As often not known by many, Bern (and not Zurich or Geneva) is the capital of Switzerland and a must see on every Switzerland trip (which was proven by the bus loads of tourists we have seen during the day).
took the train on a Thursday morning from Olten to Bern. A lot of Swiss
would tell you that in Bern everything moves a bit slower (especially
compared to hectic and very business oriented city of Zurich) including
the nice Bernese accent. This and the picturesque old town gives the
city a very unique vibe which we wanted to explore.
stop was at the Zytglogge (Clock) Tower. This 800 year old watch and
former prison tower has a astronomical clock. As it was near the full
hour we and about a hundred other tourists gathered around the tower and
waited for the hourly show the mechanical figures moving to the strike
of the hour.
Afterwards we leisurely strolled leisurely along the
main road and enjoyed the various fountains on our way to the Bear Pit.
The pit which was first mentioned around 1513 has been completely
renovated two years ago and is currently holding four bears. Legend has
it that the Duke of Zähringen told his men in 1911 that the first animal
they hunted will be the name giver and symbol of the city and guess
what, it was a Bear.
Later on we continued our tour with a 40
minute walk along the Aare river to the Tierpark Dählhölzli which is a
small but very nice local Zoo. There we spent a few hours watching more
bears, fishes and playful seals.
A short bus ride brought us
back to the city where we got a kebab for lunch (not as traditional as a
Rosti, but you would be surprised how many kebab stalls you find in
Switzerland). Later on we had a peek at the Bundeshaus (Parliament
Building) and the Nationalbank (ironically they are just next to each
other). It’s not a fairytale that underneath the square in front of the
two buildings the national bank is keeping the gold reserves of
Next stop on our tour was the Münster Cathedral. It
is the tallest Cathedral of Switzerland which we experienced first hand
on the 344 steps up to the tower platform. Needless to say that the
view over the city more than compensated for the climb.
well deserved coffee break we had a look the Chindlifresserbrunne. This
rather barbaric looking fountain shows an oger who is eating kids (and
that in peace-loving Switzerland…). Apparently the fountain was built
to scare kids. Hope you are not too scared to read our next entry about
our Swiss mountain hike…