Blisters and Biel

Wearing new sandals on a day that we would walk 16,538 steps was not really such a great idea, but it is too late to talk about it now. All I can do is soak my feet in saltwater, wrap them up and head out for another hike.

Farmer's market in Biel. Endless volumes of fresh produce, happy farmers, hordes of shoppers all packed into a medieval town setting. Not so bad.

I am in Switzerland. It is required I see new things everyday, even if there are blisters on top of my feet. This is true, by the way. I am afflicted with 360-degrees of blisters.

But enough about that. We  began our day by visiting Biel’s allegedly famous Nidaugasse farmer’s market. Nidaugasse may be the name for Biel’s old town, but I am not sure about that, just as I am unsure about everything owing to my cramped German/French language skills.

About 70 farmers and vendors transform Nidaugasse’s sloping grey cobbled streets into avenues of colour, while the air is filled with the aroma of apples and flowers. Maybe living in Switzerland will not be so bad. We stocked up.

Prices were relatively in line with North American farmer market prices, that is to say: They were high. The pain of the pay-up, however, is mitigated by the freshness and flavor of the produce. Real fresh vegetables are pretty much the same anywhere, but every region seems to have something that brings its own something to the table.

Banks of tulips fill the cobblestone streets of Biel's old-town.

In Manitoba, it is the acidic sweetness of giant beefsteak tomatoes, in Northwest Ontario wild blueberries are the jewels, in Victoria it’s Michell’s sweet strawberries and Silver Rill corn, and everything in Georgia. It’s true, Georgia, U.S.A. farmers markets kill in every produce category. Yum. But we’re not in Georgia now. We’re in Switzerland.

I have not determined the stand-out vegetable here, but it may be their giant red-leaf lettuce that is bowling-ball shaped with an apple-crisp base tipped with gossamer burgundy leaves. It tasted as though I had pulled it from the earth only moments before.

We avoided the line-up at the cheese wagon, however, learned later that was a mistake. As Regula, a local Swiss woman told us, “There’s a reason for the line-up,” and that reason is apparently “Corgemont Special” cheese. The market was packed with locals, probably the best indicator of the quality of the offerings. We decided to make the market a Saturday tradition.

After unloading our stuff at our apartment, we hoofed out to the train station for a 30-minute ride to Switzerland’s capital, Bern.  I’ll write more about that later. For now, I have to figure out how to bandage up my feet before today’s trip to Murten, a small medieval town about a 45-minute train ride southwest of Biel.

3 thoughts on “Blisters and Biel

  1. Mmmm..what a delicious post!! From your description, I can almost smell the fresh apples in the market place and I wonder why I’m living in a place where it’s snowing again today ??!! Your poor feet!! I hope you brought along athletic shoes…probably a better choice for touring. I’ve been enjoying your posts very much and hope your day is as lovely as yesterday.

  2. Joanne, I’m so enjoying reading your blog. It’s the first thing I read every day; today, still in my jammies, tea beside me, New York Times not yet read because I must learn what Joanne is up to. Corgemont special cheese, red leaf lettuce, it’s all sounds great, even the blisters.

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