Bernie in Switzerland - Travels With Bernie - CycleBlaze

Bernie in Switzerland

July, 2014

A year later, we were back in Bregenz.  Bernie had invited us to come back, but our attempts to call him had failed.  Finally we succeeded, by guessing that I had written down one "1" too many at the end of the number. Bernie is a mechanical engineering teacher, and luckily today turned out to be the last day of school. So he cycled from school to meet us at a restaurant by the Bregenz boat harbour.

Before heading for Hochst, Bernie took us for a spin around the sights of Bregenz. Bregenz  has a fun pedestrian street, but Bernie also took us up to the Oberstadt - the older part of the city, up the hill. This was an area with old walls and gates, and a church that also featured very old and faded frescoes.

On the way to Bregenz, along the lake shore. Cycling, of course, is huge in this region.
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With Bernie in Bregenz
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One building had been a prison. Bernie recounted that his grandfather near the end of WWII had been arrested for opposing the Nazis, and detained in this prison. He was then deported to Italy, and the family had no information about what had happened to him. When the war was ending, he reappeared - in rough shape, for he had walked all the way back, over the Alps.

There were happier images up there as well. I snapped a bride, for example, who was really doing the official photo session for her wedding. We passed as well an old hotel - the Deuring Schlossle - where we noted that you could get a ravioli type dish, for example, for 36 euros. A room was 300-400 euros. Not that much, really - we have seen higher. Bernie said that this is where David Bowie had stayed when he had a gig in Bregenz.

A wedding in Bregenz
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Up in the old town.
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Bernie outside the prison where his grandfather was detained by the Nazis.
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Bernie was married to Delia, who is originally from the Phillipines. He said he had sought her out at a gathering, because he admired the beauty of the people. When we finally met Delia, we could see what he meant. Delia and Bernie have a daughter Kathrin, and a son, Michael. Kathrin was working   in Schladming, for the sporting goods company Blue Tomato. She worked on, and appeared in, their catalog. Have a look, in the photo from the catalog.

Delia came from Phillipines many years ago.
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Kathi in the catalog
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Bernie has been to Canada several times, and brought the family to Vancouver, in 1986. They made one of those mock vintage photos there. Have a look at it - these guys from Austria and Phillipines look like real authentic Canadians of 1886!

Bernie and family in North America
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Bernie also took us to the nunnery where Delia works. The building is a former mansion and is very impressive. When we were there another wedding was going on, and I got to snap yet another bride.

We cycled finally back to Hochst, following Bernie through a variety of short cuts. We passed the Bregenzer Ach, a river that flows over a constantly eroding sandstone base. This has some great swimming spots, and Bernie would stop here on hot Summer days to cool off.

Delia had some supper  ready for us, and after we settled down to watch Germany defeat France in the World Cup. Then it was time to start writing this blog. I was doing it, when Bernie suddenly said "Hey, we could drive to Switzerland for an overview of the Lake". "What, at 8:45?" I said. "Sure!".

So we jumped in the car and soon crossed the Swiss border, which is formed by a branch of the Rhine. Two border officers, mostly redundant after the Shengen agreement, just waved us on. We climbed then, up to the Appenzell-Ausserrhoden canton. There we could look at not only the unique building style, but also look down on the lake. In the distance was Lindau, and over to the right, Bregenz, with the mountains behind it. From Lindau, moving left, Bernie named all the towns along the lake. Without him, we would never have go up here, nor have been able to appreciate what we were looking at.

Houses in Apenzell - Switzerland
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Looking over the lake at sunset
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We then asked Bernie to take us the next day to see some of the "real", or maybe stereotypical Switzerland. There are many places one could go for this. We gladly left it to him.

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