Bern is a small place, and many people don't immediately know where it is - Geneva and Zurich steal the Swiss limelight. So I thought I would pull a few images off Google Earth to give you a better idea where I've been posting from.
On the European scale, Switzerland is the north-south east-west axis of what politicians call 'old' Europe, which goes a long way toward explaining the international role such a small country plays in Europe and the world. You can see that Bern is more or less in the centre of Switzerland - a compromise point between the French, German, Italian and Romansch speaking Swiss, who might all wish for their own regions' major and better-known towns to be the capital.
At the regional level, Bern is situated just north of the Alps on the Swiss plateau, which spans west to east across the northern two-thirds of the country. The remainder of the country is sparesly inhabited Alpine terrain - the majority of the populace lives on the plateau. Lush countryside surrounds the town and the Alps are within easy reach, past the clean blue waters of Lake Thun :-)
Zooming in, we see that Bern really is a very small town. The most prominent geographical features are the River Aare and the Gurten hill south of the town. The core of the Swiss capital is concentrated on the "half-island" (as it's called in German) made by the curve of the River Aare.
For more detail on Bern, take a look at this post where I made some notes on how the town was founded and on the city layout.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
note the accident nets! It's a long way down to the street below!
This photo is taken standing at almost the same place as this one of the Münsterplatform itself.
Take a look at this photo with almost exactly the same view, but in very different weather conditions!