We traveled to Bern on Sunday, January 29th. Bern is the capital city of Switzerland and it is located north and a little east of Vevey. It took us about an hour and half by train. When we arrived in Bern, there was a light snow fall and it was very cold. Because of the weather, the pictures we took, probably did not do justice to Bern.
When we arrive in a new town, the first thing we do is find the TI (Tourist Information) Office. They will provide maps of the area and tell you about things that you should not miss. In Bern, the TI, is located just outside the train station. The young lady at the TI was charming an very informative. You could just tell by her demeanor, how very proud she was of Bern.
Bern was founded in 1191and avoided war damage. However, in 1405 the city was destroyed by fire. After the fire, wooden buildings were no longer allowed. All new constructions had to be of the gray-green sandstone prevalent in the area.
In 1848 Bern become the Swiss capital. Today, the German-speaking city has about 130,000 people (two-thirds Protestant and one-third Catholic). Compare to the capital city of Oregon, little Salem at 143,000 residents-it's interesting. Its pointy towers, sandstone buildings and colorful fountains make Bern one of Europe's finest surviving medieval towns.
Arriving in Bern. The multistory train station is hugh. There are many retail shops located on the train level. Unlike in Vevey, most of the shops in the train station and the town are open on Sunday.
The TI Office.
The Parliament Building.
A Bern building - notice the large eves.
Bern from the terraces surrounding the Parliament Building. On a clear day you can see the peaks of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfran mountains. As you can see, we had very limited visibility.
Another picture of Bern from the terrace.
The Kirchenfeld Bridge, which crosses the Aare River. Bern's major river.
The back side of the clock tower.
Lunch time at the Kornhauskeller restaurant. This restaurant is in the basement of an old granary.
The tomato basil soup was just the ticket for a cold day in Bern
Another picture of the Cathedral.
According to the lady, at the TI office, there is a rose garden and Bear park on the hill overlooking the city. She said that when the roses are in bloom, the park is absolute beautiful. The symbol of Bern, which appears on its coat of arms, is the bear. Since 1857, Bern has been housing bears, in the terraced hillsides, above the city. They are in hibernation right now so another winter limitation. We think Bern is one of the cities, we would like to revisit, when the weather is a lot nicer. There seems to be a lot of outdoor activities and the center square of the downtown is well located and huge. We can imagine the farmer's markets and Christmas markets held there are probably fantastic.