Moses with the Ten Commandments
For the favorite thing section of Bern I will cover a little history of the statues:
This statue located on Munsterplatz (Cathedral Plaza) shows Moses pointing to the 2nd Commandment (in essense "You shall not make for yourself any graven image" ), facing the Munster (Cathedral). Many images in the former Catholic Cathedral were destroyed during the Reformation.
The two objects projecting from the top of Moses' head are not some 16th century headdress, but represent two rays of light which shows that after Moses' meeting with God the skin of Moses' face became radiant. (just saw Charlton Heston in that movie last weekend).
The figure first erected in 1544-45 was designed by J.F. Sporer while the fountain's basin was designed by Niklaus Sprungli. For the fondest memory section of Bern I will cover some personal impressions of the statues:
Unless you get off the main shopping street in Bern and go to the Munster you will miss the statue. We happend to see this toward the end of our afternoon trip to Bern and the statue was totally in shadows. I think it would be interesting to see this statue bathed in the first morning light.
Get to know the surrounding...
Get to know the surrounding area and use Bern as a base of operations. Biel. Fribourg, Neuchatel, Spies. Interlaken and Thun are all nearby. Switzerland is one half the size of Ireland so frankly almost nothing is far from Bern, even the french border is less than 15 miles away. hers a map to help you decide what appeals to you most. I have been there numerous times and still have plenty more to see.
Useful phone numbers
The most common European emergency number 112 (following Directive 2002/22/EC: Universal Service Directive) and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in addition to their other emergency numbers.
Here are some useful phone numbers that you might need while in Switzerland:
Road emergency: 140
Psychological support (free and anonymous): 143
Psychological support for teens and children (free and anonymous): 147
Helicopter air-rescue (Rega): 1414 or by radio on 161.300 MHz
Air rescue (Air Glaciers) (in Valais only): 1415
Not realy a favorite thing...
In Berne you have to search to find public toilets... :-((
Here are a few:
- Railway station behind the ticket counter, it's called McClean. Expensive (CHF 1.50) but very clean.
- Rifflyhof, Big departement store near the Station, use the entrance to the Restaurant(mostly clean and free)
- Migros in Marktgasse (Supermarket), upstairs near Restaurant, free of charge.
- Kornhaus, go up to the Library (free Internet for 5 min), look around a little and then ask for the key (closed Sat-Mo).
- Next to Münster
- Behind Heiliggeist-Kirche, the nearest free toilet near the station
- Men only: side wall of the Zytglogge (cold in winter), it is a official Pissoir!! see pic
Of course you can go in to the Restaurants, but they don't realy like it when you only use the toilets without buying anything...
Drinking wine at the table
A really important tip if you are wining and dining with Swiss people. If there is red wine on the table, don't just cwoff it down like you would back home. Wait until everyone is ready - normally after the starter or at the start of the main course. Hold the wine glass by the stem, look into everyone's eyes and smile, and say "cheers". Then, depending on the number of people, clink your glass gently against a colleague's glass, always looking into his/her eyes as you do, and say "cheers". Repeat for all colleagues. Sounds complicated, but after you have done it for six years (like me), any other procedure seems impolite :) Enjoy!