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Adventures of a short vet

Bears & bikes

SWITZERLAND | Monday, 4 April 2011 | Views [477]

Tip of the day: Make sure you have a good gap between your trains if you have a connection to catch.I booked my trains between Paris and Bern separately in order to give my self an hour (otherwise the maximum time was 30 minutes) and it paid off when the train from Paris was over 40 minutes late. Being a travel nerd definitely has its benefits!

Glocke Hostel in Bern seems to be brand new, with great beds and a lovely common room where the tables are set out in almost a restaurant manner, with 2 separate louges. It was to be the best hostel I stayed in for a while, and I spent my evening watching “Faceoff” with a couple of Americans & Aussies, and taking the piss out of Nicholas Cage.

Started off my stay in Bern with a visit to the apartment where Albert Einstein used to live, followed by a couple of hours in the historical museum to learn a bit more about Bern’s history. Apparently it involved a lot of fighting, as shown by a collection of skulls showing the effects of war (holes and cleave marks..ewww). I then wandered over to the Barengraben (Bear Garden) to see the grizzly bears, the national symbol for Bern. Legend has it that the founder of Bern declared that the first animal he killed on his first hunt in the area would be the symbol for the city. Guess Winnie the Pooh was first on the list. The female bear and her 2 cubs are housed on a steep bare hill with a few trees and logs as environmental stimulation, with the male bear in an adjacent pen. The open-air enclosures are free to view along the riverfront walk, and although they are a big improvement from the original stone circle bear pit they used to live in, they are still pretty average compared to the Aussie & Kiwi animal enclosures I’ve become used to. I’d rather they charged a low fee and made some better enclosures for the poor things.

The following day I caught an early train to Interlaken, a little town situated between two lakes and well-known for its adrenalin sports (skydiving, paragliding, rafting, skiing). I was planning on visiting the alpine villages for a good hike or two. I left my gear at the Lazy Falken Hostel before wandering back to the train station to hire a bike with which to explore the town. Best decision ever. I spent the rest of the beautifully sunny day cycling around the two lakes, stopping at Thunersee lake first before following the river through town to Brienzersee, where I ended up cycling half way around the lake to the town of Neiderden. If I’d been more organized and left earlier I probably could have cycled around the while lake in 3-4 hours, but my quick tour was pretty good. Amazing views and reminded me a lot of Queenstown.

At the end of a long day I was happy to have the room to myself, only to have 2 guys turn up at 10pm and stay up really late. Luckily I can sleep through anything (including earthquakes).

Tags: barengraben, bern, interlaken, nicholas cage

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