Bear-Faced Cheek

Trip Start Oct 20, 2010
Trip End May 03, 2011

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Flag of Switzerland  , Bern,
Sunday, November 14, 2010

After the whirlwind of chocolate I arrived in Bern just before 5 in the pee emm.  Bern is a very odd city. At 130,000 people it is only the 5th biggest in Switzerland, yet remains the nation's capital.  Bern station is without a doubt the busiest station I have ever set foot in, including rush hour underground stations in London.  Half of the city must have been passing through when I arrived.

The streets are cobbled and there is a very medieval feel to the place.  They also have these very odd things which look like doors to tornado shelters, but actually lead down steep steps to underground shops.  The closest I've seen to it before is in Chester, but even the basement shops there tend to have proper entrances.

The hostel was fantastic, probably the second best I've been in so far after Marseille, and was a great base, being within 5 minutes walking distance of all the major attractions.  On the first night I met a Scottish/Australian girl named Hazel, so we went for a wander the next day and saw the Zytglogge, which is a mechanical clock tower that has a display on the hour.  

This turned out to be a bit disappointing, so we moved on to try and find the famous fountain of an  ogre eating a baby, which also turned out to be right by our hostel.  We decided we had done enough walking for the day then so we went back to the hostel, where we met another Aussie called Leon and watched the last 10 minutes of the Da Vinci Code (in German.)

We stuck around in the TV room for a bit and eventually the Simpsons came on, again in German.  It turns out the Simpsons is even funnier in German, for some reason, and we were doubled up at times.

The rest of the night was spent watching films, including a great Jean Claude Van Damme masterpiece which also starred Dennis Rodman and Mickey Rourke.  Classic.  The next morning I checked out, then the three of us set off to have a look at the bear pits, which Bern is famous for.  It was quite sad, actually, seeing the four bears in captivity with no other animals nearby, besides gawking humans.

As we ran out of things to do, Leon and I shared a 2 litre pitcher of beer whilst Hazel had a cup of coffee.  It's OK to have to pints before lunch, right?  Lunch, incidentally, was a giant pretzel.  And I mean giant.

Then, alas, it was time to return to the hostel, pick up my bags and  get the train and move on to Milan...  Off to the San Siro tomorrow!
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