THE CAPITAL CITY OF BERN
An ideal place for an Add-on
By Bob Enzel
As an inveterate traveler I am conscious of my
three P’s of traveling: planning, patience, and politeness.
Patience and politeness are merely a matter of good manners and courtesy
honed to silence during critical moments. But planning
takes thought ahead of time.
What does this have to do with Bern you may wonder? A
few years ago my friends and I had visited Interlaken and the ski meccas of
and Wengen. We drove from Zurich at our leisure, going around the city
of Bern without so much as a decent look. In retrospect that was
extremely poor planning. Our focus was toward awesome ski slopes
just outside of Interlaken. Not visiting Bern--even for only a
few hours--was a shameful omission on our part.
But even omissions can be corrected and I can now report
that Bern is a city that should not be missed on the way to the Eiger, Mönch
and Jungfrau mountains. The city of Bern is located about 45 minutes by
train from Interlaken (trains run twice an hour).
This winter is an excellent time to visit Bern. If you
are an architectural buff and a painting enthusiast, you must visit the
recently opened Paul Klee art museum. This avant-garde edifice was designed
as if a series of gentle waves beckon you inside to view an unprecedented
number of paintings by one artist in one location. More than 4,000 of works
of iconic Klee are in this one center. The museum is wonderfully sectioned
into several functional parts: the middle hall offers a rotating smaller
exhibition; the main hall overwhelms you with his paintings and there is a
Children’s Museum (Creaviva) for children ages four and older.
But this is the year of Einstein. Albert Einstein lived
in Bern for seven years during which time he developed the Theory of
Relativity. And, things being relative, a visit to Bern this winter must
include a visit to the special exhibit “Albert Einstein 1879-1955” at the
Historical Museum. Meet Einstein by experiencing his physics. Watch films
and computer animations as they present his life and role in world history.
“Hands-on” technological displays allow you to watch construction of a Roman
Arch, lift weights by treadmill, ride a bike on a high wire, or even drive a
disc-wheeled wagon. These are just the tip of a two-floor 2500 square meter
exhibition. His life from Russia to Princeton with stops in Bern, Zurich
and Ulm along the way will fascinate you.
Bern also wants to show off its STADE DE SUISSE. This
multifunctional arena for cultural events and sporting venues will truly
amaze your senses. Book a tour if your time is limited. If you can speak
German or French, it’s easy enough to do by Internet at
www.stadedesuisse.ch/, but if not, you can still get a pretty good idea
of this mammoth solar-sized power station and comprehensive facilities by
surfing the site.
Before I mention some other Bern sites, allow me to
suggest you opt for a BernCard. Pick up one of these little gems in
the Tourist Centers of Bern Tourism at the railway station or at the Bear
Pits. Again, you can go on-line and access them at
www.berninfo.com or contact them at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Good news for those that have trouble with French and
German---it’s in English. In short, the BernCard offers an amazing
number of discounts on tours, strolls, 27 museums and unlimited travel on
the excellent public transportation system.
Bern is a walking city with an Old Town you’ll fall in
love with. There’s the medieval Zytglogge “clock tower”; the Bear Pits, in
front of churches, bridges and fountains and its famous Bundeshaus. Of
course, there is much more, but this is enough to get the travel juices
Lastly, may I remind you that
the capital city of Bern is also a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage
Now that you have been alerted, when you do the planning
for your next ski trip to Switzerland, include the lovely and magical town