The Aare River is a life force in Bern, carving a narrow peninsula around a bend in a wooded river valley. The river created a need for bridges to reach the aldstadt. Today, there’s a nature park along its banks. The Aare flows only in Switzerland, originating in a glacier, flowing through two lakes before it reaches Bern. Here is a map of the Aare River.
Five bridges cross the Aare. One day I crossed all of them to explore different parts of the alstadat. From the Kornhausbrucke which I crossed many times, you can see the Aare’s milky green currents and understand its importance in Bern’s thousand-year history. On an early Sunday morning walk, I looked down from the Kornhausbrucke and saw a narrow walking bridge beneath. I had no idea I would cross that bridge later in the evening.
I started my morning by hopping on a tram for a visit to the neighborhood, a quiet, modern area with parks, schools, apartment buildings and shaded streets. Bern has a superb public transit system, clean, modern, punctual. Miss a bus or tram check the digital monitor to see when the next one is coming by. Eight minutes was the longest I had to wait.
My destination was the Rosengarten above Bern where the Aare carves its horseshoe bend. The garden was wonderful, well maintained with wide paths, plenty of benches, not a drop of litter. Trill of songbirds was especially delightful. I strolled through the gardens, took too many photos, watched families, tourists, pensioners, and young lovers holding hands. Everyone looked so content. No wonder.
I watched grandparents taking their granddaughters through the gardens. The girls were possibly twins dressed identically, include cute white, frilled caps. The literally danced through the garden. What a nice moment.
The rosengarten had been recommended because of the panoramic views of Bern, the Aare, and the aldstadt. So true.
I found a cobblestone path which descended the hillside and shaded by trees. I followed, admiring the views, the serenity, and gentle decline to a street that led to Nydeggbrucke. A word to those who might visit Bern and go to the rosengarten; if you take the path go down . . . not up. The cobblestones make it a bit challenging.
I heard loudspeaker booming, crowds cheering, and rock music blaring. Bern was hosting European mountain bike event, crazy guys bouncing, jumping, twisting bikes to navigate over logs, tree stumps, and stone blocks in an enclosure that looked like a bear pit in a zoo. Bikers, young men all, were timed as they made their way over the tortuous course. Can you believe some of these obstacles?
Nydeggbrucke and Kirchenfeldbrucke
After watching for a half hour, I walked across Nydeggbrucke into the aldstadt and continued exploring. Later in the afternoon, I crossed Kirchenfeldbrucke which had busy bus, auto, and tram traffic.
Again I was rewarded with views of the Aare, but this time, I noticed a dam that directs water out into a channel rather than along the city’s walls.
I spent the day walking through the aldstadt, crossing bridges, having lunch, but I still wanted to experience more. There was another adventure I wanted, walking along the Aare. I walked down a shaded stone path to the riverbank where there was a restaurant and small park.
The symbol for Bern is a bear going back to an early legend of the first animal hunted before the city was first built. To acknowledge the role of the bear in Bern’s history , there’s a small bear park below the Nydeggbrucke.
Meeting on walking bridge
Pleasant encounter on the walking bridge
I came to the narrow walking bridge I’d seen earlier in the day looking down from Kornhausbrucke. I met two young Swiss women on the bridge; we had a nice chat, took photos, and wished each other well. A nice encounter.
I ended the evening, walking up a path to Lorrainbrucke which I had crossed my first day. It was still light and thought I’d stop for a beer before returning to my pensione. I met three Germans from former east Germany who work construction in Bern. We had an interesting conversation, sharing stories in German, Russian, and Italian.
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Next: Thun and Spezia
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