Berenstein Bears or Bernstein Bears?

Trip Start Aug 17, 2010
Trip End Dec 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
Mario's House

Flag of Switzerland  , Lucerne,
Monday, August 23, 2010

Readers, followers, my faithful-- whatever you prefer to be called-- enjoy these plentiful updates now because once I get to Cairo they will probably be coming at you one week at a time.  Currently, I am sitting in my/Mario's room, enjoying the cool evening air from the window outside while I listen to wind chimes clink and clang on a very tranquil street.  Something about Switzerland is just so peaceful and relaxing; I am sure when I arrive in the constant hustle and bustle of Cairo I will miss it very much. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010
Special shout out to my baby brother who turned 18 on Saturday and is enjoying his new times at USC.  Side note:  While I am gone I will not only miss my birthday and Christmas in the US, but also every single one of my family members' birthdays.  Sad I know, but they will get cool birthday presents to make up for the loss of seeing me-- tragic, I know.

Anyways, Saturday was a mostly relaxing day around the Cozzio household.  The morning was spent preparing for a dinner party Bea and Franco were hosting, but about mid morning Franco finished up early and took Alexandra and me for a ride in the convertible.  Perfect is the only word that can describe how wonderful the weather was on Saturday, okay, maybe sunny and warm could describe the day as well.  Franco drove us to the castle where he and Bea were married-- yes, that is right, I said castle.  The castle was small but beautiful, set on a hill overlooking what is now a vineyard.  Sadly, I could not get any pictures because there was a wedding occurring on this day as well and I did not want to be rude.  Castles are not something you ever see in the US so getting to see my first ever castle was pretty cool, tomorrow I get to see one that is even bigger and better, so watch out for that post and those pictures later.  On the way home, we also stopped by an old battleground where Switzerland fought Austria-- apparently, Switzerland has not always been neutral.  A cute little chapel marked the spot near the battlefield and there was a mural inside that depicted the battle along with paintings of the coats of arms of most of the Swiss families that fought in the battle.  Outside, in a locked small shrine, there were bones of soldiers who fought in the battle.  It was strange, but neat at the same time; oh, and did I mention there was another wedding here as well?!  That is right, a wedding right next to a hundreds of year old battlefield-- perhaps the wedding for me?  (Really, I am just kidding)

Back at home I enjoyed the perfect weather outside by relaxing and reading a book until the guests came.  Dinner for the party included a feast of raw veggies, chicken, beef, and lamb, freshly prepared salad, mozzarella with tomatoes soaked in balsamic vinaigrette dressing, potato salad, and fresh cut bread.  Everything was so scrumptious, and the grilled meat was so tender that it could be cut with a butter knife.  Honestly, when I see a McDonalds here I am embarrassed, can Swiss food please come back to the US with me?  I have a feeling my grocery budget when I return to school may be a little out of control, but really, after eating real Swiss cheese how do you go back to the impostor referred to as "American Swiss Cheese"?  Dessert for the night was something like a raspberry meringue which was one of the best things I have eaten here.  It was whipped raspberries with cream and pockets of crust.   Saturday night us kids rented and watched The Hangover, which is funny in every culture. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010
Sunday started off very early as we got ready for a returnee brunch for Mario in Zurich.  I went with him since I am his host sister, but I could not understand much because even though everyone at the table spoke English (they had all been abroad for a year as well) only one girl felt the need to talk with me in English.  I am getting very used to listening to Swiss German, and sometimes if there is a similar word in English I can even pick up on what the conversation.  After brunch, Franco and Bea picked us up and then we went to the canton (state) of Schwyz, which was a short drive from Zurich, to see one of the largest churches in all of Switzerland, the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln.  Neither words nor pictures can describe the beauty of Einsiedeln, and sadly, because there was a mass, I could not take pictures of the inside of the church.  However, if you would like to see pictures of Einsiedeln, you can follow the link here:  .  The link I have provided starts at a picture of Einsiedeln's famous black Madonna, or Virgin Mary, but continue through the pictures and you can see the ornate detailed paintings on the ceilings and other various decorations on the inside of the church.  I will post pictures of the outside, but those are provided on the site as well.  While in Einsiedeln we sat in a cafe overlooking the church and had a coffee while we tried to wait for the service to end.  Sitting there, I came to the realization that the church bells of Switzerland are like the trains of Clinton, South Carolina.  Unless you live in Switzerland or Clinton, either can drive you crazy, but if you live in said places you become so jaded you hardly notice them.  I say this because while we were enjoying coffee, the church bells started ringing and literally rang for at least five minutes.  In Clinton, whenever people visit, they always notice the trains; however, PC students and others from Clinton get over the trains in about a week, unless they get held up by one.  After coffee and my sudden realization we headed back into the church to try to get some pictures, but alas, there was another service, so instead we stood in the back and enjoyed some of the mass, which I thought was very interesting because even though it was in German, I could still recognize some of the prayers.  In the end, Bea bought me a book filled with the history and pictures of Einsiedeln since I could not get any pictures inside of the building. 

