Learning Bern


Another great aspect of travel is learning about other cultures and meeting new people.

While we have not been out in the city too much yet, I have been trying to learn new things about Bern, the area and its people.

I learned from one of the volunteers that Bern, the fourth most populous city in Switzerland, is in the German part of Switzerland. It is called Bern or Berne.

They learn high German in school, but speak their own dialect, which is unique to Bern. There is also a French area of Switzerland, as well as Italian and Romanian areas.

Everyone seems to speak at least two languages! Some of the locals even speak Spanish, so I can use some of the Spanish I learned in Mexico, such as dos cervezas por favour! It is a must to learn how to order beer from the locals. Since I am in the German area, I got the volunteers to teach me “zwei Bier bitte (two beer please).” The beer is outstanding, with different types at almost every cafe and restaurant.

I could also eat their breakfast selection of meats, cheeses and eggs every day. But then I definitely have to walk every day. The food so far has been outstanding, although different than at home. The guys have been happy to be able to order French fries, but I was happy to order a Caprese salad yesterday with fresh tomatoes. We also tasted beet gnocchi, and had a wonderful antipasto platter of meats, cheeses, olives, a spicy arugula and dips.

The hotel rooms are small by our standards, but I also think we carry too much stuff. We could learn from the European efficiency and compact way of living.

Cars are also small here, which is appropriate for the tighter streets and small parking spots, but also because gas is 1.48 Swiss francs – about $2.02 Canadian a litre. You don’t see many of the huge trucks and gas-guzzling vehicles that we drive.

People all look fit, and that is perhaps because of their lifestyle of walking or biking everywhere. Even with the train, tram and bus system, the city is set up to encourage walking. Which is a good thing, after eating all the meats, cheeses and of course ein oder zwei Bier!

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