Bern, The City For Wanderers…
During the second week of our French exchange, we went on a tour to visit some small cities around France. Since we were right by the border, we decided to stop in Bern, Switzerland so that we could practice our French and learn about a new city at the same time. We went on a French walking tour and it was so much fun learning about a new city in a different language.
Bern is a perfect city for people who get lost easily. It is only five streets wide and is bordered by a river, so as long as you don’t end up swimming, you should be fine.
Did you know that the city of Bern is a Unesco World Heritage Site? It is located on a peninsula and is bordered by the Aare river.
Bern got it’s name because the founder of the city, The Duke of Zahringen, decided to go on a hunt, and whichever animal he encountered first would be the name of the city. The first animal he saw was a bear which gave the city it’s name. As a special honor, there is an outdoor enclosure with three bears inside to remind everyone about the history of Bern.
One of the things I found most amazing was that there are over 100 fountains across the city, and all of the water is drinkable. This reminded me of all of the nasonis (drinking fountains) we saw on our trip in Rome, Italy.
One of the most popular things to see in Bern is the moving clock. It was made in 1530 and is the oldest clock in the world. It was designed by a German clock maker and the same mechanisms that were used in the 1500’s are still used today. My favorite part of this clock is that every hour when the bells ring, the small statues at the top of the tower and beside the bottom clock move to the sound of the bells. We have seen many other beautiful and famous clock towers on our travels such as Big Ben in London, England, The Astronomical Clock in Prague, and The Peace Tower in Ottawa, Canada. If I were to design a big clock tower I would build it as tall as the Big Ben, and put a lot of small moving statues around the clock like the one in Bern.
There is also a giant, beautiful church called the Munster Cathedral. It was built in 1421 and designed by a 21 year old German man named Matthäus Ensinger. The tower used to be 62 meters tall, but when the parliament building was built, the cathedral became less popular. The tower was then built higher to be 100 meters tall so that it would be more famous. This cathedral reminds me of the The Dom in Germany except the Munster cathedral only has one tower while the Dom has two. Did you know that the tower on the Munster Cathedral is taller than Big Ben?! The Big Ben is 96 meters tall, while the Munster Cathedral is 100 meters tall.
On our world trip in 2014, we visited Geneva in Switzerland, but we never made it to Bern. My parents would have loved to visit this city with us and hopefully next time we can all go together. We are so glad that we had the chance to visit this beautiful and picturesque city. I can tell that my French has improved because while on the tour, I could understand everything our guide was telling us!
We had such a fun time in Bern and luckily did not got lost, accidentally end up swimming in the Aare river, or get eaten by a bear!