Murten, Fribourg, Interlaken

Biking is not my forte, but I trailed behind Kenny on a bike along the shores of Lake Morat.  Lake Morat is not as spectacular as Lake Geneva – nice, but rather plain of shape and surrounding mountains.
I never owned a bike as a child and my biking skills are minimal.  I am ok on paved surfaces, but country roads are a challenge.  As soon as my bike hits an uneven surface, the front wheel starts zigzaging, aiming for every exposed tree root, stone, and nettle thicket and hitting them bull’s eye.  The 2-hour bike ride left me in pain.  Can somebody give me a lesson on how to control my  front wheel?
After this strenuous exercise we left the hotel and went to take a look at the old town of Murten.  Murten is sitting on the language demarcation mark.  Some of the people speak French, but most speak German.  And that is reflected in the style.  Even though it is considered to be one of the prettier Swiss towns, it disappointed me. It had a castle, a clock tower, and nice-looking houses, but the overall impression was of kitsch.  All these pretty towns are turned into outdoor malls, and that’s ok when done in style.  Murten’s main street was a mall of cheap merchandise (Brooklyn’s 86 street, not Madison Avenue),  few uninviting cafes and boring store windows.
We walked the town up and down in half an hour and departed for the next town, also of mixed languages, Fribourg.
My very first impression of Fribourg was, “boring”.  The town is medieval, and all gray.  But delving into the heart of it changed my mind.  Fribourg is a portrait in sepia, all shades and shadows, different angles, levels, and elevations.  The beauty is subdued and more sculptural than pictorial.  Like many Alpine towns, it is hilly, and from the viewing platform we looked down at a panorama featuring a covered wooden bridge built in 1580 over a river rushing down the mountains, and tiled roofs against the background of an almost vertical rocky mountain wall.

One observation about Switzerland: I don’t understand where all the people are.  Except for the touristy spots, all living towns and villages are empty.  You can see only few people here and there, but streets are mostly deserted, very few customers sit in the few outdoor restaurants, stores close at 6:30 PM with the exception of supermarkets that close at 7 PM.  In Fribourg, a medium-sized city with a university, we saw less people then you would see even in Allentown on any given day.  I guess, the Swiss go from work home and stay there until it’s time to go back to work the next day.
Our next stop is Interlaken in Berner Oberland where we will spend the next thee nights.


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