Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bern and Lausanne Switzerland

An interesting opportunity brought us to visit Bern and Lausanne Switzerland. After researching the means of transportation, we decided to rent a car. We got a Peugeot 107, a very small car with a powerless engine on a very fast German Autobahn... kind of scary when we had to pass a semi-truck.

Bern is the capital of Switzerland with Aare river running through. The old town is filled with many fountains and a big clock tower. We walked around the old town and finally found a restaurant for dinner. We noticed that most of the bars and restaurants do not ban smoking. It was almost impossible to find one non-smoking bar or restaurant. It was hard to adjust after getting used to the non-smoking environment in German which follows the EU's non-smoking law.

Switzerland is more expensive but I still managed to find a reasonable price hotel with free parking and sauna. After a good night rest, we checked out of the hotel and were ready to go to our next destination -- Lausanne. But...our car key couldn't open the car door automatically, so we opened it manually (I mean with the key in the key hole). Then, we found out that the engine would not start either. That's when Josh realized that he left the lights on over night and the car was out of battery . My brain was going ...oh my~ here is another our car/road trip adventure!! Josh tried to open the hood when I read the car manual to figure out how exactly to open it... because Josh couldn't find it. One of the hotel guest helped us to jump the car but it didn't work. Oh my god... the problem is bigger than out of battery. What a piece of junk we rented I thought, while Josh called the Hertz rental car road assistant hot line. Josh explained everything and our location to Hertz and they promised to send someone over in 30 minutes. We waited for 20 minutes and then saw a stationwagen filled with all kinds of tools and lube in front of the hotel. Wow... that was quick!! I was expecting a 2 hour wait- like waiting for AAA in the US. The guy got our car started in no time and told us that there was a trick (push the key car to lock and unlock the car door before starting the car) to jump this particular type of car. If my German was better, I could probably understand that from the manual. I guess that I should study more. It took the guy a longer time to fill out the paperwork than fix the car but I had to say that the service was great!! I would rent a car from Hertz again.

We were amazed by the view in front of us when we approaching the city limits of Lausanne. In view were the French Alps with snow on the top and clear water at the bottom. We could not wait to settle into our hotel and soak up this fantastic view by the lake. Even the weather was nice. We spent most of the time walking by the lake and enjoying the rare sunny day. There were moments that we thought we could picture ourselves living in Lausanne.