Monday, August 23, 2010
Today was Mario and Ramona's first day of school for the new year!  The rest of us had a late morning and breakfast before we left for Switzerland's capital city of Bern.  Driving to Bern took about an hour, but it was completely worth it because the city is wonderful, like a mini Washington, DC.  First in Bern, we visited the Parliament building of Switzerland and took a tour, which at that time was offered in English and French-- Switzerland has four official languages:  German, French, Italian, and English.  In fact, during debates of the State (Senate) each member can speak in their own tongue and there are no translators; therefore, each member must understand all four official languages.  The building itself was gorgeous, sadly, once again no pictures because we could not take our cameras inside the building.  Even though Switzerland is such a small country, I would have imagined them to have a larger Parliament building, but alas, it was tiny compared the the US capitol.  Perhaps this was the only building in the US that is more finely decorated than its counterpart in Switzerland. 

After a quick stop at a cafe for coffee and pie we made our way through the city of Bern, which has covered passageways above all of the sidewalks.  Sidewalks in the city are lined with stores and restaurants featuring apartments overlooking the crowded streets.  Public streetcars are also everywhere, making transportation very simple and efficient.  We even passed by Einsteins apartment in Bern, which was neat because his window was marked with a picture of him staring out.  Just for you math and physics people, aka Caroline and Christine, I will include a picture.  Our walk ended through the city ended at one of the most famous sites in Bern, the bears.  For hundreds of years, bears have been kept in the city and are even in the canton's coat of arms.  Currently, there are four bears, two of which are adorable baby bears.  So, any kid that grew up in the 1990s automatically has their mind jump when they hear Bern and bears, after all, one of the most famous children book series of my childhood was the series including a cute little family of bears with a similar name, The Berenstein Bears.  Turns out though, the series was actually named after the authors' last names; however, I hold that the coincidence is too great to be real and I now dub the Berenstein family, the Bernstein Bears. 

Once again, I promise posts will not be so long and detailed once I get to Cairo, but thanks to you, the faithful reader, for sticking with me!  I really do appreciate your following along (as well as your comments ;) ).  Until next time.

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your favorite, hannah on

i can't believe you got to see einstein's apartment! even with my hatred of math and physics, that is still completely awesome. and i'm wondering if starbucks can even handle your needs when you come back with you having all of this swiss coffee? we shall see.

lacynoel on

haha. Yeah, I was like Einstein's apartment! So cool! I'm thinking the best bet for coffee when I return is to invest in an espresso/coffee machine and make it myself, cup by cup. Expensive, yet delicious. haha.

Mom on

Wow! You sure are fitting alot in a week. That's awesome! Wish I was there! Love and miss ya!

natalie Heath on

girl, this sounds awesome. i want to go to switzerland now.... even though your descriptions of the food lead me to believe that i would gain about a billion pounds. :) i hope everything is going well!!! :) i miss you!

bender on

for one, i'm proud to say you are my best friend due to the fact that you watched the hangover.

two i find it hilarious that you use the word coffee/cafe like it is a space in your blog haha. it's like today i went [coffee] and we saw the [coffee] and afterwards we [cafe] stopped by to [coffee] lol

this so far reminds me of the movie that just came out with julia roberts where she is having relationships with her food lol can you get a to go box??

love you lac!

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