After a visit to Coop to purchase picnic supplies, Raul and Lauren went to the train station to rent a bicycle for the day. They wanted a tandem because it has always looked fun. They did a few practice runs in the parking lot. They were hilariously inept at balancing, and Lauren failed to overcome the feeling of constantly being on the verge of crashing. Riding a bicycle is about finding equilibrium with one’s own body; with two bodies on the bicycle, it was like trying to learn how to balance all over again. They took the bicycle out to the street and rode a few blocks. The straightaways were fine, but Lauren, sitting in the back, was nervous because she couldn’t see around Raul. Raul was also bad at the unnatural practice of communicating things like stopping and turning. Lauren was in full shut-down mode, so they decided it would be better to switch to individual bicycles. Having enjoyed the electric bicycles at the Transport Museum in Luzern so much, they were keen to take them out again. They made the switch and were finally on their way.
They followed the sign-posted bicycle trails to Avenches. This small town was once the bustling Roman city of Aventicum and shows the remains of an ampitheater, a sanctuary, a tower, a wall, and a theater. The ampitheater is Switzerland’s largest Roman ruin. There were few tourists in the town and the theater was particularly nice, being situated outside the city in the midst of large fields. They chose this ruin as the place to have their picnic. Swiss children have the best field trips: there were no less than two separate groups here, a French-speaking one and a German-speaking one. The kids were running, climbing, and having fun all over the natural playground of the ruins.
After visiting the Roman city wall, Raul and Lauren continued clockwise around Lake Murten. It is one of the flattest areas they’ve been in, but hills and mountains are always visible in the distance. This region has been very fertile since Antiquity–that’s why the Romans settled here.
The cyclists were especially grateful for their electric bicycles when they had to climb the 653-meter Mont Vully, a small mountain covered in vineyards across the lake from Murten. They rested and enjoyed the views from the top of Mont Vully. They crossed paths with a number of cyclists, some tourists like themselves and others the serious, spandex-clad kind. Serious, because they never smile and always look pompous, since they don’t rely on the electric assistance. All told, they rode about 30 miles over six hours.
This evening, they dined at Restaurant Anatolia, a terrific Turkish eatery. Once again, they found that the best service comes from immigrants. They had a pleasant conversation with their waiter, whose parents own the restaurant and immigrated to Switzerland from Turkish Kurdistan. They particularly enjoyed the dessert with sweet apple tea. Lauren, who dislikes all teas, actually loved this one, since there was no “tea” taste.
|Day 21||Tuesday 5 June||Murten|
|08:30||Ride bike or train to Avenches|
|10:00||Tour Roman ruins and museum, all free|
|13:00||Return to Murten via bike or train|
|14:30||From Murten, continue around or across the lake on bike or ferry, to Praz|
|16:00||From Praz, hike or bike up Mont Vully|