As mentioned in previous posts, one of the delights of our trip to Bern has been walking around the city.
It truly is beautiful, situated on a curve in the Aare River. There is much history here, but also wonderful outdoor settings.
Because it is on the river, the change in elevation from the city level to the river level is remarkable. Many of the houses and flats are built on the side of a mountain, and it takes many steps to get down to the river. All those steps help wear off the Swiss cheese and chocolate.
Another thing I appreciate is being able to get right into nature, only minutes after being in the bustle of the city. Along the river it is peaceful, lined with trees on one side and the river current on the other side. Walk up the slope from the riverside, and you can have a beer in a sidewalk café, and watch the people who are also out enjoying the city. Even in the city, everyone has flowers and greenery growing, even from the windows and balconies.
The river water is so clear and clean – and tasty – it can be consumed from the tap anywhere in Bern. You can even fill your glass or water bottle right from one of the many fountains that line the streets.
Like many places in Europe, they also have an effective and efficient transportation system. To get from city to city, there is the train system, which I wish we had utilized more in Canada.
Within the city of Bern is the local tram and bus system. In fact, with our hotel reservation, we got a free tram and bus pass for the length of our stay. This certainly encourages us to get out and know the city. We picked a couple of routes and followed them to the end. We saw city apartments, embassies, houses and even cattle and farm fields within the city.
Add to that the many paths for walking and bike lanes, and this is a city that gets us out of the hotel and into its cobblestone streets.