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After spending the day in Murren, we drove an hour to Bern, Switzerland.  Here we received two free nights at Holiday Inn by using points Dave received from a free credit card he accepted a couple years ago.  These two nights and our last night in Amsterdam were the only nights we did not stay with locals we found through the CouchSurfing website.  It is much more fun exploring an area with locals leading the way, but for Bern, we were left to our own devices.  Still, Andrew is very good at researching online for things to see and do, and we also acquired two maps that showed where everything was.

There is a train stop just across the street from our hotel.  At the train station in Bern, we saw some large pretzels for sale.  Andrew had never had one and enjoyed it so much that Dave also tried it.  Dave's only previous large pretzel was in New York City several years ago, and he was skeptical, since that one was not very good.  This one was delicious.  I guess the Swiss know how to make more than just watches and chocolate.

Along with a few dozen Asian tourists, we stood below this clock tower, the Zytglogge (tseet-klok-uh), awaiting its famous animations at the top of the hour.  We were a bit disappointed when we realized that each of the characters on the clock moves very little, and not all at the same time.  One or two move each minute before the top of the hour, and a couple move as the hour is struck.  Watching the other tourists was almost more fun than watching the clock, but it was still worth the walk to see this famous landmark.

The other thing for which Bern is famous are its many  fountains, many of which feature at least one bear.  The founder of Bern killed a bear, and that's supposedly why he called the town "Bern".  The bears that are on the fountains, though, are tiny, about the size of a German Shepherd.  Probably even Mela could take on a bear that size.  *teasing*

In the photo to the left, you can see that this street has fountains set approximately every hundred meters along its center.

Andre climbed to the top of the Cathedral tower for the view.  Dave did not feel that his leg could handle the walk up there as well as all the walking we were doing around town.

On the way back to the train station, we stopped at a local supermarket to stock up on chocolate.  Yes, Switzerland does indeed (in our opinion) make the very best chocolate in the world.  We purchased chocolate in every country we visited, and Swiss chocolate is the best.  It is even better than anything made in USA or New Zealand or Canada or Mexico.

By the way, this entire aisle, as well as another, was wall to wall chocolate.  yummy

As mentioned, we stayed two nights in the Holiday Inn here in Bern.  It was a wonderful room with a refrigerator filled with all kinds of drinks and goodies, all free, as well as a large bath and bathtub.

This is the view from our room our second morning, after the clouds cleared.  Yes, those are the Alps you see in the distance.  God sure did give us excellent weather for our visit to Switzerland.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Rhine River area of Germany

Lucerne, Switzerland

the Swiss Alps at Murren, Switzerland

Bern, Switzerland

the French Alps

Geneva, Switzerland

Lyon, France

Paris, France

Rouen, France

Normandy Beaches of France

Brugge, Belgium



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