Monday, 14 July 1952:
Helen was up in order to go swimming. I was going to go as well, but that was last night, not in the morning! I actually crawled out of bed at 10 a.m. and tried to finish the letter I was writing to Aunt Caroline and Anna.
Again we were off but this time to Berne via Neuchatel. I was waiting on the corner for the bus when it came rolling up with Florence and Alice. They had helped Andre clean the seats on our bus most beautifully. We were ready to go except for a little bottleneck, Bev had lost one of two engagement rings. Rumor had it that she had already lost one of her rings and had to replace the other one earlier. Nuf said it was just fodder for gossipers.
After awhile we stopped at Neuchatel for lunch. We tried to see a museum and some mechanical dolls. The buildings were closed on Mondays. Some of the Swisse people, especially through here, look like the people in Utah and Idaho. We just hit the German speaking section of Switzerland. I could tell by the signs. Next Sunday we were scheduled to give a program in German. Now back to the scenery where there was a covered bridge on the way to Berne. Then we drove through a beautiful forest.
Arriving in Berne, the capital of Switzerland, was as Swisse German as Geneva and Lauanne had been Swisse French. The clock tower had a bear symbol just below the clock. We found Hotel Poste et France right in the center of a shop with a desk on the second floor again. This time we nosed around the shops till our rooms were assigned.
After awhile we received a key with a great big ball attached so we wouldn’t walk off with it. My darling room 26 had great huge pillows for a comforter, just like last night. There was an extra settee lounge that was big enough for an extra bed with two big pillows per usual. The window flower box had petunias in it.
Later I nosed around the shops and got my money changed at a big bank across from the church. I went back to window shopping before the bus left for sightseeing at 5 p.m. Dickie boy came in with a huge bar of Swisse chocolate which he handed to me. All this fuss because I had fixed his pants. Gee, why how nice can you be?
Then we waited for two missionaries who were coming to be our guides. It was Everett Fisher from Rexburg and MacKay from Salt Lake. They came and we were off to the Swisse Capitol building which had symmetrical flower beds. Next was a 13th century Gothic Münster Cathedral which was Catholic at one time but now was Protestant. Both of these buildings were closed on Mondays as well. We caught a glimpse of bear pits where bears would fight. Before dinner we observed a gold clock with little men on the top hitting the bell on the hour. Finally back to the hotel for dinner.
Traveler Gives Vivid Picture of Swiss Alps, Chillon Castle
Letter to the Editor
Over the Swiss Alps through the Simpton Pass is a thrill and exciting and adventurous for the eyes watching through the windows of our bus as it slowly crawls up the paved slopes. The towering rocky mountains decorated with snow, the lower slopes draped in green and gold of farm patchwork design, and the foamy pale green stream below are objects of amazement.
Switzerland is merely a postage stamp size of a country on the map, but the cragged peaks and beautiful scenery are rated high with the travelers. Some go to Switzerland for health and rest, others for mountain climbing and skiing. It is always clean, comfortable and peaceful. Here the children are put to work early to learn that “life is earnest,” consequently we find a thoroughness and love of quality in their skills and trades. They are deeply united in their love of the soil and we see the whole family out pitching hay or bundling grain.
These mountain passes are somewhat of a natural protection to the country, but they are also well fortified with explosives. In so many places, we see the camouflaged mines and artillery. It would be absolute suicide for an enemy to attempt to enter. The Swiss mean to maintain their political and economic independence.
But we suddenly come to a halt. Why? The road has been washed out by mountain rains and heavy water. Taking the necessary baggage under our arms, on shoulders and head, we walk through the rural country along narrow footpaths, to the next town, Brige, so we can ride on the train up the mountain to Zermatt.
Zermatt is a beautiful little town at the base of the Matterhorn, where mountain climbers from the world over assemble, clad in rugged clothes, to accept the challenges of the mountain.
Early in the morning we hear the silver tinkle of small bells hung on the necks of goats being taken to their mountain pasture. I learn that, all summer Herman and Rudolph Truffler take care of the goat heard. As the patter along the main cobblestone street, other neighbors bring their two or three goats to join the main herd, of about 25 goats. We are reminded so much of the story of Heidi, especially when Little Sonja comes running out of the house to greet the goats talking to them, patting their heads and lovingly caressing them.
The chair lift, which carries passengers, two by two, up the steep mountain, or the real funicular, cog by cog, railway up to Gornegrat, offers a breath taking panorama of the wedge shaped towering Matterhorn and its neighboring peaks. With the silvery streams, hurrying on their way to the river below. Riffulhaus at the top must have been a great challenge to buildings of houses and trails. But homes on hills are most usual here and so picturesque.
