Monday, January 16, 2012

A Walking Tour

After my two negative posts, I thought it was about time to talk about something positive. So this post is dedicated to the tiny little town where we live. 

I absolutely LOVE our town. I love the cobblestone streets, I love the old towers, I love the lake, I love that we have our own castle and even our own waterfall. This tiny little town has all my favorite things combined in one short walk. 

Since it has been freezing cold outside we haven't been on our walk often. When I was pregnant, we would make this walk a couple times each day, but now we are lucky to do it a couple times a week. Finally last week I was able to get a warm sleeping bag type thing for Lily so I can put her in the stroller and she will be nice and toasty. Now that I know she will be warm, we try to get out and do this walk daily. 

Nice and cozy
The walk starts with a short trip through the vineyards. Jack calls this the "kitty path" since we usually will run into a few cats who Jack loves to pet and sometimes he will bring treats to feed them. 

Scootering down the "kitty path"
From the vineyards you can see our castle in the distance (top left corner)
This castle was built in the 1200's and was much larger than what now remains. Apparently the original castle was abandoned and fell into such disrepair that it was going to be demolished. But in the 1800's they decided to restore portions of the castle and it is now owned by the city and some lucky family lives there.
Ariel view of the castle
If you look down the vineyard path towards the lake you will see the white church "La Blanche Eglise." This church is the oldest monument of our little town dating back at least 1000 years. The first mention of this church was in 866. It was a much smaller church then since the city did not yet exist, but grew several times as the population grew.
View of the vineyards, lake and the white church
An archaeological survey done on this area stated that the site on which this church stands was already occupied 4000 years ago.
Old tombstones in front of the white church
 Jack's favorite bench along the vineyard path. Every time we pass it he makes us stop and sit down.
Our little town makes it own wine so there are several wineries that we pass by. I have yet to stop in and taste any of the wine ... I still haven't really developed the taste for wine yet.
One of many wineries
We also have several fountains scattered throughout the town. Usually you can drink from the fountains here in Switzerland, but for some reason none of the fountains in our town have drinkable water.
Luke with our newly assembled double stroller
Another fountain that is just for looks. Can't drink this water...
The path down to the main part of town

Another fountain you can't drink from. Notice though that the engraving shows that this fountain is from 1896.
Cobblestone paths are not the easiest thing to ride a scooter on.
I love all the colorful buildings
Here is the first glimpse of the main part of town. The lower part of this tower dates back from the founding of the city in the early 1300's. In the 1500's the tower was raised to it's current height.
It is known as "La Tour Rouge" (the red tower)
Our local butcher
Originally there were only two entrances to the city. This was one of them.

Here we are passing through the red tower and entering the old city
When we first started looking for apartments in this city, I wanted badly to live in the old part of town. It is still my favorite place to be and if I ever want to go through the pain of moving again I will hold out until we can get an apartment in one of these buildings
There is a statue at both entrances to the city. Each date from the 1500's and both show a proud warrior...
...with his dog
Our local cheese shop
A nice little stream running through the town. In the summer the kids love to splash in here
The second fountain/statue
Another proud warrior and his dog (who is holding a gun)
Looking back through the town you can see the red tower

Right before you exit the city there is a big open square. This is where the local farmers market is held. This is also where concerts are held during the summer. And this is also where the toy library is. We are members of this library, and for a small fee Jack can check out all sorts of different toys to play with and then exchange when he's done with them.

The houses along the left side here form the outer wall of the town
Behind these gates is a narrow passage separating the houses. This is where people used to dispose of their waste water and other trash.
These alleys are closed to the public, but it is possible to go on a guided tour.
A peek down the wastewater alleys

These arched arcades can be a nice escape from the rain/snow
Here is the second gate as you exit the town towards the lake.
This tower "Tour de Rive" dates back to the founding of the city in 1312.

The doors are dated from 1660.
When the city was founded, the lake was much higher and at one point even flooded the city under 3 feet of water. In the late 19th century the three lakes (Neuchatel, Biel and Murten) and their rivers were connected and corrected to reduce flooding. Thus, the lake was lowered by several meters. Now, the shore is about 300 feet from the city wall.

Just across from the tower is the passage to the lake:

After passing under the bridge, you come right to the lake

This is a great path for Jack to scooter and there is a huge park for him to play
In the summer this area opens up as an outdoor restaurant with an amazing view over the lake
After walking the path along the lake, we headed back to the town. Here is a view from outside the city walls

Another view from outside the city walls. You can see two more towers.
After our walk we like to stop in a local restaurant for a nice hot chocolate before heading home.

And there you have it. One of my favorite places in all of Switzerland and I get to live here! Makes all the frustrating rules worth it :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow!!! These pictures make me want to come and visit you all even MORE! We have been saving our pennies. :) You guys are so blessed to have this experience!