Saturday, November 18, 2006


After going to Mont-Blanc, I really felt like going somewhere else to try and take some better photos - something I haven't been able to manage in a while. I had wanted to go to Bern anyway, so the next Monday I packed up and headed off: it was a bit of a last-minute decision! I really have to stop wandering off to places without telling anyone - I'm getting a bit of a reputation. The journey to Bern took less than two hours, quite a relief after some of the marathon train journeys I've been on recently.

Bern apparently has one of the largest (if not the largest - I'm too lazy to ask the internets) authentic medieval town centres left in Europe - Switzerland was saved from the bombing most of mainland Europe saw during World War II, which destroyed the medieval town centres in places like Frankfurt, for example. It's pretty impressive: The streets are cobbled, and the entire middle of the city is filled with almost identical, old-looking buildings, complete with huge cellars that have openings on the street (and are now mostly used for shops)

The old town in Bern

I have one gripe with the city, and actually most big cities in Switzerland in general. The public transport is excellent, but the down-side of that is that every street in Bern is criss-crossed with a spider's web of electric cables that are used to power the numerous trams and buses. This spoils what would otherwise be a beautiful city centre. I think it's a high price to pay for progress. Here's a couple more pictures of Bern: These are mainly views from one of the bridges crossing the river that almost surrounds the centre of the city.

I was just playing around with the settings - it made this picture look really fake!

The weather was again, unfortunately, cloudy. I seem to be getting really bad luck recently!

Next I went to another of Bern's attractions: the Bear Pits. This is basically two large sunken holes, with a couple of Brown bears in each. I'm not sure I liked it - the bears seemed less than happy. Also, I think that they should have been hibernating at this time of year. They've obviously given up as they've realised that they get enough bits of sandwiches thrown to them from tourists to easily last them through the winter.

"Please sir, may I have another sandwich?"

Looks like he's having great fun, doesn't he?

Lastly I went for a fairly long walk along the river to the zoo. It was getting late, and the light was failing so there was no point actually going in, but you can see some of the zoo without actually paying to go in. I got a couple of pictures of flamingoes:

Not the most practical of birds, are they...?

After this, I got the train back to Geneva - as usual!