Big hot hairy Bears
Bern Travel Blog› entry 23 of 37 › view all entries
Jumping a train from Vevey was tough. I had to keep moving but I think I could've stayed in this spot forever. It was beautiful. I put a wee note to self in the back of my mind, "one day I'll return and pick grapes for a season".
It didn't take long to arrive at Bern due to my enjoying the scenery rolling past the window. I immediately came out of the station and wandered the area.
The sun was shining and there was a lovely park and fountain where a number of scruffy youths were sprawled in the grass smoking dope. I have to admit I was stunned that this country, known for it's efficiency, military precision and for being a little routine, should be relaxed enough that smoking was decriminalised.
It didn't really worry me as a cop but I felt a wee pang of sadness that the first thing I should see as a tourist to the city was this group acting the way they were.
I skirted them and checked out a couple of fancy memorials before I headed into the centre and down the main street. I was looking for the bear pit and the famous city clock.
Bern's main street is well known for it's covered footpaths and as I wandered along in front of the shops I didn't really get the appreciation of those passageways that one would get if it were pouring with rain.
At the end of the road was a group of people peering over a block wall. As I got nearer I was struck by a rather gross stench.
Beside the group I too assumed a peering position. I quickly wished I hadn't leaned out so far over the blocks.
Down in the pits there were 3 hairy bears. The day was hot hot hot and my heart went out to the creatures. Each pit was a big concrete square with a cave on the back wall and a pool to one side.
It seemed to me the bears had little to entertain themselves down there except the hundreds of peering faces, that constantly threw down handfuls of peanuts, in the hope that the beasts might move about to find and eat the tit-bits.
One bear was sitting waving at us, another was crashed out beside the pool, and the third was leaning on the wall directly below us.
I'm sure the city of Bern is very proud of it's enclosure, and I have no doubt the bears are well looked after, but I wandered away from there thinking it was all a bit crappy really, both in smell and situation.
I made my way back up the main street in time for the striking of the clock at 4pm so I could be cheered up by the dancing figurines. This was a way more pleasant display. Lovely melody and happy statuettes. Very good!
As I wandered back towards the train station I stopped and had a bite to eat at a cafe where I watched the townsfolk doing their thing.
A couple of guys were playing chess on the street. They walked amongst the huge pieces as they moved them and I wondered how much harder this would be since you couldn't get an overall perspective as you could playing on a normal sized board.
I left Bern a little disappointed by the drugs and the bears. My next destination was to be Interlaken which lay between two lakes in the shadow of Switzerland's most impressive mountain range.