The City of the Bear – Bern ,Switzerland

If you love cheese and chocolate , then you are at the right place in Switzerland .

It is in July , in summer , when we are in Europe ,departing from the Italian borderline in Geneve and driving first to Lausanne and Montreux and then to Bern , to the Capital City of Switzerland , a country that is beautifully surrounded by the mountains , the Alps , blue rivers flowing between the cities and gorgeous lakes and certainly forests everywhere .

We have good luck with our weather . It is about 24-25 degrees warm and bright . The air is crystalclear and a good weather to explore the country .

The Capital city of Switzerland is Bern , a city that has , together with its banlieues , a population of about 400.000 people .

Do you know where the name of the city is coming from ?

Bern actually is a medieval city that was built in the 12th century .

In those days the duke of the city was looking for a good name of the settlement but could not find any .On a reception that he gave for the elites of his city ,it was decided that the duke should go for some hunting exercise into the nearby forrests and the first animal that he is going to hunt should be the citys name .

So they did it and went for some hunting and the first animal that occured in front of the duke was a huge bear , as bears were very common in that surrounding in those days .The bear so then was the first animal that he hunted on this excursion and so the bear gave the name of Bern to the city and is also since then the symbol of the city and appears on the enblems of the city .

Due to a second theory the name is derived from the ancient celtic word “berna” which means split , slit or cleft and hints to the geological formation of the city and the name of Bern was born .

It is not 100 per cent proofed but these are the 2 theories of the citys name .

We just leave our vehicle in the center of the city and the first historical building that we recognize is the famoous Zytglogge which is an ancient clock tower from the 13th century .It is an astronomical clock and has also a carillon .

We just begin to walk down the main road of the old city which is very pretty since the whole old town is left from the medieval time , all of the buildings, the arcades , the fountains in mid of the street are from the 15th and 16th century .

There are about 100 public fountains in the city while 11 of them are special and crowned with Reniassance figures on their top.

Some of the restorations of the buildings in the town have been made in the 18th century but by preserving the original character of those .

Actually Bern is a perfect example for a gorgeous urban preservation of a medieval European city and therefore valued as a Unesco World Heritage site since 1983.

We walk down the beautiful arcades , nice little shops , cafes and restaurants and can hear some music that is coming from nearby .

On our path we just pass by the Einsteinhaus which is the home to Professor Albert Einstein when he lived in Bern from 1903-1905 and is valued as a historical place for the history of physics as a science and awarded by the EPS , The European Physical Society as well by the APS , the American Physial Society .There is also a separate Einstein Museum in Bern which is the second largest historical museum in Switzerland .

We just follow the music and find a nice surprise – 3 musicians with 3 long alp horns are playing some traditional music under one of the arcades at the Kornhaus which is a former granary and an architectural gem from the 18th century .

Usually people are sitting here under the ornate arcades between the Zytglogge and the Bern Citytheatre listening to the splash of the ancient fountains and sipping their coffee. Throughout the last 300 years this building was serving as a granary , wine cellar , military barrack , market hall , museum , refuggee shelter and finally as a cafe, bar and restaurant and a library .

This is an extraordinary scene for us since usualy these kind of alphorns are more likely to be played in the mountains .

We love the atmosphere and stay there for a nice coffee and listen to their performance ,watch their traditional clothes .

The musicians are very friendly and allow us to take some photos .In the cafe a huge swiss flag is flowing in the wind .

Yes ,I think the swiss people are quite proud of their nationality .

We are so happy to have had the opportunity to listen to this very special session and leave to move forward .

After a few hundred meters that we walk downwards we arrive at the oldest part of the city at the Baerengarden which is directly located at the Aare river .

We can stand on the ancient Nydeggbridge that is also part of the heritage site and is about 190 meters long and that connects the old city of Bern with the new part of the city .From this point we can look above the river that has a very beautiful blue-greenish color . At the riverside we can see the Baerengraben , a kind of special bear pit that is reserved for 3 brown bears being part of the Baerenpark . These 3 brown bears are living here at the riverside of the Aaare and can be seen from everybody around . They are symbolizing the Bear of Bern .

The very first Baerengraben ie bear pit in Bern city was built in 1441 and is since then a part of the town .Due to the NGOs the area was again and again improved , enlarged and modernized due to the needs of the bears .

While we observe the roofs of the old town under us and the bears at the riverside , there is also another nice surprise that we did not expect over here .

Citizens of the town are here at the riverside , dressed in their bathsuits and jumping with big joy into the Aare river from the bridge or from the riverside .It is unbelievable since the river is full of little boats , swimmers . The people from Bern just try to refresh in these hot summerdays and enjoy that wonderful moments of the season .It seems that some of them jump into the river together with a bag where they have their belongings and drift on the river for 4-5 km and then get out of the river again .

Actually I would love to join them but unfortunately we dont have our bathsuits with us- it is a scene that I never expected in this part of the world but it looks so much fun !

After having watched the people jumping into the river over here at this gorgeous location we just leave the town to move on our route .

I can just tell that Switzerland is a country that is worth a visit in any season whether it is in wintertime or summertime .

Dining in Switzerland is also fine since having some good cheese fondue , some racluette , some rosti potato , some traditional Zwiebelkuchen which is a kind of onion pie and so many more is typical for the countrys cuisine. After meal to have some sweet Swiss chocolate , Berner Lebkuchen and a good coffee is also a kind of must .

I just remember the days that we had in Switzerland with joy and do hope that the pandemic that is still in place allover the world will come to an end very soon so that people can start travelling again and can have some cultural exchange and fun.

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