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Posts Tagged ‘Fribourg’

 

“If you want to find the trail, if you want to find yourself, you must explore your dreams alone. You must grow at a slow pace in a dark cocoon of loneliness so you can fly like wind, like wings, when you awaken.”
Francesca Lia Block, Dangerous Angels

 

After our leisurely start to the day “P” and I set off in glorious sunshine, with the top down and Sasha, the pooch ensconced in the back. The air was so crisp, the wind brisk, despite the breeze from our travel I didn’t feel in the least cold. It was invigorating and brought back memories of England.

I had absolutely no idea where we were or where we were going, apart from the promise that I would be dropped off at my hotel in Fribourg.  One stretch of our journey took us along a winding mountain road. There was a stream on my left, and I could hear the water rushing along over the sound of the wind in my hair. On my right was the mountain.

 

Suddenly, I saw the water rushing down the mountain, pure snowmelt, cascading over the ground towards the stream on my left. We pulled over to the side of the narrow road, just before a quaint wooden bridge where the water ran underneath. The roar of the water as it finally went under the bridge and joined the stream was louder than I expected. I could imagine the side of the mountain suddenly slipping down and washing everything away. The smell of ice crystals in the air was amazing.

Further along the snowmelt had made the road impassable and we carefully turned around and backtracked until we found another road to turn onto. Asked about lunch I realised the fresh air had made me hungry and we made our way to a small town in the mountains, Neuchâtel, and had a beautiful cheese fondue, for which the town is famous. Once again, gazing around at the scenery, it all seemed surreal, the backdrop to a movie. Everywhere I looked I saw either verdant green pasture or higher up, the snow-capped mountains. It felt like a peaceful interlude and I was truly grateful that “P” had brought me here.

It was a wonderful gesture, a gesture of true friendship. “P” had asked me what my plans were in Switzerland, especially Fribourg, which isn’t really on the main tourist route. I had made arrangements to meet up with friends there, however, just before I left Athens I received an email to let me know they had a family emergency and had to leave, an absence which they were unable to return from before I had to leave.

We finally arrived in Fribourg at day’s end and as “P” helped me get my bag out of the car he made me promise to return to Geneva early if I was lonely. Checking in to the hotel I found I was feeling tired, another first, which I put down to the bracing air and the car with the top down. After settling in and a light snack, once I curled up in bed to read I fell quickly asleep.

The next ten days past swiftly as I wandered around the ancient town.  Part of Fribourg is French whilst across the Sarine River is the German-speaking area of Switzerland. The Bern Bridge is completely covered and the only wooden bridge left today.

As I walked around I saw amazing examples of architecture from many different eras. The Cathedral of Saint Nicholas seemed to draw me almost every day.  It has been the Cathedral of the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg since 1945.

The narrow cobbled streets and cafes made it a beautiful place to stop for coffee and watch the world roll by. The time seemed drawn out and at the same time condensed as I was swept away in daydreams. Each day I would end my trip with a walk to the Zaehringen Bridge, 165m long over the Sarine River. Gazing at it I was always drawn to the cliff face and the sight of the many buildings clinging precariously to the edge. It seemed to embody the tenacity to survive that you can sometimes see when there seems no logical reason for them to be able to survive the winters for those many hundreds of years.

Only a short train ride from Fribourg was Lausanne, a beautiful city with the towering Notre Dame and Lausanne Cathedral.  It is actually a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. There are so many incredible buildings, historical buildings of note that I had a crick in my neck trying to take it all in. The gardens in the centre of town were full of spring flowers.

I saw “P” and his friend one day in Lausanne. He had called the hotel and asked if I would like to meet there for lunch, and even though I had been there only a few days before it was delightful to go back and have a relaxing lunch in one of the many cafes.  The trains are so quiet and fast in Switzerland that I was back in Fribourg in little time.  A quick trip to see the bridge and I was back at the hotel for the evening.

As agreed I left Fribourg early to stay in Geneva. The more metropolitan air was so different after Fribourg and as I walked around Lake Geneva I spent many hours pondering the differences we feel about certain places as we “travel through life”. I sat and watched the swans in their nest on the bank of Lake Geneva. Their regal bearing has always enchanted me and to see them so close, after such a long time was truly magical. I could see the Alps surrounding Geneva, felt the special quality in the air that only the Alpine air could provide and became lost in daydreams, or were they memories?

I saw ladies in ankle length gowns, men in tailored suits, walking leisurely around the lake. I heard the quietly spoken conversations, which must have been in French and yet I understood what they were saying. I felt as though I was walking along with someone, looking out of someone’s eyes, and seeing these things as though I was there.  I could see the old gaslights being lit along the walkway as the light began to fade.

I finally came back to myself, realising that I was going to be late meeting “P” if I didn’t hurry. It was strange, but hurry did not seem to be a word to use in Switzerland and I knew he wouldn’t mind if I was late.  None the less, this was my last night in Geneva and I had to leave the next morning to begin my journey home.

We once again talked late into the night, but this time I asked to be woken early so that we could make our way to the airport without worrying about traffic problems, which he said were common in peak hours. Just like any big city!

Leaving was smooth and effortless and as the cloudbank hid the land beneath me I caught one last majestic sight of the mountains, as their snow-capped heads rose above even the clouds.

 

Next week – Going Home

 

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

 

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