The views and charms of Switzerland

Trip Start Nov 30, 2012
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Trip End Jan 30, 2013


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Flag of Switzerland  , Bern,
Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bern!

What a nice Swiss town…the capital in fact! Yes, but I guess like the Swiss it's an unassuming place.  Nothing magnificent or grand here but boy is it picturesque, both inside and around.  I don’t know if it’s worth making a big trip for (especially after my experience there haha) BUT if you find yourselves in Bern for a day…even a couple hours…it is a really nice place to see.

We got there after a super awesome train ride from Venice that passed through Milan.  Weather just got colder and who would’ve thought it but we got SNOW while travelling on the train!  I guess it didn’t technically snow on us but it was snowing!  And a lot I might add as well with some of the really nice fluffy stuff which I found surprising in Italy but I wasn’t complaining.  By the time we got to Milan everything was covered in a perfect blanket of white (though it had stopped snowing by then), we grabbed a quick bite to eat and off it was again on the train to Bern.  The train ride up through Switzerland was fantastic, just really glad we took it during the day cos even with the cloudiness the views were amazing.  Lakes with towns scattered around, castles overlooking the mountainside, streams running down their little paths across the plains.  Just wish the damned train glass windows didn’t ruin every photo =P.

Got to Bern in the afternoon and headed on our way to the hostel, the thing that struck me the most at first was how old the city centre looked!  And so coherent too!  Not a modern building in sight.  Was wonderful walking past these olive green houses with the very ingeniously designed undercover arcades…one of the longest in Europe apparently!  They also had these cool doors that opened to an entire floor underneath‼  Anyways got there to our hostel…was smaller than our Venice appartments haha BUT was still very roomy and very nice with sloping roof and everything.  Dumped our stuff and off we went!

As much as I like Bern, the place doesn’t really have the sights you would associate with a big touristy place…well that’s cos it isn’t! anyways, the thing is don’t spend that much time looking for grand place cos you won’t find it which we quickly found out XD.  So instead for our first day we had some awesome fun in the snow, and you know what?  It was awesome fun!  Ah I really miss the snow, and it was the good fluffy kind!  So of course snow balls, mini snow men and snow angels were found to follow =)  Was a shame we only really had 5 cm of snow or so and that it was already starting to melt slightly but until it now it was our 'snow’ day.  Hiked up to the hill as we went for some very cool views over Bern, postcard perfect serious!  Albeit a bit cold.

Didn’t do much after that, checked out a lot of the souvenir shops on the way and in a word, expensive.  Actually for most things in Switzerland, expensive is probably the first adjective that will come to mind shortly being followed by quality =).  Was especially cool seeing a wall of synchronised clocks TO THE SECOND and was trying to figure out how long it must’ve taken them to get them all exactly the same before the lady behind the counter said they were radio controlled.  Haha guess I should’ve thought of that!  So anyways, walking back to our hostel…meet a group of meeting having a blast drinking gluhwein on the street and it smelt good too ^^.  Wanted to push past them and almost got squeezed to death, didn’t realise the Swiss were that stubborn…shortly after we pass the bunch…I feel my pocket and…my wallet is gone…

Writing in hindsight of course I should’ve realised what had happened but I was in Switzerland and in Bern of all places where the people are old and rich.  So I check my pockets, my bag, everyone else’s bags, surely I must’ve just misplaced or dropped it somewhere.  Maybe at the post office where we bought stamps, nup, maybe at the souvenir store with the dancing synchronised clocks, nup.  Maybe it was on the ground!...nup  We must’ve swept the arcades 4 or 5 times and even asked the guys at the gluhwein place, nothing.  So in short, my wallet was lost…in Switzerland of all places!  I just had to jinx it too by saying that since nothing bad had happened to us in Paris/Barcelona/Rome that we’ll get something stolen in a place where crime rate is ridiculously low, like Denmark…(or Switzerland).  *sigh* Kicked myself for not realising that experiencing a Hong Kong peak hour squeeze under a Swiss arcade was a little out of the ordinary.  I just can’t figure out how they realised I had a wallet there cos it was mostly covered by my jacket.  Ah wells, promptly cancelled the credit card and the travel card and thank goodness I had used the majority of my cash.  Still it’s 100 euros gone and a lost drivers licence and student card =(.  Could be worse I guess, at least I have my passport.  Went to the police station the next day to get the report mainly for insurance purposes, at the very least I should be able to get the cash back, and if I’m lucky maybe they’ll pay for my replacement IDs too =).  Let’s hope that’ll be the last of that.

Needless to say I didn’t feel especially great for the rest of the night and I don’t know whether it was cos we lost money or just the simple fact that everything in Bern was so expensive (probably both), we decided to go buy some supermarket food.  Instant carbonara and mee goreng from a packet…mmmm

Next day was much better, weather was still kinda dull and to make matters worse it had rained so our nice little snow cover had turned to slushy =(.  BUT we headed off to the Swiss History Museum to check out the Einstein exhibit…on my brother’s adamant insistence.  So off we went and man I was surprised at how good a time I had there, Swiss history is so violent with what seemed like never ending wars but it meant the exhibits were cool with lots of knights in armour getting stabbed.  The audioguide again was invaluable and I had a really good time in the history section.  What was mind blowing though was the Einstein exhibit, as soon as you walked into the entrance hall it was amazing with an entire stairwell covered in mirrors…it was an overwhelming sight and it was such a good lead into the wacky and distorted world that is relativity.  Great stories on his life and discoveries and so much interactive material to play with as well!  If anyone has a chance to go to Bern, go there!

Had a late lunch after that for some awesome (and expensive) Swiss dishes, I don’t know what it was but with the cold outside and the beer it just went together so well.  A hearty meal of pork chops, potatoes (kinda between baked and fried that was AMAZING) and cheese…mmmm.  And that was pretty much our day, had a train to catch later that night and everything was really too expensive to do much else so it was a lot of window shopping.

Et voila, Bern where the sights are picturesque and the locals know how to run a museum but beware your wallet and make sure you have money to spend! XD
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Comments

saNdra on

this is so awesome!!! hehe yay this blog!! =]

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