The symbol of Bern is the bear, which is why they have 4 of them in captivity on the side of a hill in bearpark. I have never seen bears swim, play and run before so it was cool, but I can't be supportive of bears in captivity. Although they used to be in this dark, circular indoor space, so at least it has improved. Oh and they do run fast! The small bears anyway. Way faster than humans.
I was really charmed by Bern's old town. It is immaculate- the buildings are beautiful and very well kept, the streets are cobbled and there are 2 beautiful clock towers.
Albert Einstein, being Swiss, lived and worked in Bern for a time. He did important work on the theory of relativity here. I walked past the train station to the university- a walk Einstein took often, as he worked at the univ. There is now a plaza in his honour- the building he worked in once stood there. I also visited his house in old town. He lived there for two years with his first wife. It had some interesting information about him- like that his first wife had his child before they married and it is unknown what happened to the girl, and that after Einstein divorced the first, he married his cousin lol. He also had average marks in university and couldn't get a proper position. It took years to get respect from his peers.
Einstein worked in Berlin for many years, as it was the premiere place for his field at the time, but he became disillusioned with the country through that whole Hitler thing. He even received word of Germany being in possession of a weapon of mass destruction in 1939 and warned the American government. He kept his Swiss citizenship, got an American one, and left Germany behind. He worked, and died, at Princeton.
I took a tour through the Switzerland Parliament. No bags, no pictures, an a security guard following us. Switzerland does have a true democracy and they are proud of their country. The building is beautiful, made from many different kinds of marble and stone from all over the country. Switzerland has many cantons (regions) and each is represented in parliament. We saw a few conference and meeting rooms, with grand chandeliers and paintings. It was cool to see another country's parliament building. In fact I don't think I even toured Canada's- we just saw the outside.
I went to one museum, called Zentrum Paul Klee. Paul had some crazy art- some I could have done myself. I did the audio tour, as was suggested, because the art is so.. random. My favorites were the ugly hand puppets and his series of like 6 paintings featuring a wheel somewhere in the painting. Titles included "Let it roll!" "the blind woman and the wheel" and "the wheel wins" lol. The building was cool - built like waves or rolling hills.
The church in old town is beautiful on the outside, especially the intricately sculptured front. The inside is like many of the churches I've seen. I climbed to the first tower (they're renovating the 2nd tower and spire) and it gave a great view of Bern and the mountains in the distance. There is a river that goes almost all the way around old town and the water was beautiful- I wanted to jump in! There are even currents near the bear park (and warnings not to swim), as well as a cafe over part of the river. My favourite place was the park beside the church, overlooking the river. Great place to have a beer, so I did. Both days lol.
Bern is lovely. I was impressed with everything, except the food and museum prices lol.