Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 5: my battle with carbonated water

The day started out like any vacation day. We were up, dressed, packed, had eaten, and were aboard the train by 10:30 to head down to Interlaken, Switzerland. It wasn't until we had decided to stop off in Bern, since the sky threatened rain -(we'd rather be in a town that had indoor things to do)- , that a water bottle battle would commence.
Since my mom and I both had water bottles which were full, we walked around Bern without a clue as to what would occur later on that day. We absolutely loved Bern. Couldn't get over how beautiful and clean it was. We spoke of how we would love to live there. We admired the crystal clear river that ran through the city, amazed that it was all natural.

We watched as the happy people of the city played giant chess and went about their daily activities. We passed by children running through the water spouts that shot water up from the ground as though the water itself was dancing. Little did we know, that as each minute passed us by, we were drawing closer to the inevitable.

We continued onward, naively. We went to Albert Einstein's home, during the years he discovered the theory of relativity. We read that he loved the city as much as we had in the few hours we had been there. We went in search of the best chocolate, and bought a year supply. (It was gone in a week).

We walked over to the Bern gardens, which overlooks the entire city. We had "herbal tea time" at the restaurant located at the gardens, and ate a strawberry torte while taking in the view.
Although we didn't know it at the time, it was at that point when our story took a drastic turn for the worst. - We both drank the last remains of water from our bottles, and thinking nothing of it, threw the bottles away.

-- slight pause for dramatic effect --

We walked around the gardens and rated the smell of each rose bush. We walked back down towards the city center to see Bern's mascot, a bear. We walked back up the main street, passing the Swiss flags that were proudly hung on every other building. We stood around Bern's famous clock, with other spectators, and watched as the moving statues rang the bells on the hour.

We then went to the grocery store to get water and dinner for that evening, before heading back to the station to make our train to Interlaken. The store, we found out upon entering, was more of a glorified convenience store than a real grocery store. So we stocked up on water bottles. I bought 2, my mom bought 1. (Like I've said before, you can never have too much water). After we paid, I opened up a bottle, to hear a sound that makes me cringe... the sound of fizz. I went even further and tasted the water to confirm what I had just heard. Carbonated water. Yuck. We turned right back around, told the cashier we were going to exchange the two closed bottles for ones without gas, and walked back out with 2 new bottles in tow.

As we went in search of another grocery store, with food options, I threw away the bottle containing carbonated water. I then proceeded to open the other bottle, only to discover that we had exchanged the previous bottles for a different type of carbonated water. You could imagine my horror at this point. What type of place was this?! In a land of crystal clear rivers and dancing water... do they not have bottles of fresh, all natural, gas free water? I thought back on the lady I saw earlier, filling her water bottle from a fountain. Earlier I had thought she was crazy... I no longer felt that way.

We found a larger grocery store and got food for the evening. I resolved to try, one last time, to get a bottle of water without gas. As I stood in front of the aisle containing the multiple varieties of bottled water, I picked up one that, I felt, was finally safe to drink. I shook it repeatedly to see if there were any gas bubbles. I saw none. I asked two separate people if the bottle I was holding contained gas. They both said it was gas free. So, I decided to take my chances. And this time I was pleasantly surprised to find fresh, all natural, spring water. Bern was no longer tainted in my mind, and went back to being a city I absolutely adored.

Once peace had been restored, we left for the train. We met a couple from New Zealand along the way and found out they were staying at the same hostel as we were in Interlaken. So, we chatted with them on our train ride over, and continually commented on the breathtaking scenery we were passing through. We all got off at the wrong station in Interlaken, and took a taxi over to the hostel. After checking in, went out to eat together. Since my mom and I had already eaten, we just ordered water. This time we made sure we bought the right type... although it ended up costing as much as their beer. Some days you never truly win.

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