“Everything is determined…by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust—we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”—Albert Einstein
Our next destination…Bern baby Bern!
Our first stop was The Bärengraben or Bear Pit. Bear is the official mascot or should I say as to the olden days the ‘coat of arms’ of this Switzerland capital. In 1191, founder and Duke Berchtold V of Zähringen said that the new city would be named after the first animal to be found on a hunting expedition in the woods and it was a bear (Bär in German, plural Bären, or Baeren). The bear pit was a secure iron enclosure in the middle of the park and we did see some bears.
We head to the town centre for a leisure walk and passed by the central bank of Switzerland named The Swiss National Bank (SNB) responsible for Swiss monetary policy and for issuing Swiss franc banknotes. In 1983 the historic old town of Bern became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Bern is ranked among the world’s top ten cities for the best quality of life. Bern is not just all about the money; it is also the home of Toblerone and Ovaltine. A friend back home kept bugging us to buy him a blue tobly and we did find it only in this city. The triangular chocolate was invented by Theodor Tobler in 1908 and every piece is still made in Bern. Ovaltine was created in 1904 by Dr Albert Wander, who mixed malt, egg, milk and cocoa.
Next to see was the Bern’s most recognisable symbol but since we are ahead of schedule as we need to be standing in front of the tower four minutes before the stroke of the hour we made a full stop at a watch shop to drool and to make my TAG puny in the midst of the status symbol luxury watches. Since 1541, watch making has become synonymous with Switzerland (along with neutrality, democracy, chocolate, fondue, skiing, yodelling) so this is the best city to indulge and spoiled your wrist with only the best clock!
We all head to street of Kramgasse you will see the buildings from side to side with Swiss flags and the city’s coat of arms. A fountain in the middle the street was a culture-feeding process. We stood in front of this medieval landmark named Zytglogge tower. Built in the early 13th century this tower has undergone numerous face lifts and internal repairs in its 800 years of existence, four minutes before the stroke of the hour. This astronomical clock beneath the main face shows not only the hour of day, but also the day of the week and of the month. It also shows the zodiac and the phases of the moon as well. Indeed, four minutes before the stroke of the hour sets a delightful puppet show in motion with its chimes you can see the rooster, jester and dancing bears.
From the clock tower further down Kramgasse Street at number 49 was The Einsteinhaus (Einstein House). It’s a museum and a former residence of Albert Einstein (1879-1955) while serving as an employee at the patent office. His living conditions with furniture at that time are shown in the apartment. Einstein’s biography and his life’s work are presented on the third floor and a larger permanent exhibition is located at the Historical Museum of Bern. Albert Einstein, who lived not far from the Zytglogge, allegedly led to his theory of relativity when he looked at the buses coming round the tower and wondered what would happen to them if they moved at the speed of light.