Bern

October 12-13:  It was really difficult to leave Montreux.  Just the one day there reinforced that I’m going to have to live in a French area in Europe at some point in my life.   The consolation to leaving is another beautiful train ride – this time to Bern via Lausanne.   On the way to Lausanne, there are views of the area’s wineries, perched on the hills above Lake Geneva:

As the train heads north toward Bern, the clouds melt away and we’re presented with yet another sunny day.  We find our way from the train station to our small hotel in the old town of Bern, drop off our bags and after a late lunch eaten sitting along side a cobblestone street, we take in a small museum set up in Albert Einstein’s apartment for his time in Bern.  It’s not a good museum – Jodi quipped that it was like someone just printed out a bunch of stuff from wikipedia. 

With a beautiful afternoon upon us, we stroll over to Bern’s Bear Park to see the bears who are a symbol of the city.   We’re lucky that two of the bears are playing in the water when we arrive:

The bears were very amusing playing in the water.  Jodi decided to shoot this video, and hilarity ensues around the 0:30 mark. After the laughing subsides, we take in some of the sights of Bern as we make our way back to our hotel before supper:

No photo tour of Bern is complete without a picture of the Zytglogge, the 800+ year old medieval clock tower in the heart of Bern’s old town:

In the evening, we have a spectacular meal at cozy Pizzeria da Bucolo.  Wood-oven pizzas, better than any we’ve had, filled the night.  Desert, something I usually take a pass one, was really unique – a panna cotta gelato (so creamy!):

Our second day in Bern and the weather is starting to feel more fall like.  In the morning, you can see your breath, but it warms up nicely for the afternoon.  

Münster of Bern from across the River Aare:

Here’s our morning destination – the Swiss Museum, and in particular, the Einstein Museum located within:

We have the Einstein Museum to ourselves and spend a couple of hours learning the story of his life.  The museum does a great job of putting his life and work in context of world events and the pressures on him academically and politically.   There are wonderful artifacts like old school report cards, essays he wrote to enter university and this one, his immigration document when we moved to the US:

We spend the afternoon being pretty lazy and wander around town a bit:

I really liked Bern.  It’s old town is a UNESCO site and is beautifully preserved.   But it’s also a town with a bit of personality and humour, perhaps best demonstrated by Kindlifresserbrunnen, a monument in a busy town square of an ogre eating a child (with a few more at the ready in his sack).  Ok, that’s not really funny (among a couple of interpretations, the most likely one is it’s a symbol to scare disobedient children), but the fact that it’s still there in a busy square makes me chuckle:

On our last night in Bern, we decide to violate one of our principle travel rules (“Thou shalt never return to the same restaurant on the same trip lest ye be disappointed”) and go back to da Bucolo for supper.  It’s wonderful the second time around.  This place is so good, that for 2 nights we forgot to take pictures of our pizzas. 

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