It is true that people come to Switzerland for her great outdoors, to places like Lake Lucerne (Luzern) and the Berner Oberland, the beauty of Swiss Alps is out of this world! With that said, if you have extra time, Swiss cities also have a lot to offer. We visited a few cities in Switzerland, such as Luzern, Zurich and Interlaken, all of us agree that Bern is the dearest.
An hour ride from Interlaken, the train dropped us right in the old town of Bern. And the charm of the city was felt immediately the moment we stepped out of the train station.
Colorful 16th-century fountains are scattered around the city, 11 in total, prominently placed at the center of the road. They are the trademark of the city, adding vibrant colors and fun to otherwise monotone buildings.
The Parliament is a definite must visit. See the statues in the above shot: the women on the left, under 1291, stands for Freedom; the woman on the right, under 1848, represents Peace.
Both years of 1291 and 1848 are significant in the Swiss history. And city of Bern has been the Swiss capital since 1848.
Pass the passageway at the right of the Parliament building to the Terraces in the back, we were welcomed with great views!
The beautiful blue color of the Aare River is from the melting glacier water of the nearby mountains Eiger, Momch and Junfrau. We were told that in a clear day you could see the alps in the distance on the Terraces.
We followed the Rick Steves’ travel guide “Heart of Bern Walk”. We basically stay on this long road after making a left turn across Bahnhofplatz out of train station. What confused us was the name of the road–this street changed names four times! From Spitalgasse to Marktgasse, to Kramgasse, finally to Nydegg near the Bear Park where the Walk ended.
We only turned right, toward the Aare River, off the main road three times to see the Parliament, the Cathedral and the Einstein Museum.
Bern Cathedral is a 15th century Catholic-turned-into-Protestant church, with a mighty 330-foot tower, the tallest in Switzerland.
See the Cathedral tower on the right shot.
Bear is the symbol of the city. You can spot this local mascot in many places in Bern, it is even on the coat of arms of Bern.
We found a live one soundly sleeping in the wood by the Aare River in the Bear Park. He looked content and happy to me.
When you see a Casino in Bern, don’t automatically think of gambling. It is the home of Bern’s Symphony Orchestra! 🙂
One of the highlights of our visit was the History Museum, covered by the Swiss Travel Pass, on the other side of the Aare River. The museum’s second floor was all about Albert Einstein.
We spent a big part of the afternoon learning about Einstein, one of the smartest men walked on Earth. He lived in Bern from 1901 to 1909, it was his work during this period, the Relativity Theory, won him the Nobel Prize.
At the Bear Park, we hopped on the bus #12, and arrived at another museum, Paul Klee Center, 15 minutes later.
Paul Klee is a Swiss native, a world-renowned artist (1879-1940). The Center houses his artwork as well as his art collections.
To be honest, the buildings were more interesting than his art work.
If you have Swiss Travel Pass, the museum is free, otherwise 20 CHF!