Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A day in Bern


A turquoise river, cobbled streets, medieval buildings, roaming bears - sounds like a fairytale description of a tiny town nestled within a forest or at the base of a river. It's certainly difficult to believe that this summarises Bern, the capital city of Switzerland.

The Old Town is particularly stunning - a Gothic cathedral stands proud in the city centre, fountains depict ogres munching on small children and old terraced houses line the cobbles, all encased within a bend in the beautiful river Aare. I particularly loved the Zytglogge; a Astronomical Clock in the town square that sets in motion revolving figurines just before the strike of each hour.

We spent our day in the city seeking out the different fountains and indulging in a steaming pot of fondue, watching the swiftly-moving river glide under us on bridges and cooling off with milky ice-cream. The city can easily be visited in one day, but there's plenty to see.

One of the most unique features is the Barenpark, a still-present bear pit that highlights the squalid conditions the animals were kept in for many centuries. In 2009, a huge park replaced the bears' former home, where orphaned bears are free to roam, taking shade under trees, of which the old pit is thankfully now just a novelty feature and reminder of the cruel practises of the past.


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