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.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Snowy roofs

The weather this month has been fluctuating between Lapland and a Scottish summer. Here are some snowy rooftops in Bern's old town.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Statue of town founder and a bear

The bear theme has been going on for a while here in Bern!

(Statue on Bärenplatz)

Friday, February 16, 2007

The bear pits of Bern

Well, I don't like them much... but here's one half of the bear pits in Bern, with a bear to be seen.

I wouldn't feel very good about having something like this in my home town, but visitors certainly do seem to love it.

As you can probably imagine, the bearpits are the focus of a lot of debate here. But I don't want to politicise on this blog, so enough already.

Take a look at this picture for another snippet of info on the Bern bear pits.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bern win ice hockey - home game

Here is "SCB" beating Geneva Servettes 3-2 in the Bern "Eishalle" Stadium (...the "ice hall")

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bern City Hall (Rathaus)

I'd like to draw your attention to the mural on the wall inside the Bern Rathaus.

It depicts the men of Bern labouring to build their city stone by stone. A mother can be seen on the right hand side with two children, and the city's symbol, the bear, can be seen strolling like a giant teddy bear amongst the townspeople. Clearly this mural is supposed to inspire city councillers and to remind them of who they are serving and what they are working towards.

Rathaus translates as Council House.

Please excuse my dodgy panorama-stitch in the photo.

Here's a picture of the outside of the Rathaus.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

City centre milk urns

These milk containers are embedded in the concrete in front of the main station. I'm not sure what it's supposed to mean...

Bern blogger This said, in a comment to this post, that it's an art installation by Ueli Berger called "Hommage to Milk Lane". The canisters embedded in the asphalt mark the location of a small street called Milchgässli. Milk Lane was done away with when the railway station was upgraded. And according to a German-language newspaper article, it was the place where people were picked up and dropped off. Thanks, This, interesting explanation - I thought it was just random.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Better late than never...

Finally it has snowed! The ski resorts are delighted and there have been car crashes all over the place. Here is Marktgasse this afternoon.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

View from Grosse Schanze park

Crisp but not cold, these students (and an old man) take in the view of the Jungfrau massif from the Grosse Schanze park.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Where's the snow?

It's cold and grey, but the snow still hasn't come... The newspapers today said it's been the most snow-less winter on record. Bad news in a country that depends so heavily on ski tourism.

PS new camera!