8.04.2016

My travels: One day in Bern

...it's few. I was attending the Tour de France and visiting Bern was just a consequence of havig here the second rest day. The heat was awful and that surprised me a little because the mountains are close but Bern is a big city and very hot in summer. Hot and humid, that makes it worst.
Three things fortunately mitigated the heat: a lot of free fresh fountains of drinkable water, the park by river and a great botanic garden. There are many interesting places to vist in Bern but if you are on foot in a hot summer day and you have just few hours it makes no sense to take a bus to reach the Zentrum Paul Klee, at the edge of the city, or the Rosengarten. Next time, for sure. 
In a hot summer day you must consider the temperature and plan the day accordingly: early in the morning and late in the evening you can have a go to the city center, that's in the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites, visting the Cathedral, the Clock Tower, the House of Parliament and the famous Bear Park - with the poor bears that I'd prefer to see free in a forest. In the late morning you can visit the Botanic Garden, have a light healty lunch there and then go visiting the Art Museum - with air conditioning!
The Botanic Garden is in the steep slopes descending to the river, the entrance is free and there are two gates - closed at night - one up and one down. It's a beautiful messy place. I don't mean it's unattended - it's not and we saw many gardeners at work - but it's wild: plants grow free, gathered for families in a joyful promiscuity. They are local plants but there are also a series of houses with plants from different areas. The garden is a part of the University for the use of researchers and students but it's also a city park and people come enjoying the fresh shadow of the trees and eating their lunch on the grass. There is a relaxed, nice atmosphere.
The Fine Art Museum is impressive. There is a stunning collection including a lot of impressionist paints, then a series of temporary expositions. It isn't big but really full of treasures.
Af far as the river park, if you are very good at swimming you must try the local sport: jumping from the bridge and going with the strong stream. Locals say it's pretty dangerous but we saw lots of people doing it, and at any age!

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