Sunday was rather quiet at United Nations offices in Geneva. Perhaps the day lent a sanctity to our impressions of the place, as we were escorted through the buildings and grounds. The beautiful peacock resting peacefully in the doorway was a brilliant surprise which almost startled us. He was easily shooed into the sunshine to have his picture taken by the amateur photographers.
We did stir up a bit of mental activity, however when we visited the University of Geneva, where Jean Jacques Rousseau taught his stimulating philosophy. By the side of the first edition of his “Social Contract” was a letter from Leon Tolstoy, written in longhand in March of 1905, in which he accepts the invitation to become a member of the Rousseau Society, expressing sentiment of the elevation of the soul, saying that since he was 15 years old Rousseau has been master of his life with a beneficial influence.
Origin of Red Cross
Did you know that the International Red Cross was first organized here in Geneva? The Red Cross emblem is the revers of the Swiss national flag, which is a white cross on a red background. The white cross of Christian mercy on the battlefield of red.
“Eternal spirit of the chainless mind;
Brightest in dungeons, Liberty thou art,
For there thy habitations is the hear.”
The castle of Chillon reflects much tragic and revolutionary history. Both Rousseau and Byron have contributed to the glory of this old feudal castle. In the beautiful aqua blue of the water of Lake Geneva is reflected the warm color of the turrets and towers, which hold such a gruesome story (as well as romantic) of so many who have “appealed to God from the tyranny of man,”
Byron carved his name in the stone pillar to which the prisoner Bonivard was chained. In imagination we saw him lying on the cold stone bed, or being cast into the pit where only a slight gleam of light entered, twice renewed from the narrow slit in the thick stone wall or again we saw him hanging from the scaffold with weights on his feet. Foot marks in the stone below have been worn by the dropping prisoners.
Yet, from all the torture stories that these moats and walls tell, there comes the spirit of the harmonies of nature and in all fairness to this “chainless mind.” we must look to the future with Jacquest Barzun of this country of solid minds, when he says “the future may revive jollier times where in the life of the mind again seems desirable and needs no apology.”
—Afton A. Hansen
Just before dinner we dashed over to get tickets for Knie Circus before 7 p.m. People were lined up and we tried to find out about the tickets that started to sell at 7 p.m. “Parle Anglais? Parle Anglais?” Finally a man tried to help us. We decided on cheaper tickets for 2.75 francs. It was 7:15 p.m. by the time we got back from dinner which was delicious. It was my fifth time for french fries. My main dish was rare beefsteak. Some of the other kids said the tickets had sold out for the circus and they couldn’t get in.
Our seats were on the top row which was a good deal for the cheaper seats. We weren’t sure if we were going to have any seats at first, but the usher made the people move over. First act was comprised of white bears and black bears drinking milk out of bottles. The orchestra was playing “trink, trink” with the bears climbing up and sliding down a slippery slide. Then some of them went down the slide backwards. Then the clowns, four midgets and a big guy filled in while the scenery was changed.
The second act included animals with a big horse, little horse and three dogs. The dogs jumped from one horse to the other and finally all the dogs ended up together on one horse. In between the clowns appeared again.
The third act had two men that worked on the trapeze. A little boy, girl, big boy and two men took turns as well on the trapeze. A girl, who seemed to be the star of the show, did 50 somersaults without stopping. There were chorus girls with tails, a ballet dancer, and horse costumes.
The fourth act involved two men and a girl that performed the ballet, Slaughter on 10th Avenue, which turned into a comedy. They had a volunteer “plant” from the audience.
The next act showcased a juggler to Sentimental Journey with three balls. Then he juggled three hats and three books. In the sixth act the performers were five seals and a blonde trainer. The seals used balls and clapped their fins. The act also included tightrope walkers, old fashioned bicycles, red headed clowns, and three elephants. The elephants sat down and danced on the stools to the song My Foolish Heart. A girl rode on an elephant’s trunk. Another elephant climbed the stairs and walked the plank.
Leading into the seventh act was an acrobatic spring board act with two men, two boys, and three girls in a family affair. They sprang into chairs with three layers on top of each other.
The eighth act was a racing act with four horses, four Shetland ponies, four drivers in carts, two dogs and eight horses. Amazingly there was an acrobatic horse. A comedian act in German with a jack in box was the ninth act where I missed a few of the punch lines. The tenth act had six horses and six red-coated riders where the horses danced to music. The eleventh act included a little boy juggler. He was a wonder boy. He did just about every kind of acrobatic stunt imaginable.
At intermission a lady asked me in Swisse-French where the ice cream was. Of course, she asked the wrong person for information, but the right person for my love of ice cream. Then the last part of the show included an acrobatic water act with a fellow and girl covered with glitter, a blonde in boat, a big snake act that wound around her, a chorus with little snakes, clowns with one huge snake, a camera man pushed in the water, an alligator act and a fountain dealy. Hoola! What a finale! Finally back to the hotel to go to bed.