Saturday, 23 July 2011

1000/496: 12 July 2011: Bern Baby, Bern

On the move today – the second week of the hols is in Geneva. decided to ignore the suggested train times, go a little earlier and visit Bern on the way – as we have to pass through it while changing trains.
Bern is a very attractive city – although I don’t think we saw it at its best as a large chunk was being dug up – this seems to happen to us a lot:0(
It’s the home of the Swiss Parliament – a building fronted by some very pretty fountains and looking out on to a fruit and vegetable market – which is somewhat more attractive than our ‘peace camp’.
In front of the Bundeshaus (the Swiss Parliament)
Bern is also host to a fancy antique clock, of which much is made in the tourist guides. In particular we ere lead to expect a parade of animals and old father time turning an hour glass.
Zytglogge, Bern
Now, maybe it was because we waited half an hour for the clock to strike one, and maybe we’d have been more impressed if it had bonged 12 times so that we had 12 bongs-worth of parading animals etc, but it was, to be honest, an anti-climax. The large group of American teenagers next to me were either suitably impressed – muttering ’Cool’ and ‘Whoa’ as it happened – or maybe they were practising sarcasm – it’s hard to tell. Either way – it’s very attractive, but maybe not the draw the guides would have you believe.
The clock is at the head of the Kramgasse – a rather stunning street of baroque houses with arcades of shop on the ground floor. Bern is notable for this, and although the houses there now are 17th century replacements this must have been the place that nobles went for a days shopping in the middle ages – a kind of Medieval Arndale centre
Kramgasse, bern
Einstein lived around here for a while, but we couldn’t find the plaque. By the way – if anyone can explain why one of the shops was selling a cow in an aqualung and flippers feel free to comment.
1000/496: 23 July 2011: An underwater cow - with an aqualung and flippers
The street remains attractive all the way to the far end, where a bridge crosses the river to the bear pits.
The far end of Kramgasse, Bern Bern, from above the bear-pits
The second shot was taken from the river bank above the bear-pits. They have thing about bears here – not quite sure why, but they are clearly of historic significance to the city.To be truthful I’m not sure I really approved of the bear pits (modern and landscaped as their enclosures now are). They aren’t ‘pits’ in the traditional sense and I’m sure the critters are well looked after, and there may well be some conservation value associated with their maintenance – but….So I’ve got some shots, but I wasn’t really trying and I’m going with this one of the original pits – complete with life size bear carvings.
The old bear pits, Bern
As we wandered back to the station we took in the cathedral – which was also being repaired (see I told you it often happens to us) relatively plain inside except for one gorgeous side chapel with wonderful stained glass and some quite cute carvings.
Pillar decoration, the Münster, Bern
And finally – I couldn’t resist these street entertainers. I’m sure youngest daughter has friends with hair that colour.
Street performers, Bern

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