I didn’t think I would see Final Fantasy XI in real life. 😆
Bern is the capital of Switzerland, which I didn’t know to be honest. I thought it was Zurich. Bern also goes way, way back–I found out as I researched for this post. Knowing even a bit of the history has me more in awe of the city.
I only had half a day to see Bern. That was better than not seeing nor being there at all. Relatives took me there. I forgot where my Aunt lived (sorry, Tita!), but it took us only an hour or an hour and 30-minute drive to Bern from their place with 0 traffic–I don’t remember heavy traffic in Switzerland except that one time when we went to Italy. That would be in a different post. Traffic in Switzerland is surely definitely better than in the Philippines.
This area seems the “starting point” for both tourists and locals. In the photo above is the parking area and a tourist center.
Nearby is the Swiss Brand Museum that opened a couple of months before our visit; it was the former customs office protected by UNESCO. The Swiss Brand Museum exhibits many Swiss-made brands and has some merch for sale too. If it was opened then, I could have bought another Swiss knife and more Ragusa.
Also in the area is the Bärengraben or Bear Pit. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovation. So I only got to see the tightrope walking bear. There are bear pics in this site, which saddened me more because I didn’t get to see the cuties.
Beginning of our walk
In the center of Bern is the Old City that has existed since 1191 and has remain unchanged since 1405 after the great fire. The Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
The shopping arcade goes on for 6 km/4 miles. There are so many specialty, clothing, food, and dessert shops–to name a few–to see or splurge on.
There are a lot of random stuff on the sidewalk including those in the picture above. We were walking quite fast, so I didn’t get to see much of the shops. I did spot a McDonald’s though, which I took a photo of and included of course in this post. 😛
More than a hundred fountains in Bern have been around since 1550. They were the city’s public water supply. How fascinating that I was able to see and touch what the people of the medieval times also have. ♥
Walking seems to be the preferred mode of transportation in the Old Town. I did notice a trolley/tram rail on the bricked street.
The Bern Minster was constructed in 1421 and completed in 1893. The Gothic-styled cathedral is Switzerland’s highest church tower at 101 meters.
I believe this very detailed carving on the tympanum is the Last Judgment. Please view the full size to see the intricate carvings better. 🙂
Inside the Cathedral.
The Cathedral probably had a scheduled cleaning.
My Tito/Uncle invited me to go up the tower. Here’s my first photo from it.
I underestimated the narrow flight of stairs and short steps. Halfway through I was already short of breath. But I made sure to take a bunch of photos during our couple of breaks. We were the only ones heading up the tower so I was able to take my time. 😀
We stopped at the first gallery that is at 46-m high. I can’t believe we didn’t reach the top yet. My knees shook whenever I looked down. T_T
(I have a better photo of the river earlier in this post.)
The Aare River looks so clean and almost like a swimming pool. Although I witnessed people swimming in the rivers in Switzerland, it still surprises me because we can’t just swim in some Philippine rivers. Please check the link to see some Aare River fun. I’m so envious!
More views from the tower
I took as much photos as I can of the view from the top because I wanna relive the moment over and over again. 😀
I know these are just roofs, but I was (and I still am) amazed that they’ve been retained all these years and that it’s like FFIX.
Bern’s Zytglogge or Clock Tower was built in the 13th century; it has served as a guard post and civic monument. Before the great fire, this also served as a prison for people who were involved with priests. (Read more.)
If I had known that the clock actually has an hourly performance (I should have expected that from a clock in Switzerland 😆 ), I would have taken a video or at least a close up photo of the astronomical clock. The performance has a dancing jester, parading bears, rooster flapping its wings, and Chronos turning over an hourglass.
Afaik, this is the first astronomical clock I’ve ever seen. It looks similar to an astrolabe (Wikipedia definition: “an elaborate inclinometer, historically used by astronomers and navigators to measure the inclined position in the sky of a celestial body, day or night”).
It was said that the clock inspired Albert Einstein–who used to work near the Zytglogge–for the special theory of relativity. (Source: The clock that changed the meaning of time)
Resuming the walk
The red flowers on the window sills are really pretty.
The Zähringerbrunnen is a memorial to the founder of Bern, Berchtold von Zähringer, and was built in 1535. I should have taken a better photo so we can clearly see the bear cub at the armored bear’s feet.
I’m shallow–I get excited when I spot McDonald’s in other countries as though they shouldn’t be there.
Federal Palace of Switzerland
Or the Parliament Building.
Taking a photo of the full Parliament Bulding without the crane and open market was difficult. ;;;
The view from the Parliament Building is beautiful; it must be nice to work there.
That’s the end of my Bern tour. 🙂 More photos below as we head back to the car.
I usually see apothecary only in video games.
And last photo for this post… Whew!
Whenever a doggo has their back on me, it’s like they’re asking for pets. 😀
I missed Einsteinhaus or the former residence of Einstein that was turned into a museum. It was just at the Old City! DX I really should go visit again. 😀
Anyway, thank you so much if you made it this far! A long post with less text and more photos is more bearable, right? 😆 I didn’t go into much details about every tourist spot because all information are available online. See my other photos from Bern in my Flickr album.
Disclaimer: Most of my information are from research. I’m no resident of Bern and have only visited once or maybe twice.
If there any corrections or you have additional input, please let me know.