An ancient beauty with a youthful heart
06.21.2013 - 06.22.2013
As we walk Berne ('Berne' in Swiss-German, 'Bern' in English), my wife tells me, “You’re saying ‘wow’ way too much.” But it’s hard not to when walking through the Swiss capital.
Berne is a beauty, an ancient town with a youthful heart. The Old Town, which is encircled by the Aare River, dates back to the 1400’s. So you walk through Old Town on cobblestone streets without traffic. You stroll past bistros and restaurants and gelaterias. You amble between masses of students from the university sitting at sidewalk cafes or riding bicycles or singing and drinking to 5 a.m. on Friday night. And you sit at a restaurant and listen to a band with four saxophones, two trombones, two horns, and keyboard and bongo players. They play jazz with a bossa nova beat.
I’ve been walking Berne since we arrived on Friday afternoon, and what I wow about is the dramatic vistas. I wasn’t expecting this. Mountains encircle the city and steep slopes drop to the river. And hugging the mountainsides are beautiful homes, mostly pristine old homes with balconies and shuttered windows but also an occasional ultra-modern home interspersed between their gentrified neighbors.
They say Berne is one of the smallest European capital cities. It feels just right. Sheri says, “I normally don’t like cities, but I love this place. I could live here.”
But tomorrow our alarm goes off at 4 a.m. We catch a train to the Zurich airport and fly to Chicago. My body begins to ache.