Day 5 / 19 November 2015: Lugano to Bern
After staying in Lugano for 5D/4N, we will travel to Bern to stay for another 3D/2N.
We left Lugano station a little pass 12 noon for yet another 3 hour ride back to Zurich Station
Since we have so much time, we check the other cabins of the train.
They have special “cabins” for groups who wants to travel with a little privacy. Like businessmen who wants to have a meeting while traveling.
Another scenic route back to Zurich.
I remember this shot, a little less than an hour before arriving Zurich.
Upon arriving Zurich station, we transfer to another train and took another 1 hour train ride to Bern Station.
We arrived at Bern almost 6pm, the city seems more busy compared to Lugano.
We easily found our hotel, Hotel National which is a 5 minute walking distance from the station. (Please click HERE to read about our experience in staying in this hotel)
Bern Ticket – From your very first overnight stay in a tourist accommodation in the city of Bern, you will receive a Bern Ticket for your whole stay, which lets you travel for free on public transport in zones 100/101 operated by the LIBERO Association. It also includes the famous Gurten funicular, the funicular Marzilibahn, and the elevator to the Cathedral Platform, as well as travel to and from Bern Airport. On your day of arrival, your reservation confirmation can be used as a transfer ticket from the station or the airport of Bern to your accommodation.
You will receive your Bern Ticket when you check in to your accommodation, and it is only valid if completed in full. Show the ticket to inspectors when requested. – Bern Tourism website
After a quick dinner, we went out to check the Federal Palace of Switzerland, the home of the government (Federal Council) and parliament (National Council, Council of States). It was built around 1852-1902, artists from all parts of Switzerland created the rich interior with paintings, sculptures and mosaics.
I read earlier that they are holding “Rendez-vous Bundesplatz”, a limited time event wherein the Parliament Building bathe in a special light and sound show. 2015 is the fifth year that they are holding this event, for 2016 it was scheduled to play from October 14 to November 27, 2016. For further info, please visit the official website of Bern Tourism for more details.
This year’s story “The Jewel of the Mountains” focuses on a Swiss landmark which is famous worldwide, the Matterhorn. Swiss precision and a tale bursting with emotion combined to make a sensory experience.
Day 6 / 20 November 2015: Bern
Not many cities have managed to retain their historic features quite as successfully as Bern, the capital of Switzerland. The old town of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and thanks to its 6 kilometres of arcades – the locals refer to them as ‘Lauben’ – boasts on of the longest weather-sheltered shopping promenades in Europe.
It was raining the next day and we were worried if we will be able to “conquer” this city for a day. Despite the cold and wet weather, we decided to go out and check as many places as we can for the day.
Our first stop is Gurten, Bern’s local mountain. We took tram no. 9 just outside our hotel and alighted at “Gurtenbahn” stop. The gate further on the right is the station for Gurtenbahn funicular, which will take you up to the top of Gurten. Both rides were free care of “Bern Ticket” .
The Gurtenbahn is a funicular railway in the southern suburbs of the Swiss capital city of Bern. The line is owned and operated by the Gurtenbahn AG company. The line links Wabern, in the municipality of Köniz, with the summit of the Gurten mountain, which overlooks the city of Bern. Wabern can be reached from the city centre by tram, train or car.
The funicular railway station on top of Gurten overlooking the whole city of Bern.
We are not able to see a clear view of the whole Bern from the top because of the rain 😦
I honestly do not know if he is a cow or what
On a clear day, aside from the whole city of Bern, you can also view Jura Mountains and the Alps from here.
Since we cannot get a good shot of the town below because of the rain, we decided not to stay too long and go back to the city center.
Walking back to the funicular station.
Facilities on the Gurten include a hotel, restaurants, a 25-metre-high (82 ft) viewing tower and a children’s playground. Winter sports facilities are available in winter. The Gurtenfestival, a music festival, is held every year in the middle of July.
The autumn colors of the tree plus the town of Bern below is such a perfect view on the way down from the mountain.
Though we did not fully enjoyed the view from the top, the ride up and down the mountain is enough for us to be happy 😉
We took the tram from Gurten back to Bern Station, our next destination will be Rosengarten or Rose Garden. From the station, we need to take bus no. 10 to “Rosengarten” stop. Bern main train station with Church of the Holy Spirit at the background.
The “gate” entrance of Rose Garden.
The Rose Garden is a large park with a wonderful view of the Old Town and Aare Loop. The park is home to 220 different types of roses, 200 types of irises and moor beds with 28 different types of rhododendrons.
There is also a play ground in this park for tourists with their children.
At one side of the garden is a good vantage point to view the old town of Bern.
Despite the rainy weather, you can still appreciate the beauty of this scenic view. I wonder how this looks like in winter when everything is covered with snow (bucket list alert!)
A little tweety enjoying a “birds eye view” of the old town.
We were very satisfied leaving this place, the view here is better than Gurten earlier the day.
We are taking the same bus (no. 10) back to the main station. Bus stop just outside the main gate/entrance of Rosengarten.
Upon arriving back at main train station, we just walk walk walk and passed by Bern’s City Theater, they offer a season of over 300 performances in opera / operetta / musical theater and ballet/dance with some 30 new productions. Besides the classics, many premieres and first performances are also shown.
Near our hotel is a park called “Kleine Schanze“, The small hill is located in the city center, next to the Federal Parliament. Originally served the small hill as a bulwark of the city fortifications. It was built 1625th took place until the 19th century gradually transforming the park. The former Bastion 1817 leveled and converted into an English with walking paths, bushes and benches. 1958 received the system by reorganizing its present structure, which was completed in the 90’s with perennials.
