Switzerland's Capital City
27.10.2010 - 29.10.2010
Hello from Bern,
We arrived here by train from Zermatt which required re-tracing part of our trip on the Glacier Express but we found it just as beautiful the second time. We once again had a first class train car to ourselves and were able to strike up a conversation with the conductor who lived in the Zermatt. He was able to tell us about the enormous land slide that occurred here in 1983 (I think) where a huge portion of stone broke loose from one of the mountains and buried the train track just a few minutes after a train carrying school children had passed. After hearing that story I felt a little less comfortable looking almost straight up at megatons of rock towering above the train as we passed. It was very much like thinking while on roller coaster…”you know that wheel could come off at any moment” but of course we made it through OK.
We arrived in Switzerland's capital city of Bern about mid day and checked into a hotel that was a bit outside the city center. What we call the “vacation burn rate” referring to the amount we are spending on daily basis has been at a pretty high level through Italy and Switzerland so we decided to try to moderate that a bit my moving a hotel a bit further out. Even so, by U.S. standards, hotels and food are very expensive here. We spent the afternoon touring the city and taking in the sights.
Let me show what we saw………
This is the view from our room at the Ambassador Hotel in Bern. The building in the foreground is the Teppanyaki restaurant located at the hotel where we decide we will have dinner later that night. In the distance you can see some of the taller buildings from the old town Bern city center.
The trip to the old town was quick and easy on a city tram which runs every 10 minutes or so and costs about 1 Swiss Franc per person. It took us back to the train station where we just paid a taxi 25 Swiss Francs to take us to the hotel. I think we got “worked”. In this old town area they have many beautiful water fountains which originally severed to deliver drinking water to the citizens of the city.
While I was taking a picture of this fountain a young women decided to hop up on the fountain for a drink. Not sure if this is a common event but it seemed funny to me…but then I find most inappropriate behaviors funny.
The two pictures above show a couple of scenes from the street market that was going on when we were there. They had just about everything you can imagine for sale from clothes to vegetables. We bought a hot dog from a street vendor and just people watched as we ate them.
While mostly women were buying goods in the market their husbands seemed to be engaged in a large scale game of chess at the end of the market square. It was funny to watch as two men were playing against each other but each of them had a set of friends giving them advice and bantering back and forth with the friends of the opposing player. They moved with amazing speed with very little head scratching and pondering between moves.
The next 15 pictures were taken as we wondered around the old part of the city. There are a number of fountains, statues and paintings adorning the buildings as well as lovely flower boxes with red flowers adding to the ambience of the city. Since I don’t have much to add to the content of the pictures I will just let you enjoy them.
Here is Susan with one of the many bears about town. The town of Bern was named after the word Bear in some Romanic/German dialect of the day it became to be known as Bern.
This sculpture was located near a tram stop in the square next to the Casino. I’m not sure what it is but from the wear it appears to be frequently used as a chair.
Walking down one of smaller side street we found a few antique shops and this old Micky Maus book caught my attention. I always find it interesting how other countries perceive Americana.
This is a picture of the Tapenyaki grill where we just had dinner taken from our hotel room window. You can still see the tableware that we arranged so neatly before leaving. It seemed much more cleaver after about 6 hot sake’s and 4 beers than it does now.
Well that about does it for Bern and I guess for the country of Switzerland. We have decided to take a bit longer route to Paris and depart for Amsterdam in the morning by train. I suspect my next entry will be a bit late as we feel like a party may be in order to celebrate the completion of this first leg of our journey through central and Eastern Europe. After Amsterdam we will travel to Paris get settled into the apartment where we will stay for three months. I will try to take some pictures in Amsterdam and make another entry when I can. I really appreciate all of the positive feedback I have received from the viewers of the Blog. I have enjoyed doing it but I am happy I didn’t know how much work it was before I agreed to do it or it might not have happened.
Until next time……Adios (I really want a burrito!)