Sunday so it’s a big city visit. We headed into Bern the capital of Switzerland. We easily found car parking, again a Sunday experience and started our exploration.
The city of Bern was founded in 1191, Duke Berchtold V. von Zähringen commissioned the nobleman Cuno von Bubenberg to build a city on a peninsula which would offer protection on three sides. The Clock Tower (Zytglogge) still standing today was the city’s first gate. Over the centuries the city expanded and in the late Middle Ages Bern was seen as the largest and most powerful city north of the Alps. In 1405 most of the city was burned down but was quickly rebuilt this time in sandstone. In 1848 Bern was elected the capital of Switzerland by the first united parliament. In 1983 the old town of Bern due to its sandstone medieval landscape was included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List.
We started our tour at the Bärenpark. The name and emblem of the town is a bear which first appeared in 1224. According to legend, the town was named after the first animal that the Duke Berchtold V. von Zähringen caught while hunting as the city was being built. Today they still keep three live bears at the Bärenpark – Finn, Björk and Ursina. This was the first time daisy had seen a bear and both looked curiously at one another.
From there we wandered through the old town. It was a really hot day 34°C and to get some shade we walked through some of the 6km of covered arcades. Bern boasts one of the longest covered shopping promenades in Europe.
It was a charming city to walk around with the river, the old gates entrances such as the Zytglogge, the Bundeshause (Parliament building), lovely gardens, the cathedral and many other old buildings.
Bern would rate high in our list of cities to visit. We had thoroughly enjoyed our day.