Bern, William Tell, and Preparing for NaNoWriMo

Photo day!

I've got a few snapshots of our weekend trip to Bern, Switzerland's capital.

The river Aare

One of the many bears of Bern, the symbol of the city

A lovely courtyard

The founder of Bern, across from the Theatre

A house Einstein lived in

Mountains rising above the mist on Lake Leman

View of the lake from the train, headed towards Lausanne

Bern Old Town, a UNESCO heritage site

The Zytglogge, a 12th century clock with moving parts, renovated in the 15th century

This week I also learned about William Tell. Everyone knows that image of the father shooting an apple of the son's head with an arrow, but I had no idea it was a legend about the founding of Switzerland, 700 years ago!
Here's the Wikipedia version: "The legend as told by Tschudi (ca. 1570) goes as follows: William Tell, who originally came from Bürglen, was known as a strong man, mountain climber, and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri. Albrecht (or Hermann) Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, raised a pole in the village's central square, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before the hat.[1] On 18 November 1307, Tell visited Altdorf with his young son and passed by the hat, publicly refusing to bow to it, and so was arrested. Gessler—intrigued by Tell's famed marksmanship, yet resentful of his defiance—devised a cruel punishment: Tell and his son would be executed, but he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son, Walter, in a single attempt. Tell split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow.[1]
But Gessler noticed that Tell had removed two crossbow bolts from his quiver, not one. Before releasing Tell, he asked why. Tell replied that if he had killed his son, he would have used the second bolt on Gessler himself. Gessler was angered, and had Tell bound.
Tell was brought to Gessler's ship to be taken to his castle at Küssnacht to spend his newly won life in a dungeon. But, as a storm broke on Lake Lucerne, the soldiers were afraid that their boat would founder, and unbound Tell to steer with all his famed strength. Tell made use of the opportunity to escape, leaping from the boat at the rocky site now known as the Tellsplatte ("Tell's slab") and memorialized by the Tellskapelle. Tell ran cross-country to Küssnacht. As Gessler arrived, Tell assassinated him with the second crossbow bolt along a stretch of the road cut through the rock between Immensee and Küssnacht, now known as the Hohle Gasse.[2] Tell's blow for liberty sparked a rebellion, in which he played a leading part. That fed the impetus for the nascent Swiss Confederation.[3]"
What I'd like to know is, if he was tied up and taken to a ship and then escaped, where did he re-find his crossbow?

As for ROW80 goals... I did type another few thousand words of Larksong, but I've also started thinking of my NaNo story (which as a joke is currently called The Ottoman Sultan's Captive):
"A historical romance set in WWI. On the eve of his departure for the front, a newly-commissioned officer discovers that the girl he was meant to propose to that night has disappeared, leaving behind only a cryptic note stating that he must at all costs not search for her. He cannot promise such a thing, of course, and from the moment he arrives at his post in Greece -- having made as many enquiries as he could by telegram while on board ship -- he begins trying to track her in earnest. The horrors of war do not -- as yet -- trouble him as much as the fears in his heart. The barest of leads sends him to Constantinople on his first furlough, where he finally runs her to ground and discovers that she is a spy for England. Yet his dedication has served not only to endanger them both, but to jeopardise her mission, and they must now choose between passion and duty, unless they can find a way to honour both."
This is the first time in many years that the male protagonist has started speaking to me before the heroine. His name is Peter; I don't even know her first name yet! But I've begun cursory research on espionage during the war. Funny thing about history, the deeper you dig, the more you find that women were more involved than anyone gives them credit for.

Here are two posts for those of you writing, even if you're not doing NaNo:

How to write tips from Nathan Bransford

Writers need cats by Beth Camp

Happy Hallowe'en and All Souls Day!


I love the pictures. What a beautiful country! I also really enjoyed the story of William Tell. How fascinating. Best of luck with NaNoWriMo.
Her name will come to you.
Some amazing shots. I liked the one from the train.
Didn't know the story of William Tell had to do with the founding of Switzerland either.
dolorah said…
Beautiful pictures. I agree; where was the crossbow and bolt? See, I notice these plot holes also.

Have fun with NaNo.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks all!
Guess what? Her name came to me yesterday! Now I've got Peter and Penelope. And they're arguing in the first scene...
Anonymous said…
Have a great writing month.

Wonderful pictures, and I'm totally a cat person.
Zan Marie said…
Deniz, Your ability to find stories in all sorts of setting always amazes me! Good luck for November!
Happy Halloween!

Good luck with NaNoWriMo.

I enjoyed your pictures, as usual.
Hi Deniz .. couldn't agree more .. and where was his son .. and, and, and!! Congratulations on doing Nano though ... and a "Peter" creeping up on you to start your story ...

Have fun .. cheers Hilary
Romance Reader said…
Hi Deniz!

Loved the photos! Happy writing!

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