A mix of emotions in Bern

Bern means ‘bear’ in German. The city was founded by Duke Berthold V of Zähringen in 1191. Berthold V suggested naming the city after the first animal they’d kill in a hunt. That animal happened to be a bear. I’ve posted a few statistics of the city and my photos for you to check out:
I’ve only been to the country’s capital once, but it’s definitely in the plans to go back. It was a sunny, fairly warm day and I really enjoyed walking around and taking photos here and there. I have a newfound appreciation for Bern now after going through these photos again and getting them ready for all of you to see. Bern is a very beautiful city with its old buildings and flowers in all of the windows. There’s just one big flaw which I’ve highlighted at the end of this post.
There were a whole bunch of these little birds hanging about near a bench where we were seated. A few people sitting on the bench over shared some of their lunch and there was quite a battle over each piece of food.
Aren’t these great? I’d love to hang out and play a game (even though my Chess playing skills are few).
I love all of the intricate clocks I’ve seen around here. I’m thinking I’ll need to do a whole post on them.
It’s amazing how much flowers add to a place. They automatically make everything so much more beautiful. A little bit of red in each window!
I’m going to sound so cliche here, but what a darling home! I hope to have my future home adorned in flowers as well. I was surprised that this sign was in English. I guess people would throw rocks over the edge and they would fall on people, cars, and houses. There were a couple more of these in the area.
I warn you now: you’ll be seeing many more photos of Vespas in my travel photos. Since moving here I’ve been wishing I had one and take a photo of every Vespa I see (which happens quite a lot).
I thought you’d be interested in seeing the detail not only on the building, but the overhang as well. Amazing!
I’m a huge fan of unique shutters.
And that, my friends, is a small taste of the beautiful capital of Switzerland, Bern!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Bern means ‘bear’. The people of Bern have taken this way too literally and made a tourist attraction out of it. They have a Bärengraben or “bear pit” where they keep bears for people to see. They’ve had this “attraction” since 1480! The pit recently had an extension added on, but I wish they had spent that money on getting these bears to a better home instead. I wish I had taken more photos just to show you, but honestly it made me too sad and I didn’t want to have a memory of it. The whole time I was there, I saw this particular bear in the photo pacing back and forth and scratching the door to his enclosure. On the other side in the old bear pit was the mother with her two cubs. The mother was scratching the door non-stop and her cubs were literally hanging over her shoulders waiting to go in. Each door had a huge dent from scratching like this which made it pretty clear that this must happen on a regular basis. A couple years ago there was even talk of killing the bear cubs. I’m going to contact Bern’s City Council President Kohli Vania (kohli@advokohli.ch) and the Bärenpark (tierpark.daehlhoelzli@bern.ch) asking them to put an end to keeping these bears in captivity and I hope you join me! This not only shows Bern in a negative light, but Switzerland as a whole.

If you liked these photos, you may also be interested in my Zürich photos!


19 February 2011 - 6:59 am

Bern looks like such a beautiful place. But, it is sad that they would be so cruel to wild animals. I’m a big animal lover too-that bothers me.

Brandi {not your average ordinary}
19 February 2011 - 4:21 pm

Oh, how awful! Bern is beautiful (just made my weekend wanderlust worse), but what they’re doing breaks my heart. People definitely need to speak up.

Vivien @ The Eclectic life
19 February 2011 - 6:36 pm

The city is absolutely gorgeous, but you’re right – what they’re doing to those bears is a tragedy.

21 February 2011 - 12:56 pm

Eva, lovely pictures!! I live in Bern now since 3 years and I love to see it through the eyes of visitors! Really enjoyed your picture set!
Viele Gruesse, Kristina

10 March 2011 - 12:57 am

Wow, once again your photos are wonderful! But what an ugly beginning for such a beautiful city. It’s a crying shame they choose to compound it by maintaining the cruel practice of keeping bears in captivity, and to entertain tourists, no less! Don’t they realize their lovely city is captivating without captive bears?! A handsome, prominently displayed statue of a bear (with a sign that says, “Be kind to animals, do not kill or enslave them” in multiple languages) would be much more appealing, and would reflect much better on the citizens of Bern. (I love that you superimposed the “Stop it!” sign over the photo of the imprisoned bear!)

As for your photos of the city, they are just breathtaking. Those flowers! How glorious! Especially those white ones trailing down the entire front of that building. I love the giant chess pieces, though I haven’t a clue how to play. The buildings, the bridges, the setting – it all looks like it’s right out of a fairytale!

I hope you get a Vespa of your own soon (they’re so cute and look like such a fun way to get around), and I can’t wait to see your post devoted to Swiss clocks! The one on this post is amazing!

10 March 2011 - 2:16 pm

All of your comments have meant a lot to me. I’m glad to see others feel that what Bern is doing by keeping these bears captive is wrong.

Laloofah – Your idea is so fantastic! I’m sure a city would rather be seen as compassionate than cruel, so I really don’t know what they’re thinking.
Thank you! Bern is so beautiful, it’s one of my favorite places in Switzerland. The flowers on all of the windows all over Swiss buildings… I love it so much! Every city should decorate in such a way! : )
I’m thinking I’ll have to stick to a bike, but I can still fantasize about a pretty yellow Vespa!

Misty :)
11 March 2011 - 8:06 pm

Omg, that is so sad about the bears!!! I can’t believe they do that!! Who cares that the city was names after Bear, they don’t need to take it literally and hold them in captivity for tourists to see! That is just cruel!!

I do love you photos though!! They are just gorgeous and again, I wish I could come and visit!! I want to be able to see buildings as beautiful as these! I can’t wait til it gets nice again. If I get my internship up in Indy, maybe I can go on walks on my lunch breaks and find interesting things to take pictures of!!! I can’t wait to see more pictures of your future travel sites!! You take wonderful pictures and it just makes me jealous I can’t be there to experience all this with you!!

13 March 2011 - 11:13 pm

Misty – Thank you! You’ve seen most of these photos before (on Facebook)! That would be great if you got to get to know Indianapolis. I hope you get the internship! And I can’t wait till you DO visit Europe and we get to see awesome sights like this together!

Please write a comment: I'd love to hear your thoughts!