Switzerland Part II

Today we traveled to several towns in the vicinity of Fribourg. Our first stop was to see a Roman amphitheatre in Avenches. Build in the first century A.D., this amphitheatre is something out of Gladiator. Lions, tigers, and bears (oh my) were routinely used in the contests. The cages that housed the animals are still here. During the middle ages, the towns folk built a wall and tower over one side to serve as a prison and watchtower. The current inhabitants of Avench have now converted the arena into a more family oriented form of entertainment, opera, symphony, and theatre.

(Disclaimer: I still havent discovered most of the punctuation on this keyboard, sorry. Also, the z is where we usually put the y, so there may be a few switches.)

Next was the town of Murten along Lake Murten (or Morat, in the French). This is also a verz old town. The original ramparts (walls, battlements, and crennelations) still stand and you can climb to the top to gain an impressive view of the town and water, or you can look out at the surrounding hills and country. It was here that Adrian von Bubenburg, in 1476, managed to form a makeshift armz of 10,000 peasants to defend the citz of two thousand against Charles the Bold, who headed an armz of 20,000 invading Burgundians. Knowing the military limitations of his men, Adrian devised an unorthodox strategy - he attacked Charles (no longer so Bold) when his army was hung-over from a night of revelry. It was a rout. This was the beginning of the Confederation Helvtica.

A note on government. Switzerland is composed of 26 cantons, similar to US states, only they quite a bit of autonomy from the federal government. Each canton has its own education system, taxes, etc..... The Federal Council heads the federal government. Each member is in charge of a certain area (finance, diplomacz, agriculture etc..) and one member also serves as president for the term of one year. The Swiss, therefore, dont place much importance on the president (i know the feeling; sorry, i couldnt resist).

Onward. We stopped for lunch is Aarberg. Neat little town. You drive across a small, roofed bridge and the town opens into an enormous cobblestone courtyard, ringed by shops and restaurants. It was here I had to admit to one of my failings as a traveler- I am not an adventurous eater.

Just like Sherlock Holmes did not want to waste his brain power on subjects that did not directlz relate to solving crime, I do not like wasting stomach space on food Im sure I wont like. Couple this with the fact that I could not read anything on the menu (it was in German and Italian), and eating can be a very frustrating experience. I recognized a few words like basel and mozzarella, but that was about it. So I retreated to the one thing I recogniyed unequivocally: buffet. This turned out to be a mistake.

Unfortunately, I have to catch a train to Luzerne, so part 2 of this post wil be forthcoming to describe the remainder of my lunch debacle and the town of Bern. Stay tuned......

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