Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas from Switzerland!

After three years of Bern City Photo Blog this will be my last post. I hope you enjoy all the photos here online. Thanks for visiting and merry Christmas!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Altenberg façades

Altenberg is a charming little neighbourhood lining the River Aare in its valley below the town centre.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Restaurant Du Nord, gateway to the Lorraine,
Bern's northern neighbourhood

Lorrainestrasse, the main throroughfare

The Lorraine is a funky little neighbourhood mixing artistic and working-class values

Brasserie Lorraine, the neighbourhood's "alternative" bar, café, and concert venue

The Italian joint

The kiosk - love the plastic seats

The Lorraine is a five-minute walk over the Lorrainebrücke (Lorraine Bridge) from the railway station. Most tourists would miss it as they gravitate naturally towards the medieval Old Town in the centre. But Lorraine is immediately beside the centre and for those with more than just a few hours in Bern is well worth a wander - especially for those who dig the alternative neighbourhood vibe.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Everyone loves a good sunset

it's hot and it's sunny, so great sunsets abound. we love summer

Monday, June 09, 2008

Euro2008 Football Championships

Switzerland and Austria are jointly hosting Euro 2008, the European Football Championship games. The Dutch team have three games in Bern over the next eight days, and their massive fan base - at 120,000 almost the same number of people as live in Bern - has arrived in style.

Tonight is the Netherland's first game, against Italia... should be magic.

Full article here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bern Walking Tour

In advance of the summer tourist season, and especially the Euro2008 football season (starting next week - more on that later), I have put together this short walking tour of Berne. Visitors might find this useful...!

Thanks to Bern City blog reader Jonathan Hughes, you can access the file as a PDF at this link. Thanks J!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kirchenfeld Bridge and a Big Sky

"What were the skies like when you were young?

They went on forever, with little fluffy clouds..."

Anyone remember that song? :-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

View down to Bern from Gurten Hill

The River Aare flows around the town. In summer the straight stretch approaching the Federal Parliament is full of river-swimmers (Bernese: "Aareschwummer") being whisked along by the smooth-flowing river's fast current. The credo seems to be: Do it once, then walk back up along the bank, do it again...repeat until hungry...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

View over Bern from Wabern

Up amongst the allotments between Wabern and Köniz there is a good view over to the city centre, where you can see the Federal Parliament, and the old town of Bern, easily identifiable by the medieval cathedral.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Le paysage fribourgeois

Fifteen minutes from Bern, just before the bilingual town of Fribourg, the villages give way to hilly green countryside, rolling from Fribourg past Gruyère down to Lake Geneva.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Autumn in Berne

A view over the east-facing lower end of the town. You might also like to see this pic over the south face of Berne.

Related posts: This view, this view, this view and this view are shot from the same area, but in very different light and weather conditions.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cool fountain

I'd never noticed this fountain in the city centre until the other day. It's in the Munsterpark. Very typically Bern. Compare this fountain.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Gstaad sunset

Sunset in the mountains at Gstaad, near Bern.

Gstaad is a great place to stop for one or two hours on the Golden Pass panoramic express train ride. The Golden Pass is an awesome train line running across the Alps and down to Lake Geneva. The best seats are at the front where the driver would usually be located. On the Golden Pass, the driver has a booth above and eight lucky passengers get the cockpit seats. It's a lot of fun.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Riverbank rooftops

Funky Swiss houses. There was no hassle from the building planning dept. about uniformity in the old days!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The River Aare

Summer by the Aare, lower old town. The river is very high at the moment.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Urban Bern / Die Reitschule

Here's the heavily graffitied Reitschule a.k.a. Reithalle (Riding School / Riding Hall), the somewhat dodgy but nonetheless best alternative venue in town. It was originally the Berne riding school. Nowadays it's a leftist hang-out, hosting underground and political publishing presses, a theatre/cinema and a number of smokey alternative bars and concert halls. Much of it is sponsored by the state, stemming from a deal whereby the former squat was saved from conversion into a multi-storey car-park by the clever anarchists claiming it (rightly, at least these days) to be a cultural centre.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Early morning walk

Taken from the Kornhaus Bridge into the city.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Swiss National Day

1st August is Swiss National Day (Nationalfeiertag / Fête National). It's a celebration of the signing of the Helvetic Confederation on 1st August 1291. Full history here on Wikipedia.

In short, 1st August is about countryside brunches (provided on farms all over the country), a day of work (everything is closed), and lots and lots of fireworks. People don't seem to have much regard for safety and fireworks were screaming all over the place, particularly in crowded areas. Dangerous, surely, but also a lotta fun.

Celebrations on the Rütli meadow where the confederation was agreed and documented have been marred in recent years by Hitler-saluting nationalists who support the continuation of Swiss independence and resistance to calls to join the European Union (Switzerland is surrounded by EU countries). The reality of neutral Switzerland's position vis-à-vis the EU is complicated and by no means defined by neo-nazism, but this remains a disturbing trend. Most Swiss distance themselves from these extremists.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Lake Thun

A friend and I recently enjoyed a camping trip to Lake Thun, less than 20 minutes from Berne. This is the morning view from the campsite.

As can be seen, those mountains which look so close in the picture taken from city (below), are still a good way away (about an hour's drive) - testament to their awesome dimensions.

Click here and here for other views of Lake Thun.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bern Old Town - spring view to the Alps

great, what a view. this is taken from the Kornhausbrucke, one of the bridges connecting the inner old town with the outside world! it's 30 degrees today so those snowcapped mountains won't be as white as that for much longer..!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bern Grand Prix marathon

The annual city half-marathon loops around Bern and finishes in the old town. It's always very popular, and there are are various track lengths you can do depending on ability. They have a cool tagline: "The most beautiful 10 miles in the world".

Why do people do this? :-)

Pic by Emeidi, thanks! Click on his name for more marathon pix.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hazy spring view over Bern

The heatwave that chased away winter at Easter is still going strong! Summer is here (at least for now), the river is filling up fast as the glaciers melt, and the trees are greening again. Bars and cafes have opened their outside terraces and I even looked to see whether the outdoor swimming pools have opened yet (they haven't). Let's hope this lasts longer than the weathermen say it will.