Bern Journals

Bears, Bears Everywhere

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A May 2009 trip to Bern by phileasfogg

Restaurant Anker Photo, Bern, Switzerland More Photos
Quote: I look down, and the manhole cover has a bear embossed on it. I look up, and the yellow flags along the street have big black bears. A nearby fountain’s topped by a statue of a bear dressed in armour. Welcome to Bern, the city of the bear.

The Fountains of Bern... And More

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Story/Tip

Anna Seiler Brunnen Photo, Bern, Switzerland
Quote:
Bern, for those not in the know (as we were before this trip), was named for the bear. Or rather, for a dead bear, since that was the first animal to be hunted and killed by a local ruler when he first set up shop here. Bern, makes much of the bear. Bear representations are all over the place—we saw them on flags fluttering along the streets of the Old Town; we saw them in murals outside buildings; as part of the parade of mechanical figures on the Clock Tower; on countless souvenirs; even embossed on manhole covers. And yes, we also saw a fountain with an upright statue of a bear clad in chainmail and helmet, equipped with fearsome weaponry.Which brings me to the fountains. Frankly, I tend to asso...Read More

The Münster of St. Vincent in Bern

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Attraction | "Bern's Most Imposing Church"

The Münster of St. Vincent in Bern Photo, Bern, Switzerland
Quote:
Both Tarun and I are mad about medieval cathedrals: those soaring spires and endless stained glass windows exercise a strange fascination on us. Anyway, having pounced on a map of Bern from the local tourist information centre, the first thing we did was to check out the location of the local cathedral and head there straightaway.The Münster stands in a vast paved square, Münsterplatz, which is thankfully free of pesky souvenir sellers, buskers and hordes of tourists, who tend to ruin one’s photos by coming in the way. At the far end of Münsterplatz (the near end, if you’re approaching from Münstergasse—the Bernese obviously aren’t very creative when it comes to names; I’m surprised the river isn’t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 25, 2009

The Münster of St. Vincent in Bern
Munstergasse
Bern, Switzerland

Einsteinhaus

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Attraction | "Stepping into Einstein's Once-Home"

Einsteinhaus Photo, Bern, Switzerland
Quote:
I’m not sure why I thought it a good idea to visit Einsteinhaus. As everybody who knows me will testify, I’m not the sharpest pencil in the pack when it comes to anything even vaguely scientific. And E=mc2 has never made any sense to me. But I suppose the news that Bern’s famous bear pits were devoid of bears had unhinged me a bit (no bears in Bern? How?!), so when I glanced up and saw a large photo of Einstein beaming from a window on Kramgasse, I dragged a surprised Tarun along to have a look.Our Swiss pass had allowed us free access to just about every museum and attraction in Switzerland, so we were a little put out to discover that Einsteinhaus, being privately owned, doesn’t honour the...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 25, 2009

Einsteinhaus
Kramgasse 49 - Postfach 638
Bern
+31 312 00 91

Zytglogge (Clock Tower)

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Attraction | "Swiss clockmaking at its eccentric best"

Zytglogge (Clock Tower) Photo, Bern, Switzerland
Quote:
No Swiss city’s complete without a clock—the more complicated, the better. I mean, keeping 6,500 flowers blooming simultaneously and not succumbing to heat, insects, and toddlers with itchy fingers is quite a feat (I’m referring to the flower clock at Geneva, by the way). Bern, by virtue of being the capital, must of course be tops, so they have a very fancy and historic clock, at the Zytglogge, the Clock Tower.The Zytglogge, appropriately enough, has moved with the times. Between 1191 and 1250 AD, this squat stone tower functioned as the western gate of Bern. In 1405, the tower was rebuilt following a fire, and some bright spark decided it was perfectly suited to be a prison for prostitutes...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 25, 2009

Zytglogge (Clock Tower)

Bern

Restaurant Anker

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Restaurant | "Passable Swiss Grub"

Restaurant Anker Photo, Bern, Switzerland
Quote:
We were ravenous when we reached Kornhausplatz, so we did a quick survey of the vicinity and settled on the first restaurant whose menu looked interesting (read traditional) and affordable. This was the Restaurant Brasserie Anker. Definitely not posh, with its red-and-white checked tablecloths, the dim interior dominated by dark wood and beer, and a huge menu featuring photographs of each dish.Outside, it was a little more cheery; the tablecloths were solid red (hides foodstains better, I guess), and the chairs were actually upholstered. We sat down, glanced through the menu and placed our orders, more or less on the basis of how filling a dish looked. Tarun ordered one of the house specialti...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 25, 2009

Restaurant Anker
Kornhausplatz 16
Bern, Switzerland
+41 31 311 11 13

Kunstmuseum (Art Museum)

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Attraction | "A Fine Collection of Fine Art"

Kunstmuseum (Art Museum) Photo, Bern, Switzerland
Quote:
The Kunstmuseum (the Museum of Fine Arts) can be a pain to get to because it’s tucked away in what I’ll call the inner elbow of the Aare. The rest of the city’s big attractions—the churches and cathedrals, the Zytglogge, Kornhausplatz, Einsteinhaus, etc are all on the east-west axis of the old town; Hodlerstrasse lies way up towards the northeast. We had some trouble finding it and ended up walking quite a lot, but eventually decided it was pretty much worth it. This is one good museum.Our Swiss pass was accepted here too, so having brandished it, we headed off into the first of the galleries. This area, as luck would have it, was hosting ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 25, 2009

Kunstmuseum (Art Museum)
Hodlerstrasse 8
Bern, Switzerland
031 328 09 44