Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Freezer Berne

On the last day of 2008, Martello and Trofie Wife set their sights beyond Zurich, opting to spend the day in Berne, just about an hour away by train. Our first stop was a Merkur chocolate store, where Trofie Wife fully recovered her chocolate sense and sensibility (and even threw in a packet of pink marzipan; more on that later). As we headed outside post chocolate binge, the weather gods seemingly sensed our presence (and lack of boots), and thus immediately sent down snow. Despite the slippery cold, Martello led us on a lovely Lonely Planet walking tour, which included such stops as the Müenster and its adjacent park, where Trofie Wife inspected the playground equipment, as well as Berne's famous fountains (the ogre-eating-children one is a fan fave).

We next paid our respects to the famous Berne bear pits (bears are the city’s symbol; don’t expect to find Stephen Colbert nearby anytime soon). However, instead of two bears (one in each pit), we were surprised to find only one—Pedro the Barcelonan bear. Apparently, the city is in the process of building a new, spacious grazing area for the bears; Pedro will have at least one additional companion following the park’s opening. Zurich Sister warned us that the whole thing was depressing (a veritable bear prison), but Pedro seemed to be in fairly good spirits given his surroundings. He really enjoyed the food that another tourist proffered (you can actually purchase “bear food” to throw down to him!).

Our main destination for the day was, surprise, surprise, design related. Through the snow, we trudged to the Zentrum Paul Klee (for some reason the bus route was stopping short of its termination point—the Zentrum Paul Klee). Prior to exploring the two featured exhibits—one focused on Klee’s various work spaces and the other on a prominent Japanese collector’s Klee collection—we had an absolutely amazing lunch of pumpkin soup and panini; if we ever make it back to Berne, I will have to enjoy a sit-down dinner in the adjacent restaurant (Restaurants Schöngrün, can we interest you in opening up shop in Arenzano or New York?). Our bellies sated, Martello relished the museum’s architecture (and once she had hit art overload, Trofie Wife was grateful for the little hot chocolate machine and comfy bench). With the end of the year nigh, the rest of the stops on our list were shuttering for the holiday, so we decided to head back to Zurich; the train was filled with champagne-sipping revelers prepping for a night out.

Upon returning to Freiestrasse, Martello and I commenced a pig off (yes, I will explain).  See in Switzerland, pigs (so cute and dear to Trofie Wife’s heart) are symbols of good luck. Neighbors and friends gift each other with little pig candies, toys, and cards to symbolize their best wishes for the New Year. But instead of purchasing ready-made marzipan pigs in honor of ’09, Trofie Wife thought it would be more fun to make her own out of pink marzipan paste. Apparently Martello, with his “professional training,” believed he could craft a better pig than Trofie Wife, despite the fact that he abhors (hee, hee) them. Here’s how they turned out; you can judge for yourself:

Yes, Martello’s might be more “realistic,” but mine looks friendlier.

With the kids put to bed for the last time that year, the grown-ups had a lovely New Year’s Eve dinner, followed by firework viewing on the roof at midnightish. Martello and I had considered viewing the fireworks lakeside with all the other young'uns, but we decided it was just too cold. The ragazzi then turned in so they could rise early for another day of skiing, sans Trofie Wife. Instead, I spent the first day of 2009 with my sister and the kiddies, encountering a series of unfortunate household events involving the marzipan pigs, wine bottles, chicken grease, and the resulting trauma of washing pants before checking pockets (luckily, all of these issues were eventually resolved).

auf Wiedersehen, 2008!

Baci e gelato,

Martello e Trofie Wife

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