Nearby is another church, Trinity Church
And I have to take a “selfie” once in a while right? ;-P
The hilly part of the park gives another view of another side of Bern.
From the same vantage point, you can also view the other side of the Parliament Building.
The Federal Palace of Switzerland standing mightily with the dark clouds above.
We walk further towards the Parliament Building once again.
Construction on the Parliament Building (the west wing of today’s Parliament Building) started in 1852. The east wing, mirroring the west wing, was added in 1884; and in 1902 the structure was extended into a building complex composed of three parts. All in all, 38 artists from throughout Switzerland are responsible for the building’s decorations.
The Parliament Building is the seat of the Swiss government (Federal Council) and the parliament (National Council and Council of States). The building was completed in 1902. The central domed hall and both chambers feature numerous symbolic renderings of Swiss history.
The Parliament Square was inaugurated on July 31 and August 1, 2004 (Swiss National Day). The square now serves as a gathering place for young and old, rather than providing parking spaces for cars as it used to. It also hosts the traditional weekly market.
Another prominent sight in Bern (and for most part of Switzerland) is fountain erected some even on the middle of streets. Bern has well over 100 fountains, eleven of which still retain the original tableaus with their beautiful allegorical figures. These elaborate fountains, erected in around 1550 to replace the previous wooden examples, reveal the wealth of the era’s bourgeoisie. As always, the Bernese practical approach combined the useful with the artistic. Today, the fountains preserve for posterity the memory of heroes and historic events from the Middle Ages.
As the name Prison Tower suggests, this gate tower was originally constructed as a prison. It was Bern’s second city gate. From 1977 to 1979 both the interior and exterior of the Prison Tower underwent complete renovation. Since 1999 the Prison Tower has served as the seat of the Confederation’s political forum, regularly hosting exhibitions and events relating to political issues.
The Käfigturm was the city’s second western gateway. The tower was built between 1256 and 1344, served as a prison between 1641 and 1643 and retained that function until 1897. The clock was installed in 1691.
The Anna-Seiler-Brunnen (Anna Seiler Fountain), located at the upper end of Marktgasse memorializes the founder of the first hospital in Bern. Anna Seiler is represented by a woman in a blue dress, pouring water into a small dish. She stands on a pillar brought from the Roman town of Aventicum (modern Avenches)
The Schützenbrunnen (Musketeer Fountain) is on the Marktgasse in Bern and belongs to the 1542 to 1546 caused major group of fountains in Bern. An original wooden fountain was replaced in 1527 with a stone. The 1543 dated Brunnenfigur is Hans Gieng attributed. It represents a strongly worded Protect Venner represents. He carries in his right hand the banner of 1799 repealed society to protect, which the Reismusketen-Schützengesellschaft leads since then. In his left hand he holds a sword. Between his legs a bear cub aims a rifle at the arcades. On the original site of the fountain Osita aimed at the entrance of the former house of protecting society.
More than 140 years ago, public fountains played a key role for Bern’s water supply. They were a meeting place where people gossiped, washed, and of course drew clean drinking water.
Approaching The Clock Tower (Zytglogge)
The Clock Tower (Zytglogge) was the first western gate of the city (1191 – 1256) and, with its famous astronomical calendar clock built in 1530, is now one of the main attractions of Bern and the oldest clocks in Switzerland.
The tower clock served as the master clock for the city of Bern and hence set the standard. From there, the hours were measured which are indicated on the hour stones of the canton’s roads. The hour chimes, the two tower clocks, the mechanical figures and the astronomical clock are all driven by a common mechanism. The exterior appearance of the tower is dominated by late-Baroque elements. The large dial is framed by a fresco produced by Viktor Surbek in 1930.
The Zähringerbrunnen (Zähringen Fountain) is a fountain on Kramgasse, was probably built in 1535 as a memorial to the founder of Bern, Berchtold von Zähringer. The statue is a bear in full armor, with another bear cub at his feet. The bear represents the bear that, according to legend, Berchtold shot on the Aare peninsula as he was searching for a site to build a city. The armored bear carries a shield and a banner, both emblazoned with the Zähringen lion.
The flat on the second floor of Kramgasse No. 49 was rented by Einstein from 1903 to 1905. It has been restored in the style of that period to reflect Einstein’s crucial years in Bern. The flat is open to the public. From the main train station you get to Kramgasse No. 49, if you take the direction of “Bärengraben,” walking under the right-hand arcade.
Walking further ahead, we arrived at Kirchenfeldbrücke bridge, from the brdige you get the view or the Aare river and Bern Cathedral.
The Aare is the longest wholly Swiss river. It originates from the Oberaar glacier in the eastern Bernese Alps, flows through lakes Brienz and Thun, passes by the federal capital of Bern, is channelled into Lake Biel, follows the southern foot of the Jura range and finally flows into the Rhine at Koblenz, in north-western Switzerland. Passenger boats operate on the lakes as well as the river section from Biel to Solothurn.
A view of Kirchenfeldbrücke bridge from down below.
During summer, locals and tourist alike enjoy swimming in this pristine waters of Aare.
Back up at Kirchenfeldbrücke bridge, on the other side of the bridge you get to see another view of the Parliament Building.
We ended the day by passing by the Federal Palace for the last time. Though the day’s schedule seems very tight plus the uncooperative weather, we were happy and very satisfied of what we have accomplished today (and the whole trip itself). Though we wish we could have stayed longer, tomorrow we will be flying back to Singapore ans will surely miss this great city.
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