One of the first things I noticed when I first came to Switzerland in 1961 was the way the Swiss pack up their garbage. No just slopping it into the bin the way we do it in less squeamish countries. In Switzerland you have to pack it into a special blue plastic bag which you then tie up firmly at the top.
The reason for this, as I was told at great length by an elderly Swiss lady in 1961, is that garbage collectors are people, too, and just because it's their job to collect the garbage doesn't mean they have to suffer the indignity of actually coming into contact with the stuff. It was in this connection that I first learned the German word zumuten, which means to make unreasonable or outrageous demands on someone.
So I was glad to see that in 2008 (and 2012) the Swiss are still keeping up standards in this regard. When I took this photo I was actually trying to get a picture of the young lady on her Velo, but it turned out that there were a dozen or more typical Swiss garbage bags behind her, ready for pickup.
Thanks to Swiss VT member yumyum (Sonja) for pointing out that there is a tax on each garbage bag you use and colours vary across the country.
Second photo: Garbage bags by my hotel in Bern, 2008.
When you are walking through the arcades of Marktgasse and Kramgasse you will also see a lot of shops that were built into the cellars of the houses and you will have to enter them from the street-side by stepping down a mostly quite steep stair. I saw internetcafes in this kind of underground, ordinary shops, cafes etc. and in most of these places you pay much cheaper prices than in the shops on street-level & under the Lauben / arcades.
Every fourth Sunday of November, dozens of stalls are set up between the Bahnhof (the central train station) and the Bundesplatz (the square in front of the Parliament) selling onions brought over by local farmers, as well as fruits, nuts and vegetables. The onions make a pretty sight, strung together like big necklaces, in a bunch, or like a wreath or something else, each stall vying for the prettiest arrangement. Some are decorated as toys, while others are just thrown together into a bag destined for a more practical purpose.
Around the old town of Bern I saw lots of basements that are used as shops, offices, and even bars.
It seems a bit strange at first, because they usually are well underground.
But after a while we get use to it, and I especially liked the doors.
Though it's only the third biggest Carneval in Switzerland, the so called "Fasnacht" is one of the biggest and most entertaining events in Bern. For 3 days the whole city goes crazy. Thousands of People are strolling around dressed up, having fun. Carneval in Bern is usually in february or march.
Art Museum of Berne
Most of the famous paintings of Paul Klee are now in the new Paul Klee Centre.
Nevertheless it is worth to go and see the fine art paintings in this museum.
There are some Swiss artists like Albert Anker or Ferdinand Hodler, but as well, Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky... and of course there are special exhibitions of great art
If you're in Bern in November you might have the chance to be there when it's Zibelemärit. This famous onion market starts in the early morning of every first monday in november. People from allover that country come to bern to admire the big market and the special atmosphere.
When walking through the city of Bern you will find Bears everywhere. They are on the sides of buildings, doorways, on or around the fountains, almost anywhere you can imagine. But don't be surprised if you find something other than a bear. Here I found a purple monkey all painted up and sassy on the side of this building.
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!
During my stay in Switzerland, I stayed in an apartment with my two hosts from University of St. Gallen. Dunno if it's a joke from them, but they told me Bern people speak very slowly... so we should talk to them slowly just like that...:)
In this picture there are several Swiss guys, not sure if there was any from Bern. Hehehhe... I couldn't see the difference anyway, 'cuz Swiss German always sounds very fast to me.
In the Kornhaus (not far away from the watch tower called Zytglogge, near the theatre) there are many exhibitions and a public library, where you can get informations or sit down and read newspapers it's free... and it's possible to check your mailbox... 5 minutes are free on the internet...
Not to forget the old cellar... where is a restaurant and a bar
There are many museums in Bern. The historical, the museum of art, Museum of communications, etc...
Of course there are many old buildings like the Münster or the goverment center. Even the building where Albert Einstein used to live is in Bern.
Bern is in the German-speaking portion of Switzerland. I don't speak German, but I didn't have any trouble communicating. You'll find people who speak English...or you can just use sign language. I ordered a pastry from a non-English speaking woman by pointing at what I wanted and smiling...it worked!
Visit Historisches Museum. There are armors and arms here, lavish church treasures, and the original Last Judgement sculptures from the cathedral's portal.
Tuesdays - Sundays 10.00 am - 5.00 pm
Wednesdays 10.00 am - 8.00 pm
24 and 25 December closed
Adults: CHF 8.–
reduced: CHF 4.–
Children below the age of 16: admission free
Visit Kunstmuseum (Art Museum). This important museum displays the third-largest art collection in Switzerland - and the largest gathering of works by Paul Klee in the world.
A Swiss-born painter and graphic artist whose personal, often gently humorous works are replete with allusions to dreams, music, and poetry, Paul Klee,(1879 - 1940), is difficult to classify.
Primitive art, surrealism, cubism, and children's art all seem blended into his small-scale, delicate paintings, watercolors, and drawings. Klee grew up in a musical family and was himself a violinist. After much hesitation he chose to study art, not music, and he attended the Munich Academy in 1900. There his teacher was the popular symbolist and society painter Franz von STUCK. Klee later toured Italy (1901-02), responding enthusiastically to Early Christian and Byzantine art.
Klee's early works are mostly etchings and pen-and-ink drawings. These combine satirical, grotesque, and surreal elements and reveal the influence of Francisco de Goya and James Ensor, both of whom Klee admired. Two of his best-known etchings, dating from 1903, are Virgin in a Tree and Two Men Meet, Each Believing the Other to Be of Higher Rank. Such peculiar, evocative titles are characteristic of Klee and give his works an added dimension of meaning.