Thursday, July 10, 2014

Switzerland Day 1: Old Town Bern

Three days after school ended my sister and I embarked on a journey to Switzerland. We landed in Geneva, where our cousin picked us up. He drove us to his home in Bern where we stayed for a few days. His house sat on a hillside over looking the valley with farms above and city below. I fell in love with the neighborhood there. It reminded me of living in Oakland with the tiny streets, gardens, and the array of flowers in everyones yards.
City of Bern as seen from behind the Bundeshaus, Federal Assembly building

City of Bern as seen from behind the Bundeshaus, Federal Assembly building

On our first day we explored Old Town Bern which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The architecture was amazing with all the ornate details to look at. We began in Barenplatz with the farmers market and continued walking the streets admiring all the historical buildings. The store fronts had a covered archway to walk under with glass cases filled with items advertising the different merchandise sold within. We eventually came to the Zytglogge clock tower originally built in 1191 as the town's west gate.

Zytglogge clock tower
Zytglogge clock tower close up of zodiac clock face
Zytglogge clock tower
We continued on until we reached Bear Park, which is a miniature zoo to house the Bern's brown bear that are a symbol of the town. We followed a path through the woods along the river Aare until we reached the Bernisches Historisches Museum. They had an amazing exhibit on the Pile Dwellers, Switzerland settlers of the Late Stone Age and Bronze Age. The early settlements are another UNESCO heritage site, but this exhibit was much more extensive than to have actually visited the site. It was incredible to watch the live demonstration they had out in front of the museum. The recreation of an actually house of that time using the type of tools the Pile dwellers used centuries ago.

River Aare

Bergisches Historisches Museum

Bear Park

The Munster St. Vinzenz (Bern Minster) a German-influenced late Gothic style cathedral, was next on the places we visited. It was so inspiring and a dream come true to finally be able to experience and witness in person the art and architectural style that I have studied for so many years. The pure magnitude of the height of the building reaching towards the heavens and the intricate details of the stone work as well as the wood carvings is simply awe inspiring. 

Bern Munster as seen from across the river Aare

Our very tired feet led us back to the Bundeshaus where we picked up a bus back to our cousin's house for dinner and a nap.

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