Monday, 29 May 2006

Between countries

In the spirit of May, a month jammed full of weeks shortened by public holidays, I took Wednesday off as RTT to give me a 5-day weekend in Basel with Chris. I caught a couple of trains to Paris and then Basel, leaving Rennes around midday and getting to CH that night. Chris was waiting and we headed back to his place for some swiss bread, french cheese, and australian red.

On Thursday we jumped on a train out to Rheinfelden, just east of Basel, and wandered around there for a while, including across the bridge to Germany for a coffee. It was my first time in that country, and I was struck again by just how easy it is to go between countries in Europe.

This was highlighted in the afternoon. We trained back to Basel, and jumped on a no. 10 tram, which Chris assured me had delights stored at the end of its route. Of course, the 10 has one stop, the second-last, which is actually in France, which meant that in the space of perhaps 3 hours we had passed from Switzerland to Germany, back to Switzerland, into France, and back into Switzerland again. Trippy. Anyway, the delights at the end consisted of a walk up a hill along a track marked with the stations of the cross. Alas, our faith was insufficient, and we made some turns near the end that denied access to whatever paradise awaited the true believers. Typical :) Still, it was a nice stroll.

On Friday it was back to France, on a day trip to Colmar, a small fairly touristy town in Alsace, about 40 minutes ride from Basel. We spent a few hours wandering around the old town, saw the canals and stuff.

Saturday started slowly, and it was after midday by the time we got out. Chris called Anjum, who had bought a new phone, so Chris was obliged to go out and get one for himself, which he duly did. That in hand, we jumped on a train down to Bern, changing in Olten and stopping on the second leg for a walk around Burgdorf, a very pretty, very clean, and above all very quiet little town just outside of Bern, with a nice castle overlooking a river and a newly renovated church. In Bern we made a beeline for Pickwicks and met up with Dave. From there we followed a path I suspect well-trodden by both, to Neal's, Papa Joe's, Les Amis, past Peri and down to Turnhalle. In keeping with tradition, much of the conversation throughout centred on the fairer sex, and it's obvious why. Bern just has a concentration of beautiful women that is above and beyond that of other cities I've been to. Its really not fair.

Ah. Anyway, after all that I caught my trains home to Rennes on Sunday. SNCF did their best to screw me around with delays, but I got there eventually. I think a little time not travelling will do me good at this point.

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