I remember around this time last year, when this trip was just muddled up thoughts in my head. I was googling Switzerland, reading top 10 lists and trying to decide where I would most want to go. As soon as I saw a photo of Bern, from up on a hill overlooking the city with the river flowing around it, I became obsessed. I was charmed by photos of this place literally a year ago, and today I was charmed by it in person!
Everything I wanted to see was within short walking distance from each other so I have just spent the entire day wandering around. Everything here is steep. Very, very steep. In fact, one street is so steep that one of the worlds shortest funicular lines (sort of like an uphill tram) is set up so that you can avoid the pain and sweat involved in climbing it.
The Old City centre is still just as medieval as it was when it was built from the 12th century. Cobblestone streets, over 100 fountains, churches and cathedrals and the famous Zytglotte church tower. Shops line the streets, but under them are still large wooden doors which were originally wine cellars for the residents living here. The whole area looks like what you’d see in an old painting, or in a film set in medieval times.
After I had wandered the old town for as long as possible, I crossed a bridge to climb up to the Rosengarten. This nice little park area gives a great view of the city and the river Aere which flows around it. It’s the view you see on all the postcards, and rightly so. The vibrant green of the river in itself is an incredible view, and then when you add in the colour of the buildings and the tall tower of the city’s cathedral, it’s a magnificent sight. I sat on a ledge up there and ate my lunch, remembering how many times I’d reblogged a tumblr photo of the exact view I was now staring at.
After lunch I took a side street at the bottom of the hill and ended up following the river bank for quite a distance. The water is extremely fast flowing and the people swimming were floating down it at great speed! I didn’t have togs on, but I popped my feet in for a bit. It was pretty damn cold, which was the best relief in the 33° heat. I eventually crossed another bridge and climbed some steep streets back up to the main city, making it back to the hostel just before a thunderstorm rolled through, phewf!
Because of the small size of the city I managed to see everything I planned for two days in one! This means I’ve decided to take a day trip to Lucerne tomorrow, so that I can see as much of this beautiful country as I possibly can while I have the chance.