Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Sunny Day in Bern

Our last days of vacation got a bit packed with activities so blogging went by the wayside.  Even though we are now back home in California, I want to finish my vacation posts.  BB (before blog!), I kept a written travel diary.  My blog has now become my diary, so I need to write about the rest of our adventures.

September 16 - The breakfast at La Pergola is similar to the one offered by the Hotel Dom.  Lots of bread choices, including whole loaves where you can cut yourself a sizable chunk.  Fresh fruit salad, sliced meats, and a large selection of cheeses.  Cold cereal, milk, juice, a basket of apples/bananas/plums, and several flavors of yogurt.  The yogurt that I’ve had while on this trip is much creamier and more flavorful than what I am used to.  I’m certain that it is a lot higher in fat content, too!  Fortunately, there are no labels to peruse on the breakfast buffet, so I can just enjoy without guilt.  The best part of the breakfasts, however, is the coffee.  They brew a small pot of coffee for each guest individually and serve it with a pitcher of steamed milk.  It is wonderful!

DH and I marked off the sites we wanted to see today and mapped a circuitous route through the Old Town in order to catch as many of them as possible while the sun is shining.

During a visit to yet another church on the early part of our walk, I had one of those surprising moments.  A blind man entered the church and walked directly to the altar of Our Lady.  He prayed a moment, then took out a harmonica and played a lovely serenade.  My heart told me that he does this every day.

The Ensign Fountain
Bern is known for its 16th century fountains located throughout Old Town, and we were determined to see each of them.  I'm not sure we met our goal, but we certainly enjoyed the effort.  We spent some time at the House of Parliament building on the Square of Parliament - quite an impressive building.  While strolling along the lovely promenade behind the building, I suddenly realized that the Alps were peaking out above a few low clouds.  I was actually looking at the Swiss Alps!

Approaching the Clock Tower
The Zytglogge is a must-see in Bern.  The clock on this 13th century tower puts on quite a show from 4 minutes before the hour through chiming the hour.  Bears rotate, gilded figures strike the bells, and dozens of onlookers admire the clockfaces and astronomical clock.  We tried several times to get to the show on time but missed seeing the entire 4+ minutes.  Oh, well - a reason to go back perhaps?

DH did most of the planning for this trip, but neither one of us remembered that the house where Albert Einstein did most of his work on his theory of relativity is now a museum dedicated to the physicist.  Climbing the narrow circular stairs from floor to floor in the museum reminded me of the stairs in the Amsterdam apartment!  There isn't much to the museum (entrance fee is just $4 for seniors), but the displays detailing Einstein's life and work are quite interesting even for a non-scientist.

House of Parliament - Bern
We found a small park next to a church and had sandwiches for lunch on a park bench.  Then more walking and sightseeing through Old Town.  By the time we got back to the hotel and rested awhile, we were too tired to hike anywhere far for dinner.  The Italian restaurant across the street called to us again.

I think we've taken 2000 pictures and climbed 2000 steps - I hope my knees hold out!

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