Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bern, Interlaken, Spiez and Fribourg

This is my second cross-country Europe tour after the second one visited Skocjan Cave in Slovenia. Although I have already visited Europe several times to ICTP Trieste, the previous tour only sightseeing in local Trieste: the piazza, canal grande, the Grotta Gigante cave and the similar. Once I have a chance for longer time, I planned this Europe tour to Switzerland, a rich country in central Europe.


The reason for choosing Switzerland is that I want to visit my friends there, combined to have an excursion to some interesting places. I depart from Trieste by train via this route: Triste - Venice - Verona - Milan, it cost Eur 31. The train available for every hour and I departed at 17.15. It takes six hours from Trieste to the Milan plus some delay caused by the rain. The next is to get a bus to Chiasso from Milan, but it is not so easy. The problem is that I have arrived at Milan on 0 O'clock midnight, the only bus will go on 00.45 and the bus stop still unclear at the time. Once failed, I will have a long delay because the next train to Chiasso is only available in the morning, 7 a.m. After several times searching (it took almost 30 minutes to the bus stop), we find it and the bus is coming at 00.41, leaving Milano Centrale about 00.43, 2 minutes earlier. The following is location and map of Bus stop 236A to Chiasso from Milan.

Location of Bus stop, Milan - Chiasso, top: street view, bottom: location on the google map

Chiasso - Zurich - Bern

Riding the bus for about two hours, we arrived in Chiasso, a small city in Switzerland border to Italy. We have two waits until 5 am when the first train SBB CFF FFS to Zurich leaves it. Some people take sleep (I met some tracker there), and I wait to fajr to pray. Once finished, I prepared to enter the train which is already on platform 7. The train is very good compared to the Italian train, but the price is also expensive. It is Eur 88 from Chiasso to Zurich.

The best thing about riding the train is its views. And I got the perfect scenery on this journey. Some lakes in right and left sides of the train and the best one I pictured is lake Zug. It is about three hours from the Chiasso to Zurich. I arrived at Zurich HB station at 7.58 and actually, there is a train to Bern at 8.02 but I missed it due to the wrong platform being shown on the SBB android apps. I leave Zurich for Bern at 8.32 by train to Geneva airport, and after about 1 hour it arrived at the Bern which is the first station. I used that ticket because it also covers the journey.

Bern City

Bern is a small city although it is the capital of Switzerland. The best thing about this city is the easiness to access all of its area on foot. From the Bern station, I met a friend at the meeting point which is on the west side, we walk through the city for sightseeing. The Bern Zentrum is the center of the city. There is Einstein's house there. We also drink a coffee close to the house. Some cafes usually provide the toiler for the customer. However, most toilets are private, you should ask the shop staff to provide the key to enter the toilet.

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Aare river is the landscape of Bern. It is very clear hence, we can see the rudiment of the river in a certain area. Beside the river is a house of bears, they are four to five when I was there. Be careful, the bears are carnivores, they eat meat including humans. Don't fall down into the bear's area. The rest, Bern is beautiful, wonderful.

Once there, we have coffee time at Kramgasse, Bern Zentrum. This was, according to me, one of the best places for 'cangkrukan', a Suroboyo language which means to sit together while discussing and enjoying the coffee. You should try it, we have had coffee at Bistro Blue Cat GmbH, for as long as I remember.  You could also try the coffee at Einsteinhauss as I explained previously.

Interlaken (plus SpieZ)

The next visit is to Interlaken, a statistic town and municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the Swiss canton of Bern. It is an important and well-known tourist resort and takes about an hour from Bern. You can choose both Interlaken West and Interlaken east for the arrival, but I suggest you use Interlaken east for arrival and Interlaken was for back to Bern. This mountainous area with rivers is so beautiful then Bond was filmed there. Three mountain peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau were located in Interlaken that making this mountainous is such a great nature. For adventure, there is a cable car that can bring you to the top, or you can play with a parachute to brave your adrenaline. Interlaken is so beautiful.

There was also halal food available there. Even, some tourism information and promotion are written in Arabic and Chinese to attract the people. Some souvenirs are also available such as a t-shirt, swiss army, flag, key holder, magnetic sticker, and many more. About three hours we spent time there and continued to Thun or Spiez.

Actually, Thun was the first plan, not Interlaken. Because a friend recommends us to Interlaken rather than Thun, we change it. But, on the way back to Bern, we stop at Spiez to visit the lake. Spiez is beautiful, look at the picture below. You could stop at Spiez if the train staff didn't check your ticket, otherwise, you must buy a separate ticket: Interlaken - Spiez, and Spiez - Bern.

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Fribourg is a small city, home of Fribourg university which the Adolphe Merkle Institute is part of it. This small city has good local coffee, and we drink coffee there. The city also offers an old buildings that can be explored as in other Europe cities. I ended this Europe travel on the second day. Fribourg was a small and beautiful city, a perfect place for work. I back to Trieste via Bern and Milan. If you want to save the travel fund, you could use the local train separately to Milan and Trieste.

Back To Trieste

The train back to Trieste from Bern (from Fribourg) is rather expensive compared to Bern if we use the direct train, only transfer in Milan. It cost about EUR 180. If you want the cheaper one, take a separate train from Bern to Chiasso, to Milan, to Verona and finally to Trieste. It will cost about EUR 100.
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