In July we joined Big Art (Arthur's Father), and Marji (Arthur's wicked stepmother) for a delightful trip to Switzerland with all of their children, spouses, and grandchildren. We based ourselves in Meiringen, a delightful village south of Luzern. Over the next days and weeks I will share my journal, photographs, and other goodies from our trip.

Day 9 - 21 Juli - Saturday in Bern and Interlaken

We have breakfast and then walk down to the train station. We have packed umbrellas because there is the possibility of rain, and take the train to Interlaken and then to Bern, getting into Bern around noon.

The Bahnhofplatz is completely torn-up, making Heiligergeistkirche only available to street people, who drink all day long on its steps and porches. So we take our time and walk down what is essentially Kramgaße. The main government building is veiled in scaffolding and is unavailable for either camera or eye, so the old town is now the only choice.

There are lots of shops so we look them over, finally stopping at an orientalisches sport for a filled (meat) pastry and tabbouleh.

Of special interest is the Münster, which we approach from the rear. There is a wonderful hotel particuleur which is used as a government office. From the park behind the Münster we can see the houses and buildings that we just walked past are actually perched high above the Aure, with gardens and greenhouses on the downside.

The entrance to the Münster is a delightful amalgam of polychromed biblical figures and saints, centering on Our Lady and Saint Michael. The tympanum is filled with a last judgment. The nave has been made into a preaching hall centered on the mid-nave pulpit, with a small communion table placed below it. The crossing is dominated by a large black stone (basalt?) table, and the choir and apse has been turned into a taufkapelle. There is also an interesting Totentanz window in the north transept. The reformation has either left or given few religious images. Most of the symbolism is civic or from nature.

On our way to the Rathaus we pass by Ss. Peter and Paul's Church, a French-speaking Catholic church (19th Century) with wonderfully fresh artwork. The Rathaus looks heavily restored.

It's time to leave, so we take the train back to Interlaken with a sandwich and pretzel from Brezelkönig in hand. By the time we reach Interlaken, it is raining and we get out our umbrellas to make our way to the Tellspiel. On the way it rains very hard and we take shelter under a carport.

The play is very moving ­ a mix of Oberamergau and the 4th of July. Before the play we are treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of costumes, dressing rooms, animal stalls, etc. Then we wait almost 2 hours for the performance to begin. There are refreshments ­ Alpenmacaron, a combination of macaroni, potatoes, ham, and cream ­ actually delicious. There are just potatoes treated in the same manner and also two kinds of würst, and lots of beer.

The Tellspiel is performed in the rain, and in German. The lines are quite simple, so I get some of it. The beginning is so (naïve is to harsh a word) innocent, with the cows dressed in flowers and bells returning to the lower farms in the Fall, the joy of the people, the community ­ it almost moves me to tears. Would that I were moved to tears of joy for my country! There is also a chorus (as in the Greek) of men, and one of women, who comment on the scene. Around us there are many children, thrilled and drinking it all in with wide eyes and smiles.

After the performance, Carolyn attempt to get taxis to the train station as it is still raining very hard. Aber es gibt kein Taxis. So we hail a cab for Marji and Art, and Robert and family and then the rest of run like hell, to catch the last train, and to minimize our exposure to the rain. During the ride home we give some suggestions to Dan for his family's trip to Paris.

We walk home to write, read, and sleep.

MTH 8/28/07
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