Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Saturday to Recharge Our Batteries


Swiss citizens travel an average of 2,258 kilometers/1,403 miles by rail each year. That is by far the higest national average of any country in the world.

After all of our train traveling the last four days, we opted for a day of semi-rest on Saturday.

In the morning, Laurie did some laundry while I tried to catch up on my overdue blogging.

In the afternoon, we decided to head down to the Aare River to relax in the shade for a bit before doing some shopping as we were low on supplies in Helvetica.

When we got into town, we found some unusual hijinks going on off of one of Thun's main vehicle bridges.

Two kids were on the wrong
side of the railing

They were quickly joined by three
other boys and this girl

There she goes!

All six of them jumped off the bridge into the refreshing Aare River's waters. As the day progressed we saw many more youngsters jumping off of every bridge on the river in Thun!

Where to?

Some got out earlier but most
floated to the Flussbad Schwäbis 

This was the river water park where we were headed and after we picked a nice spot to set down our towels under a big shade tree, guess who showed up to sit right next to us?

It was the six kids who had jumped off the bridge earlier, all safe and sound thank goodness!

Most people just got into the Aare
right inside the park 

The floater's finish line

These combination ladder and hand holds are the final stop for all of our floaters. They stop a bit abruptly but they all seem make it without too much trouble.

After going to the market, we got home just before the skies opened up with a flourish with . . .

HAIL and a . . .


Biker Fun on a Thun Saturday

It was over

This intense storm lasted for the better part of an hour, the weather changes fast in these parts.

Good news from the SAFB website as they reviewed their stance on the outcome of our cancelled game last Sunday in Fribourg.

They are no longer calling it a 0-0 tie but a cancelled game as it should have been in the first place. Thus, the revised NLB final standings and records are:

Final NLB Regular Season Standings:
Basel Meanmachine 10-0
LUCAF Owls 7-3
Luzern Lions 6-4
Thun Tigers 4-5
Geneva Seahawks 2-8
Fribourg Cardinals 0-9

Farewell to France

Friday was our last day in the city of Avignon, France. Our high speed train that would start our journey home to Thun would not leave until 1:21 p.m. so we still had a morning to continuing our exploration of this delightful city in Provence.

It was a warm morning! 

Again for my American friends, this equals 98.6º F and it was only 10:30 a.m.!

Great Hotel for Seniors (60+) 

Our well located Hôtel Mercure Cite des Papes considers anyone over 60 years of age a Senior. They pride themselves on their catering of we older folk. Breakfast in the very good hotel restaurant costs an additional 8 Euros per person unless you are a Senior. If you are a Senior by their defintion then the breakfast buffet is free.

Free is a good price.

I had trouble convincing the restaurant staff that Laurie was a Senior and not the ingenue they thought her to be.

Avignon also wants the U.S.
Embargo to be revoked! 

While I checked out the façade
of Avignon's old theater . . .

Laurie shopped for more
high end jewelry

While she shopped,
I found him . . . 

 . . . and him

Classic Citroen

When you see one of these, doesn't your brain just strato-streak to a movie scene somewhere in France?

Or maybe it's just me.

Quiet Avignon backstreet 

During our fun evening talking with Michel over a bottle of wine on the Rue des Teinturiers yesterday, he mentioned that we really needed to visit Avignon's famed indoor Les Halles Market that replaced the town's former open air market a few years ago.

So we did

The center aisle in Las Halles is called the Rue des Temptations for a reason! On one side are cafés, bakeries, vegetable and cheese shops. On the other side you'll find meats and fish of all types and aromas.

I LOVE sausage!!! 

Interesting Breaded Meat Loaf 

Pop Some Heads?

They've got teeth

French Cuisine is all about
the spices . . .

Beautifully displayed spices

Vegetables are a must 

Red Onions

For some unknown reason, we can find these for sale in Switzerland.

always a nice garnish

Unusual Vegetable Pastry

NOW we're talking . . .

talking LOUDLY . . .

YELLING perhaps . . .


Amazingly, I only looked.

Self-discipline is my new motto!

Still I am always up for a good loaf of bread . . .

French Bread 

Baguette after . . . 


Some many aromas, so little time . . .

While the Women Folk shopped,
the men had coffee and a good time

One of the joys of living in Europe is finding a market like Les Halles to buy fresh food on a daily basis. I have been fortunate to find markets like these, albeit on a usually much smaller scale, in both Sweden and Switzerland.

Sicily, on the other hand, had a HUGE market that was much bigger than Les Halles, not to mention the locals selling their wares on many street corners.

We continued walking the backstreets of the City of the Popes and were rewarded with more incredibly good looking desserts like . . .

Candied Fruits and . . . 


We even ran into this street

I took the opportunity to Google St. Kevin and found out that there is indeed such a saint. He is known as the founder and first abbott of Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland.

He was known as St. Cóemgen and died in c.618. In the more modern Irish tongue he is St. Caoimhín. His named was anglicized to St. Kevin at some point.

So, with apologies to our oldest grandson. It looks like we are going to have to visit Ireland in order to find streets named for St. Kevin and/or paintings and statues of this Irish saint.

What were the odds? 

Laurie's favorite store for purchasing creams and lotions back in California is L'OCCITANE EN PROVENCE.

Who would have ever guessed she would find one here?

I found lions

As we turned up into Place de L'Horloge, we came upon the many outdoor cafés that dominate this square. Most were empty due to the heat and the fact that it was still a bit too early for lunch . . .

Still the tables are . . .

Colorful . . .

VERY Colorful indeed

We ambled back to our hotel to check because we it was time to get back to our . . .

A Tiger fan in Avignon?

Our playoff bound U-19 team had a 7:30 p.m. practice that I did not want to miss, so . . .

We were off the Avignon's
TGV Train Station 

We had a five hour and 31 minute journey to get back to Thun in time for me to load Laurie and our one piece of luggage with wheels onto Thun's #31 bus, back up to Helvetica, as I caught the #5 bus to practice.

If it all worked correctly, we would pull into Thun 38 minutes before practice.

The French high speed TGV train left right on time and got us into Lyon a minute sooner than schedule. The French train from Lyon also departed on time and arrived in Geneva five minutes early! 

AWESOME!!! The French train system's reputation is improving quickly in my estimation.

Back on precisely timed Swiss trains now, I knew that I would get to practice without a hitch. The train to Bern was on time as expected and we boarded our fourth and final train for the 20 minute ride to Thun.

Then the unthinkable happened. The appointed time came for us to leave but we didn't move.

We didn't move for 35 minutes!

It seems that they could not find a driver for the train. We boarded the next train to Thun and after taking care of Laurie, I arrived at practice about 25 minutes late.


We had a good U-19 practice!

Not as many players in attendance as I would have liked but the ones suited out played hard and fast.

I am looking forward to the U-19 semifinal playoff game against the Zürich Renegades U-19 team at our home field in Frutigen Sunday.

There are 16 U-19 teams in Switzerland. Six are part of the NLA, the Swiss League's top division. The other ten squads form a league that combines the ten NLB and NLC teams. Only four teams, two from NLA and two from NLB/NLC, made the playoffs and our Tiger cubs are one of them.

Play hard and have fun Tigers!

Reading is FUNdamental

So dark.

So good.

So final.