Hills of Fribourg

We could tell just from walking to the hotel that Fribourg was even more hilly than Lausanne had been and we’d be getting a lot of cardio on our explorations. 

We checked in, dropped our bags and headed straight out to the Musée Suisse de la Marionnette, which was in the peninsular surrounded by the Sarine river. It is set in an old house by the river next to a bridge and has a cafe and tiny marionette theatre in it as well. We had some issues with buying the tickets as we had no CFH in cash and they did not take anything other than a strange local credit card. Luckily my friend had some Euros they were willing to take.

The exhibit is fairly small but wide ranging, we were expecting only to see Swiss puppets, but they ran the world with Javanese shadow puppets, Indian marionettes and others I didn’t recognise. They also allow you back stage on a small theatre to see how it is all controlled and there is another that is open for visitor use to put on a performance using some basic dolls. My friend refused to perform for me. 

Whilst interesting, it does not take long to see everything and i was with a small amount of embarrassment that we left, walking past the helpful receptionist, perhaps 20 minutes after we went in.

On the way to the museum we had passed Cathédrale Saint-Nicolas, a building originally from 1283, and later expanded in the 15th Century. It is an impressive building and as we were later to discover, its bells are very much in working order. At 7pm, whilst we were in the bar and updating my journal the bells rang for a solid 14 minutes. 

The route back into town, if we followed the route that had taken us to the puppet museum would have been a very steep climb, so we crossed the bridge and walked through a different part of town. In the end it made little difference, we had to get to the top of the hill where the hotel was and short or long, you are climbing the same height.  

Before we headed back to the hotel, we tried stopping in a bar for a drink, most were closed for some reason but we found one, Café du Marché, which was open. The waiter, or owner, was wild haired and wild bearded and when he wasn’t serving he was doing some kind of study, taking notes from a thick tomb of french literature. We had a beer and then headed back to the hotel, having decided to try out the hotel bar and give me a chance to update my travel diary as it had been two days and I was lagging behind.

We went out for dinner to Punkt, a Thai/Malay restaurant with good reviews. The portion sizes were incredible. my started of friend chicken pieces was in a bowl the size of two fists…. I also had a 3 curry trial for my started and we’d moved enough into northern Europe by this point the meal was quite mild, but each of the three curry bowls would have been enough for one person! The restaurant is famous enough it had two signed jerseys from Swiss football players on the walls.

We then went back to the hotel to watch a bit of TV, and listen to the bells, which rang every fifteen minutes until after midnight. It was with no surprise I noticed there were earplugs in the standard bathroom kit. 

There was no air-conditioning in the hotel room and the weather was stifling despite the rain throughout the day. The earplugs were too warm to wear but luckily I can sleep through most noise, even Churchbells driving away demons, though getting to sleep in the heat was a challenge.

We still got up at our normal time and headed down for breakfast, which was pretty much the standard European buffet, some cereals, some cold meats, breads and cheeses and a nod to the British and American guests with some bacon and eggs. 

We checked out and left our bags with reception to go to the Gutenberg Museum. Originally situated in Bern as part of the general cultural museum, the Gutenberg Museum was moved to Fribourg. The museum is spread over four floors, with the basement dedicated to the various workshops they do (Screen printing, book binding, and any other skill relevant to Gutenberg, its a fascinating idea). The ground floor houses their temporary exhibits, currently a series of mixed material works, a shoe made out of stone with fabric laces, a giant book with magnifying glass. It was interesting, but lacking context.

The top three floors cover the development of the moving type printing press, the impact and technological development of the written and printed word and how it facilitated the existence of bank notes (a floor per concept) It is not a very large museum, but a very focused on and the building is excellent. There is a huge focus on type, and type setting and it is well worth the entrance fee.

We then headed straight to Zurich along the motorway, perhaps the longest single drive we’ve done on this trip so far but we’d looked into Bern and didn’t see anything that really warranted us stopping. (Apologies to the people of Bern).