Bern & Thun

First of a few posts from a ten day trip to Switzerland back in 2014, starting with the capital, Bern. I visited on a day trip, focusing on the largely medieval city centre, a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site, dating in part back to the 12th century.

Switzerland has a complex but seemingly effective federal government, run out of the Federal Palace (Bundeshaus), which took 45 years to finish building in 1902.

The Bernisches Historisches Museum is the second largest in Switzerland. I didn’t have time to visit but the exterior was attractive.

It took even longer to build Bern Munster, with work starting in 1421, and the tower only finished in 1893. At just over 100m high, it is the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, and a prominent landmark of the city.

Across the road the Alpine Museum was well worth a visit, though I only really remember the 1930s German propaganda climbing film on show. It is also home to the world’s largest collection of raised-relief maps…

Bern is famous for its bears, which have been kept at the Bärengraben (bear pit) since the 16th century. Since 2009 the four bears have been given more space in an enclosure by the River Aar.

The river was one of the most attractive I’ve ever seen, such an amazing colour (slightly modified).

A short distance from the city centre, the Zentrum Paul Klee (Paul Klee Center) is home to about 40% of the artists pictures. I like his work but probably enjoyed the undulating museum building more. Designed by Renzo Piano, it opened in 2005.

The Rose Garden (Rosengarten) offers great views of the city below. The park used to be a cemetery until 1913.

The trains in Switzerland are as good as their reputation, and how I explored the country. Bern Railway Station was pretty typical.

To move onto Thun, a beautiful town of 45,000 people only 30km from Bern. The Scherzligen Church is over 1,250 years old, and a popular wedding venue.

Schloss Schadau is a nationally significant heritage building, built in the mid 1800s in Gothic Revival style, home to the Swiss Gastronomy Museum.

To finish with the beautiful, if flood prone, Lake Thun, the largest Swiss lake entirely within a single canton.

Author: jontycrane

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