A Week in Switzerland: Another Day in Bern


After flying across the Atlantic, seeing the town, watching a hockey game, and partying it up, I took my second day in Bern a little slower.

My trusty steed

I’d found a recommendation online for a pretty church to visit outside of town, so I thought I’d check it out. Among other amazing amenities, Bern has free bike rentals. Leave an ID behind and you can have a bike for half a day, which is a sweet deal. Like most northern European cities, Bern was very bike-friendly – but not the hectic chaos of Amsterdam.

Swiss-style graveyard

This church garden, way outside town in Bremgarten, was certainly further than I expected. I’m not gonna lie, I cursed a few times under my breath, because the ride was incredibly steep… or I was incredibly out of shape. Either way, I was exhausted when I rolled down the gravel path to the church. It was just a little wooden building, surrounded by a cemetery. But the cemetery was hands-down the most beautiful I’ve seen.

Each grave had a bed of flowers in front of it, so it was basically a garden, and the whole thing was cute and cozy. There were even a few cats around. If it weren’t for the rain, I would have stayed a lot longer. With the rain threatening, I returned back. The ride was steep both ways! I had to stop a few times, even on the lowest gear, because it felt like I was going straight up.

Gelateria in the back, the cart wasn’t open when I arrived

My next destination was a gelatto place I’d heard recommended, Gelateria di Berna. Delicious, and I think it was a fitting reward for a few hours of hard riding.

Hot damn!

Like many of the stores and restaurants in Bern, this was in a homey little nook. Sehr gemuetlich! I dropped the bike off disconcertingly early, considering the amount of effort I thought I’d put in. Now there were a few more places I wanted to see downtown, such as the parliament of Bern.

Technically, no photos allowed

I also wanted to see the Muenster, the main cathedral downtown – it’s one of the main landmarks of the city. Actually, it was closed for a concert, and I figured, what-the-heck – let’s get a ticket. It was a school choir, but they were pretty good, and accompanied by professional musicians (including some Brazilian dude who played lute). The theme was a history of Bern & religion through music, so they did musical pieces from various periods dating back to the early middle ages, intermixed with narration. It was pleasant, but I understood none of the narration. There was even a scene where the director and a few musicians pretended to be drunk monks. The crowd ate it up! But the best part, and a complete surprise to me, was seeing an Alpenhorn. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity – hear the horn not in a tourist shop, but surrounded by Swiss. And the guy playing it was on scaffolding way up behind the stage (you can see the scaffolding in the photo above, he was on a middle level).

That was pretty much my Bern experience – I spent the evening reading through a light rain. I arrived early the next morning in Zurich for work.

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