Bern Switzerland, where my longtime fathead friends reside

25 years ago Pauline McNamara (urwombat, soccer playing, mechanically gifted young thing) picked up and moved to Switzerland.

Her first job was wrenching at Visionen, Butch Gaudy’s seminal cycleshop.  She also raced in the pro women’s category in all the big fat tire races in France and Switzerland, went to University nearby for a masters in Geography, and picked up a Swiss residency permit (nearly impossible for Americans, but Po can Do Stuff Like That, because she Understands How Things Work).

OK; so fast forward a few years….Grundig World Cup brought me to Switz. and I got to see Pauline when she lived in Butch’s fine home up on a Bern hilltop.

Now, even more years later,  she and Monika celebrate 20 years together. Flatcoat Retriever named Ducky joined the family and life is ….snug. I get to bask in the snugocity because I forgot to get back to their place early enough to catch a train with them to the Jura to look at wildflowers. My reason: dinner and intense conversation chez Gaudy and Sabina Krippendorf over on the hill near the Paul Klee museum…dinner in a tiny greenhouse, with ripe tomatoes hanging over our heads, and grilled onions, peppers and chicken to nosh while telling stories. I believe we had a very local Swiss white wine, and a tasty french red.

Instead, I will load up the panniers Oli Busato, the current owner of Visionen, lent me…that should take half the day, and the other half I will ride 55 km to Neuchatel.

(Note: after a long day in the saddle,  l found dozens of  mistakes in my route finding. Rather than using an ordinary, purchasable car map,i am going on the strength of the great signed bike routes…but if you miss one, and dont realize it, you’re screwed, and I tend to keep going in the wrong direction (life metaphor?) rather than turn around and hunt for the red “panneau” (road sign specifically for bike tourists, courtesy of Veloburo Olten) and added about 20 km to my itinerary).

PS I went in search of Diccon Mewes, the Swiss Whisperer (wrote Swisswatching, a guide to the Swiss), and found a fellow who shared the same look (from behind) but who is a professor at the local veterinary institute…I have sworn not to say his name out loud. So instead, I will say that….Jurg Nigg is ANOTHER Swiss I need to meet, and have tea with… another day.

~ by jacquiephelan on June 9, 2012.

One Response to “Bern Switzerland, where my longtime fathead friends reside”

  1. Hah! I still have their Cycletech “ride your bike” bird sticker gracing my bike tool box. Good to know things are still good in Bern. Best to all and safe travels. J

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