Now you didn’t think that was it, did you? Oh no, we only got as far as mid-day…
We decided to drive up through the Jurassic gorges – it sounds as if we might have met some dinosaurs, but on this occasion, no! The Jura mountains are old and worn low and smooth, but they are also still very dramatic to travel through, with sheer stone cliff faces and deep dark greenery and the small villages and towns are often squeezed into the shelter of the rocks, dwarfed by the sheer mass. It’s an area of Switzerland that is less well-heeled and with few tourists, so that pipelines, quarries and industrial buildings are visible almost wherever you go, and many houses look quite neglected, very rare in this country.
The Jura (the canton of the same name gained independence from German-speaking Berne only in 1976) is a French-speaking area, so all of a sudden, there’s no longer a Rathaus (town hall) but
And the usually familiar “Zentralparkuhr” for paying for your parking space becomes
Actually, I imagine this kind of machine probably has a totally different name in proper French (horomètre or horodateur come to mind?), as this seems very Suisse-Romande to me! I happily put my 70 (septante) or 90 (nonante) centîmes in the slot, smiling to myself that I can never remember the correct 70 (soixante-dix) and 90 (quatre-vingt-dix) terms when I’m in France!
Still, unless you are in the Jura to hike or ride the only Swiss breed of horse (the Freiberger or Jurassien – also popular for covered wagon camping trips), or to visit caves or climb the rock faces, there isn’t really an awful lot to see, at least not for us on a day out, so we wound our way back from Delémont (Delsberg) via Balsthal, over a small mountain pass, back into Swiss-German country south of Basle and along the flatlands at the foot of the Jura to Olten. This is yet another Swiss town with a pretty old town – I don’t think there’s actually any place in Switzerland that doesn’t have a mediaeval core somewhere, no matter how tiny – and because the day had become so bright and sunny, we stopped to wander through cool cobbled streets and in search of cappuccinos and plum tart 😉
But then it was time to end the day – the doglet and I boarded a busy train that brought us almost directly home across all northern Switzerland via Zurich city. A very squashed and relieved canine scampered across the Murg river on our short walk home from the station, keen to get back to her own territory – we’d missed 5 pm feeding time…
…but a great day was had by all!