Bern, the Green Capital

Coordinates: 46°57′03″N 7°26′19″E

When traveling, I avoid the big cities and its accelerated rhythm. I prefer the water (salty or fresh), trees (of any kind), and a lot of animals (the closer, the better). Nonetheless, Bern completely changed my perception of what roaming through a city can be. In August, I traveled to Switzerland to visit my friend Bruny; who knowing my preferences, took me to places she knew I'd love.

  Bern was founded in the year 1191 and its urban aspect has changed very little; which makes it a magnificent example of urbanism in Europe. Photo: Bruny Nieves

Bern was founded in the year 1191 and its urban aspect has changed very little; which makes it a magnificent example of urbanism in Europe. Photo: Bruny Nieves

green scenery

In the capital of Switzerland there is water everywhere. The city is delimited by the Aare River and has more than one hundred fountains. In Bern, unlike other cities rooted with cement, a green scenery prevails. Not only because of its proximity to the Alps, but also for the astounding amount of parks and gardens filled with nature.

  You can drink the water of the decorative fountains. Photo: Pamy Rojas

You can drink the water of the decorative fountains. Photo: Pamy Rojas

sculptures iN fountains

Our tour through the old town started as soon as we crossed the street of the train station. We headed to the six kilometers of arcades, known as Lauben by the locals, to see the famous fountains of the Swiss sculptor Hans Gieng and to find an ice-cream shop. Bruny had already told me that the Toblerone was invented in Bern, so I set out on a mission to find a gelato made out of this chocolate.

  In Spitalgasse Street you can find the bagpiper’s fountain. (Pfeiferbrunnen). Photo: Pamy Rojas

In Spitalgasse Street you can find the bagpiper’s fountain. (Pfeiferbrunnen). Photo: Pamy Rojas

Waiting for the bells

We passed the first fountain in which, by the way, we filled our water bottles. A few steps away is the Clock Tower (Zeitglockentrum); where we stopped for a while, to wait for the automate, moving figures minutes before the hour and listen to the bells of the gigantic clock at the exact hour. The landscape: a tall tower, clear skies, and a lot of green in the horizon.

  Waiting for the bells, we were entertained by soap bubbles. Photo: Pamy Rojas

Waiting for the bells, we were entertained by soap bubbles. Photo: Pamy Rojas

Soap bubbles

While we waited, a street artist entertained us by juggling soap bubbles. Besides demonstrating his abilities materializing the fragile ovals, he sold materials to make them, an attractive for any age. Then our sight deviated upwards, the automates started moving. Later on, the anticipated bells: ding-dong, ding-dong and the perfect synchronization of this astronomic clock; that gives the hour, day, month, and even the zodiac.

EINSTEIN iN BERN

We walked towards Kramgasse Street to enter the house museum of Albert Einstein. The pictures, furnishing, and documents of the Einstein-Haus confirm that this German Physic developed the first treaty of the Theory of Relativity while he lived in Bern from 1903 to 1905.

  Einstein published the Theory of Relativity in Berlin (1916), nevertheless it was already been conceived in Berna. Photo: Pamy Rojas

Einstein published the Theory of Relativity in Berlin (1916), nevertheless it was already been conceived in Berna. Photo: Pamy Rojas

bees and lunch

After the museum we had lunch in a restaurant called Falken, located in Munstergasse Street. The bees accompanied us throughout the lunch; an indication of a healthy balance in the environment. There I tried for the first time the Rösti potatoes and loved them. This scone of grated golden potatoes is a specialty of Bern. We skipped dessert because we would rather wait for the Toblerone gelato.

  For our lunch we sat on the outside tables, it;s a must during the summer. Photo: Pamy Rojas

For our lunch we sat on the outside tables, it;s a must during the summer. Photo: Pamy Rojas

above the river

We strolled up to the Nydeggbrücke Bridge to head towards the Rose Garden. The journey transformed into a greener one because of the amount of trees at both sides of the Aare River.  Within the path we saw various signs that marked the route of some of the places where Paul Klee, the Swiss - German artist, was inspired to paint his pieces.

  One of the bridges that connects the old town with the rest of the city of Bern. Photo: Pamy Rojas

One of the bridges that connects the old town with the rest of the city of Bern. Photo: Pamy Rojas

PICNIC and a wash (or Bath) in the fountain

We crossed one of the many parks in the city, where we saw families having picnics and children soaking on the fountains. In Switzerland, like many other places of Europe, the green spaces are kept in perfect conditions, set up with bench tables and completely clean.

  The Rose Garden has more than two hundred varieties of roses, among other flowers and bushes. Photo: Pamy Rojas

The Rose Garden has more than two hundred varieties of roses, among other flowers and bushes. Photo: Pamy Rojas

ART iN the Rose Garden

After walking up a steep slope, but sheltered by the shadows of the trees, we reached the Rose Garden. This green and aromatic setting has a pavilion, a restaurant, and a reading garden. Sitting around the pond we found several people drawing, inspired maybe by Klee's route.

  The pond is a perfect scenery to draw. Photo: Pamy Rojas

The pond is a perfect scenery to draw. Photo: Pamy Rojas

TOBLERONE GELATO

Returning to the old town we found the anticipated ice-creamery in Gerechtigkeitsgasse Street: La Golosa Gelato and of course, the Toblerone gelato. Savoring this delight, I said goodbye to this city’s green landscape, to the scent of its roses, and the bells of the old clock... ding, dong... on our way back in train to rest in my friend's house, for our next day in Switzerland.

  We bought the much anticipated Toblerone gelato in La Golosa Gelato. Photo: Pamy Rojas

We bought the much anticipated Toblerone gelato in La Golosa Gelato. Photo: Pamy Rojas


conscious tourism practices:

1. Carry a water bottle to avoid buying plastic ones.

2. Enjoy the green surroundings without leaving trash behind.

3. Learn about the history if the place.

4. Know the flora in the green spaces.

5. Share the space with the bees.


  The Clock Tower is one of the most known monuments of Bern. Photo: Pamy Rojas

The Clock Tower is one of the most known monuments of Bern. Photo: Pamy Rojas

Places of interest:

Cathedral

House of Parliament

Holy Spirit Church

Holy Trinity Church

Botanical Garden

Rose Garden

Einstein-Haus Museum

Arcades Walkway

Municipal Theatre


  In this ice-cream shop the gelatto is artisan. Photo: Pamy Rojas

In this ice-cream shop the gelatto is artisan. Photo: Pamy Rojas

GASTRONOMY:

La Golosa Gelato

Chocolatier Läderach

Falken Restaurant

Rosengartenn Restaurant


  See you soon Bern!

See you soon Bern!