Bern from the Bridge

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