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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Places of interest:
House of Parliament
Holy Spirit Church
Holy Trinity Church
La Golosa Gelato