|eating in Bern|
I had a funny experience on the train from Mulhouse in France to Basel in Switzerland, 20 minutes away; I got border controlled. Since German customs stamped my passport back in December, I haven't had had any further encounters with customs, when flying between Schengen agreement countries the airline has just glanced at my passport to make sure I am who I say I am, and I've never been checked travelling between countries on the trains, so it was quite strange! A couple of French customs guys got on the train, and I guess because I had my huge bag with me, I was the one they picked to interrogate in that carriage. Interrogation was as follows:
French customs: Can I see your passport please?
French customs: This visa is for Spain
Me: Yes, I am doing a working holiday there
French customs: Do you need a visa for France?
French customs: Do you need a visa for Switzerland?
French customs: Ok, then enjoy your trip
Wow. Pretty sure it should have been that guy's job to know whether or not I needed visas. All of a sudden I have no sympathy for the French complaining about their illegal immigration problems, they should stop hiring muppets to patrol their borders.
|Burger King tray in different languages, Basel|
|Clock in Basel (urinal on side)|
|Cellar-shops in Bern|
We saw the capitve bears, the motto of Bern, like many other cities here in Europe, but that was actually a little sad, their enclosure in the centre of Bern is a long way from old Orana Park. In the middle of Bern is a famous fountain, called the Kindlifresserbrunnen, or Child-eater-fountain. This fountain shows a ogre stuffing a naked kid into his mouth, holding a bag of other children at his side. Pretty gruesome really, apparently its an old carnival figure they use to frighten children. We had some Swiss beer and meals, sausage and potatoes, and then jumped on a train to Zurich.
That evening we headed to an AFS meeting, where Corine underwent training to become a support coordinator for a Chilean boy. It was really bizarre to sit there and listen to the training in German, but using the same resources that we had in NZ. I had to laugh when they were showing how to file reports on global link, how you have to select a rating for the students, its a funny thing to see getting shown to a student that you used to rate! It is really amazing though and it makes me so proud, to see a student who came to NZ as a 16 year old and grew up and changed so much, became so mature, who is now an adult driving and working and taking responsibility for an exchange student herself. About half of the students I used to look after are now volunteering themselves, it's great. It was also really great to see that everyone in the room was a youngish returnee, I am a big believer in using young people as volunteers.
|the postbox in the bar|
|Me in Zurich|
|Corine with her plans!|
Switzerland photo album on Facebook is here, I might even have a good enough link this time that you don't even need facebook to look at them! Try it.