Rösti in Bern and Ankle Injury in Geneva

Posted on October 29, 2010 by Holly Hayes
Part of: UK and Western Europe

Thursday morning we left Lucerne for Geneva, at the far west corner of Switzerland, which was about a 2.5-hour drive. But we broke it up with a stop in Bern for lunch.


Bern is comfortable and familiar to us, as we've visited more than once and spent several days there. The most important benefit of this? We know where to get the best rösti!

This is the place: Restaurant Anker. I don't think it's ever been warm enough to eat outside before, so that was an extra treat.

We both got the Winzer Rösti, which is potatoes with ham, cheese and an egg on top. It was outstanding. And also very rich - I only ate about half of mine and still felt a little sick afterward. But totally worth it.

Interior view of a Winzer Rösti.

After lunch, we took a quick walk through the Old Town to the cathedral so I could add a few more photos to my collection.

Saw this on the way - looks like my kind of place!

Main street in Bern's Old Town

Plaza behind the cathedral, with dizzying views over the edge

Bern Munster, with scaffolding...

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Interior views

The famous Dance of Death window, teaching that death comes to people of all walks of life

Choir stall with initials and seal


And we are now in Geneva, where we are staying two nights. It was strange to leave Bern, where German is still spoken, and an hour or so later arrive in a fully French-speaking culture without even crossing a border. I know more French than German (which isn't saying much), so it has been somewhat of a relief to be in a French-speaking city, but as usual it is a difficult transition. The day we arrived, I ordered some to-go pasta in French, and even successfully understood and answered a couple of simple questions, and was feeling pretty proud. Then he handed me the food and I said, "Danke. Uh, I mean, merci." And yes, that middle part was spoken in English. Smooth, non*?

We are staying at La Cour des Augustins, which is a "design hotel" - that means there is a lot of art.

In good company in the tiny parking area


David demonstrates the computer for public use in the lobby

Our room, #205

It even has a little kitchen, which is great.

It's really fun. It's also the most expensive hotel of our trip - apparently Geneva is the 5th most expensive city in the world! It's a good thing we're not staying long. We've also made up for it by eating every meal at a nearby fast-food pasta place (where I had the above language adventures), which has been nice and cheap. It's also been a nice change from all the long sit-down meals and the rich German-Austrian-Swiss food we've had for the last couple weeks.

My dinner the night we arrived: fusilli bolognese from "Mezzo di Pasta" and a tall chai latte.

The evening we arrived, we went our separate ways for a couple hours - David to wander at leisure and me to take some photos of the Reformation Wall. Then we set out together this morning for more wandering and photos.

Good times on a merry-go-round behind the cathedral.

Lake Geneva, with the famous Jet d'Eau (a massive water fountain)


We were having a great time, and had just begun walking along the lake in the sunshine, when disaster struck. This stupid little ramp came out of nowhere while David was looking at the water, he stepped off the edge, and - pop! - sprained his ankle. That's bad news. He has sprained the same ankle several times before, making it easy to sprain again. He always worries about it and tries to be extra careful, especially while we're traveling, but for crying out loud, you can't look at the ground constantly and this ramp was nearly invisible.

Thankfully he could still walk, but barely. He seriously considered plunging his ankle in the clear, cold lake, but was afraid he wouldn't be able to move it at all once it was cold. So we slowly made our way back to the hotel instead. Fortunately, there is a good tram system and our hotel had given us free passes, so he only had to walk a couple blocks to the tram stop, then a couple blocks home.

On the way to the hotel we spotted a pharmacy, so we stopped to get a walking stick! He would have loved to have a cool wooden cane, and I've been keeping my eye out for one, but in the meantime he has a functional orthopedic one made in Germany. It's too short for him, but it still helps quite a bit.

Then we asked for ice at the front desk of our hotel, and they brought up a perfect pack of ice, double-wrapped in strong plastic bags. We got that immediately on his ankle, then I went back out to get a compression bandage, cold drinks, and lunch. Fortunately I was able to find all three not far from our hotel, despite having to use my limited French at the pharmacy - turns out I don't know the word for "ankle."

By the time we'd had lunch, carefully slipped the brace on, and found that he could fit his baseball-sized ankle in his shoe, he'd had about enough of looking at the sunshine from inside the hotel room. So he determinedly hobbled back to the tram and we returned to the lake shore to enjoy the sunshine as originally planned. I'm so glad he was still able to - he really likes Geneva and had been looking forward to enjoying it.

David found a bench by the water and watched the swans in the sunshine while I got us a cold drink, then we walked slowly down the promenade a little further. As luck would have it, we came across a little tourist train that was departing in five minutes, so we hopped aboard and had a nice little 30-minute tour of the waterfront.

Then David took the tram back to a park to read on a sunny bench, while I got some photography work done at the cathedral and Reformation Museum. I met him in the park later, after he called to warn me that the sun was fading on the Reformation Wall, which I'd planned to photograph in the evening light. What a guy!

Back at the hotel, I got us dinner from the usual pasta place and he's been obediently icing and elevating his ankle for the rest of the evening. I'll save photos of Geneva for tomorrow, as I plan to take some more pictures in the morning. We are both very much hoping that David is fit to drive to Zurich tomorrow! He's the only authorized driver on the car, and moreover is far more qualified to drive through a busy European city than I am.