Tag Archives: Murten

Day 22 – Save the Best Bite for Last

More clouds and rain prevented further cycling. The day was thus spent running errands, shopping, shipping, and resting. After visiting the only place of Internet access in town, Raul and Lauren took the train to Bern. Here, they took shelter from the rain under the arcades while they shopped. The only shopping they did, though, was at a giant Coop. Their intent was to stock up on their favorite Swiss products and ship them home to be enjoyed later. They purchased soaps, syrups for juices, large jars of Nutella, and several kinds of chocolates. They looked for a hardware store in which to purchase a cowbell, but the tourist information person sent them to a “software” store instead–Apple. They spent a while at the post office packing their purchases into two large boxes and wrapping everything carefully in newspaper. They hope the boxes make it home.

Before returning to Murten, Raul got the location of a real hardware store 20 minutes from Bern by train. They plan to go there tomorrow. While they waited for the train to Murten, Lauren bought a chocolate muffin, and Raul said he did not want any of it. As she normally does, Lauren ate all around the muffin, saving the icing on top and the chocolate cream in the middle for one last, delicious bite. Then Raul greedily snatched it away and swallowed it whole. Stinking Raul!

In Murten, they strolled on the ramparts some more before finishing the night with dinner at an Italian place. It was a bit of a challenge with the drink orders. Lauren asked for tap water, and Raul wanted a bottle of carbonated water, as well as a glass of water with mint syrup. They were given a glass of still water with mint syrup for Lauren, and a glass of carbonated water with mint syrup for Raul.

A final note: Raul and Lauren are the only English-speaking tourists they have encountered in Murten. It’s nice to be away from the popular places for a few days.

Day 21 – Lauren Likes Tea for the First Time

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.

Confœderatio Helvetica
Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
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

Day 20 – Cute Bears

The original itinerary called for another night to be spent in Gimmelwald, but Raul and Lauren decided to leave a day early owing to the poor weather forecast. During breakfast, they could confirm that it would be another cloudy, rainy day around Lauterbrunnen Valley; indeed, the forecast even predicted heavy snow on Jungfrau.

They departed not knowing exactly where they would end up for the night. They had reserved a room in Murten, near Bern, for three nights starting on the 5th, but they weren’t sure if they could get their room a day earlier. While they waited for the cable car to whisk them away, Lauren made a quick phone call and confirmed that they would be able to sleep in Murten at Hotel Ringmauer tonight.

Raul and Lauren travelled without incident to Switzerland’s capital city, Bern. They spent a few hours strolling the beautiful city’s arcades. The arcades are covered, outdoor storefronts that evolved from the medieval practice of merchants setting up their wares along the streets. These temporary shops were eventually immobilized and expanded, becoming the arcades that exist today. They were grateful for the city’s plentiful medieval fountains, and Lauren finally was able to drink free tap water to her heart’s content. These colorful fountains (one of which features a child-eating ogre) were created by local artists after the Reformation when they lost their main patron, the Catholic Church. Their walk terminated at the city’s lovely bear park, where they spent a while watching four brown bears frolic, swim, eat, and nap. So cute.

The travellers took the next train to Murten from Bern’s huge train station. The departure board can’t display more than the next 20 minutes of departures because of the large volume the station handles. Once in Murten, they checked in to Hotel Ringmauer (“Ramparts”). It is thus named because it sits just a few steps away from the city’s medieval ramparts that served as its fortification, particularly in a battle against the Burgundian Charles the Bold in the 15th century. Nowadays, Murten is still a small town of 5,000 inhabitants overlooking Lake Murten. Its other medieval features, such as a tower, a castle, the city gates, and the fine main street, are well preserved. As in Bern, the main street is lined with arcades.

After viewing the town and walking along the ramparts, Raul and Lauren dined on fondue at Freiburger Falle. They both agreed it was a delicious fondue, due in part, perhaps, to the inclusion of Alpine herbs in the cheese. Lauren was also delighted that they served potatoes, as well as bread, for dipping. Raul loves to scrape the fried cheese from the bottom of the pot, and Lauren always tries to dissuade him. Just as happened in Luzern, Raul scraped it too hard, and a piece of cheese went flying out of the pot. For dessert, they had a stiff meringue, similar to that of Ebenalp, served with ice cream and warm berries. Supposedly, the meringue at this restaurant is baked for three hours in a wood oven by an 88-year-old grandmother. Delicieux!

Raul and Lauren walked down to the lake-front. There, they spent the rest of the evening watching a dog with a Frisbee and a young man flying a kite-surfing kite. He was almost dragged along the ground several times, so it was entertaining to watch.

Confœderatio Helvetica
Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 20 Monday 4 June Murten
08:00 Depart Gimmelwald for Bern on cable-car to Schilthornbahn station near Stechelberg
Total duration: 1h 52m
Saved S₣29,40
08:12 Bus 14108 to Lauterbrunnen
08:33 Depart Lauterbrunnen on R 130 to Interlaken Ost
08:54 Arrive Interlaken Ost, transfer to platform 7 on IC 962
09:00 Depart Interlaken Ost
09:52 Arrive Bern, leave bags in lockers at train station, self-guided walk
13:00 ▲▲The Berner Swim and Marzilibad if warm enough
14:30 ▲▲Museum of Fine Arts (Kunstmuseum), free, closes 17:00
Saved S₣7
Bern Sights
  • Self-guided walk or 1.5 hr paid tour, S₣20
  • Bicycle ride
  • ▲▲The Berner Swim and Marzilibad
  • ▲▲Museum of Fine Arts (Kunstmuseum), S₣7 or Swiss Pass, Tue 10:00-21:00, Wed-Sun 10:00-17:00 closed Mon
  • ▲▲Paul Klee Center (Zentrum Paul Klee), S₣18-22 or Swiss Pass, Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00, closed Mon

  • Tibits, self-service buffet, S₣20
  • Gourmanderie Moléson, French bistro, S₣30 two-course lunch, closed Sun
  • Restaurant della Casa, traditional Swiss, S₣22-36, closed Sun
  • Ristorante Luce, Italian, S₣20
  • Housi’s Brot-Loube, bakery, closed Sat-Sun
  • Restaurant Rosengarten, city views, S₣20-40
  • Brewery Restaurant, S₣16-24 lunch
  • Schwellenmätteli Restaurant, Mediterranean, S₣28-40
16:08 Depart Bern platform 12A on S5 15560 to Murten
16:42 Arrive Murten, check in to Hotel Murtenhof & Krone, S₣160/night (2 nights)
Tel: +41 026-672-9039
17:00 Self-guided walk, lakeside promenade
Lake cruise PDF timetables

Murten Sights