Tuesday – Using the last of our Swiss pass we went to Bern, the capital of Switzerland. How could it be any different than all the other places we’ve already seen? But it was. Bern is a medieval city, with the old part of the city dating back to the 12th century! It was like being back in time or walking on a movie set. We saw a 20 min. film telling the history – so interesting. The legend is that while establishing the first castle in the area the duke killed a bear – so in the old town there is a bear pit that dates back to the 1100’s that still has 3 live bears in it today. The crest of the town has a bear and many bears decorate the fountains and bay windows. Today there are no bears or wolves in Switzerland having killed them all off to protect their livestock. There are not too many wilderness areas here, most of the sides of the mountains are cleared for pastures. The archways that line the buildings started out as venders in front of the houses all along the road. They eventually were made into permanent structures and then built second and third stories above them. Today they are still beautiful covered archways with shops all along. At the base of the arches are built in benches and large cellar doors that lead to the dungeons, I mean basements 🙂 some of these are open with the stairs leading down to restaurants or more shops. Of course the government buildings are grand as are the churches. And always the bells reminding you of your duty to go to church, pray and commune with God. A nice reminder to stop and give thanks.
This is our last night in Switzerland so we treated Beda and Isabelle and their two sons to dinner in the old part of Zurich. The charm of this city as you meander through the tiny alleys and cobblestone streets lined with shops and restaurants is like being frozen in time, an experience like no other. We had great conversation, Beda is well read, well traveled and up on all current events, some differing world views but good points made on both sides. A relaxing evening before we have to pack up and be ready to leave in the morning for Frankfurt.