Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Biel/Bienne, the only city I know with a slash in its name

Ah, finally getting around to my backlog of travel posts.

My sister Colleen and I took the girls to a little town in Switzerland, Biel/Bienne, in mid-June. God, that seems like a lifetime ago.

Biel/Bienne is located on the border of the German and French speaking regions. Hence, the city is known by both its German and French names. And the official city name includes a slash. I wonder if they jazz the slash up a bit on letterhead?

Anyway, we found super cheap tickets on SBB's supersaver website and decided to check it out.

First class tickets were cheaper than second class for our trip there so we took advantage of that as well. It was lovely in first class. Very quiet. I'm sure all of the business men sitting in the car with us were thrilled we were there with a three year old and an infant...

Anyway, our first stop on our rainy day trip to the city was Magglingen. A funicular takes you up to this town (438 meters/1,437 feet) and is located a short walk away from the Biel/Bienne train station. It sounded interesting so we checked it out.

There wasn't much at the top but we quickly concluded that some sort of training center was located there. How? By the training clock located near where the funicular dropped us off and the abundance of people in great shape. A quick google search at the end of the day confirmed it- the Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen SFISM (aka the National Sports Center) was nearby.

After seeing all of these people in great shape running and biking, we decided to get some chocolate and drinks. Naturally.

Oh and enjoy the view of course. Which we kind of did...

before the clouds rolled in.

It wasn't really all we had hoped it would be so we decided to head back into town and check out the Old Town, or Altstadt.

We were treated with a beautiful walk on our way (no rain was a bonus).

And then we treated Marion to an ice cream dessert after lunch. She promptly got a brain freeze.

It was actually pretty funny to watch her clutch the sides of her head and exclaim, "My head! It's cold!!!!!"

It is those moments that make the three year old sassiness bearable.

Finally, we walked around the Altstadt.

Three fountains were placed around the Altstadt. I loved these fountains; the facial expressions were so lifelike and emotive. They really stood out from all of the other fountains I have seen in the past year.

After our quick stroll, it started to get nasty again. We walked back towards the train station and were reminded on our way that there was definitely some French in this town!

When the rain started to get really bad, we picked a cafe and spent the rest of the afternoon eating and drinking while we people watched and waited for our train. Honestly, one of the best ways I know to spend an afternoon!

We had the kids with us so didn't bother with any museums. However, I have read that they are pretty good in this watch making town so if you end up there, check them out!


Hoppy said...

Neat-looking place! Love the fountain statues!!! Love to all.

Anonymous said...

Hello from London!

Biel is a nice little town!
Rather idyllic too!

mrsmac said...

Hoppy- the fountains rocked!

1ondoncalling- i definitely agree!