Most people may not know it, but Bern is actually the capital city of Switzerland. Like most people, I would associate Zurich as the capital city due to it’s size and financial status, plus the country’s main airport is also near Zurich. When you talk to people about visiting major Swiss cities, Bern doesn’t come up often.
And since I was staying in Switzerland for an extended time, it would be a shame not to visit my host country’s capital at least once. Getting to Bern is pretty easy. Again, railway is the most convenient and economical way to get there.
Bern is built along a bend in the Aare River and is rather small when compared to Zurich. So although it’s the capital city, it doesn’t feel like one. The Old Town is located on a hill in the bend of the Aare River and bridges connect it to the newer expanded city areas.
I find that Bern is small enough to walk around. There are trams and buses that visitors can take to get around faster, but I always enjoy walking as it allows me to see the local culture and street life at a more intimate level.
There was a bear pit that houses bears which are symbols of the city’s emblem. However, I found that it was quite depressing to see the majestic looking bears being kept in a pit, and these animals are supposed to the emblems of the city. I hear that the pit is now converted into a bear park and the bears are allowed to roam freely in a large compound where they can also swim in the river.That’s much better.
I only spent a day in Bern and did not stay overnight. Due to that, I also did not see more sights in the city. I feel that a 2~3 day stay would really allow a visitor to appreciate the city more at a leisurely pace.