blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Memories come alive

The little train where my children used to play (the Rosengarten)
Since we arrived in Bern last night it's been nothing but a grand nostalgia tour for Chris and me, with the ghosts of our younger selves and of our children's very young selves hovering around the cobbled squares, under the arcades and particularly in the green spaces from which the spectacular chain of snowy Alps (Eiger, Moench, Jungfrau, Bluemlisalp, Finstraahorn, Schreckhorn) can be seen: Bern's world famous Alpenblick. We were up on the Gurten today. It still has the miniature trains and bumper cars at the Kulm. It still has the Jersey cows in the meadows full of wild flowers. This month the cowslips and clover, buttercups, marguerite daisies, scabeous and dock are in bloom. The birds and the crickets were singing lustily (I think that's the right word for it). On a hillside in the distance I saw a yellow postbus making its slow way down an otherwise empty country road. We didn't ride on a postbus today, but we did use the Number 9 tram and the Gurtenseilbahn.

View of some of the Bernese Alps from the cemetery 

This morning we stood on the Muenster-platform looking down on the rapid Aare river, turquoise with glacier water, and from there came wandering down the hill from there to the Nydeggerbruecke and Baerengarten, much nicer and more extensive than it used to be. The bears now have real trees to climb, grass to lounge on and some river water if they want it, not just the concrete bear pit where they used to be confined. The cobbled path up the hill from that corner is steep enough to make you puff and perspire; it leads to the Rosengarten which was the one thing I wanted to visit without fail during my stay here. I'm lucky; as I'd hoped, the azaleas are in full bloom. There's an Alpenblick from here too, and from the city cemetery where Paul Klee is buried, across the Ostermundigenstrasse, opposite the block of flats in Galgenfeld where we used to live.

Bolligenstr. 26B, "our" flat
We found Bolligenstrasse 26B without any trouble at all, but someone had put lace curtains in our windows and the garden plants were bigger than they used to be 30 years ago. The block of flats looks smaller than we remembered; so does most of Bern, actually. Places we used to frequent with two small children seem to be much less far apart now. There are  more residential and industrial buildings between Galgenfeld and the Ostermundigen Hochhaus, these days, and the PTT has become SwissCom. The high hill called the Bantiger and the Gurten, and all the peaks of the Bernese Oberland, still look the same. Mountains are not absolutely immortal, but they're a lot more durable than us and the things we make.

We had lunch at a quaint little pub near the river under the Nydeggerbruecke, called the Muelirad. I had Bratwurst mit Roesti.

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