Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bern, Day 2 & 3

Bern, Day 2 & 3: 
In Which the Author Keeps it Classy
WARNING: The following paragraphs include opinions formulated over 3 days in one Swiss city. To skip to the facts, scroll down until you see pictures. 

So, at dinner tonight, I referred to something as, "wicked classy." I was then told that to say something is "wicked classy" is, in fact, less than wicked classy. Later on in that dinner, I revealed something that I usually save for week 2 or 3 of an acquaintance, which is my unwavering love for Fran Drescher. Oh, yeah. I was classing it up.

That said, Switzerland is, unlike me, wicked classy.  They're just extra civilized, somehow. Cars slow to a stop for pedestrians everywhere, they have trams that smell nice instead of subways that smell like pee, and the most raucous behavior we saw on a Saturday night was a few teens dancing and laughing....somewhat loudly.

Part of their class may stem from the fact that, as far as I can tell, it's a country full of people pleasers. Like, when hosting the 2008 Dutch group football matches, they coated their city in orange and some of the street signs are orange to this day. There are only 3 bay windows in the entire city of Bern because it is thought to be an overly ostentatious display of wealth*.

Of course, it's also a rather enigmatic place. Switzerland is kind of like that person that everyone likes but nobody really knows. The one that always has a joke and way to break the tension but never really reveals anything about themselves. Like, when discussing the explosives rigged to every bridge and tunnel, most Swiss citizens demure and say things like, "well, we had a much more advanced defense system in the olden times," or, "yes, but it's just a formality at this point." And when Carlos revealed that there are tunnels and caves hidden all over the country I wondered if there wasn't some level of preparation here that other countries were lacking. In other words, if I should be heading back here if the shit hits the fan, apocolypse-wise. "Oh, no," he said. Enigmatic, to be sure.

And also gorgeous as balls. Bern is 1/3 green: either park or grass or river. It's been harnessing the power of the river that runs through it for over 500 years and everyone swims in it when the weather gets hot. You can also drink out of any of the many fountains dotted around the city.

Anyways, back to the facts. Here's what I've done in Bern so far.

I woke up to this.
 That smaller cathedral was the first cathedral in Bern. It survived the 1405 fire that destroyed much of the city. It's prized as one of the old buildings in Bern because, you know, anything after 1405 is so new and fresh. Definitely worth a visit. More info here.

I drank out of this.
 This is the most fountain in Bern, known as the Ogre or 'Baby Eater' Fountain. Not sure if this photo shows it, but he is munching on a few babies. Enigmatic, no?

I giggled at them.
 They had a marching band perform in honor of the Weavers' Guild coming to town. I'm not really sure what any of that means but I liked their socks.
I recognized him.
 I worked with this guy on a catalog shoot. It was weird seeing him all over Bern.

I fantasized about this.
Bright colored houses right next to each other with community gardens and funny shaped bushes are prime fodder for my retirement with my girlfriend fantasies.

I walked through here
 It's the capital building and is open for free tours during weekdays. I didn't get to go have a tour, but it's a gorgeous building so I'd recommend it. Their website is here.
I bought some of this.
There's a farmers market near the capital on Sunday and Tuesday mornings from 6:00am-1:00pm. It's mostly flowers, vegetables and plants but there are some tourist friendly products like dried lavender and it's a beautiful walk regardless. More info here.
I sampled this.
Right down the street from the farmers' market is a meat and cheese market. I cannot recommend this enough. There are free samples, cute Swiss farmers, and other goodies. This cheese stall stood out from all the rest, too. Freshest cheese I've ever eaten. Their website is here.

I wore this.
The Swiss tourist has a long, white coat in infancy and adolescence but the adults have a shorter, blue coat, making them easy for the young ones to spot in a crowd.

I went in this.
 Tallest church in Switzerland, free admission, beautiful and weird stained glass.
More info here.

So, that's what we did. More later.

P.S. Speaking of class, The Boy said of Obama the other day, "I love how he's like, BAM, with the class." And I've decided that my ring is like that. It might not be subtle. Or understated. But it is like, BAM, with the class.
I wear this.

Because, you know, comparing one's engagement ring to the President of the United States is a totally normal thing to do.

*Upon revealing this, Carlos said, "sometimes the Swiss are a little too Swiss even for me." And Carlos is really, really Swiss.

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