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Once again I am in a hotel room and there is a Sandra Bullock movie on the TV. I think I have seen Sandra Bullock dubbed into other languages more than I have seen her speaking with her own voice. This film is Miss Congeniality, or perhaps Miss Congeniality 2.

At breakfast this morning I caught up with Michelle and Margaret and we set off the station at about 8:15 to catch a train to Bern, the capital of Switzerland. There was some lovely rural scenery along the way but photos taken from the inside of a train never live up to expectations.

We arrived at the hotel around 10:30 and luckily our rooms were ready.

My room is rather spacious but Michelle and Margaret have the better view.

We spent the rest of the day exploring Bern. Bern lies on the River Aare and was founded in 1191. The Duke who founded the city is said to have named it after the first animal he hunted in the area, which was a bear. The bear is thus the namesake and the symbol of the city and appears on the coat of arms.

The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features four miles of covered arcaded walkways to protect shoppers from the elements.

The city has many decorative fountains like this one, each telling a story of some sort, I don’t have all the details though.

This is the ogre fountain. He is is eating babies, no doubt some sort of lesson to someone…

At the base are bears!

This one has an armed bear.

This one shows you how to administer a pill to a cat.

There are also real bears in Bern! This one is just a photo I took of the sign at the Bear Garden.

The bears used to be kept in these rather sad bear pits.

Now they have a much nicer enclosure galled the Barengraben or Bear Garden. I wanted to spot a bear and take a photo so I traipsed all the way over to the other side of the town and across the river. Guess what bears do in an alpine environment in winter? Yes, that’s right. Needless to say I didn’t spot one.

The bears have a nice view of the city though, when they’re not hibernating.

Bern is famous for its Zytglogge. It is a clock tower which was also the town’s west gate in the 1100s and it also features an astronomical clock made in 1527.

The clock has figures that make an elaborate display just before the clock strikes the hour.

Here is the front of the Munster St Vinzenz, Bern’s great Gothic cathedral.

It was lovely inside.

Other landmarks. The Rathaus or Town Hall built in 1406.

To its left is the Church of St Peter and St Paul.

This is the Swiss Parliament Building or Bundeshaus, the Federal Assembly, completed in 1902.

This was another former city gate, the Kafigturm.

This building was the former orphanage, now a police headquarters.

One more bear for good measure!

Sandra Bullock has just ripped the tiara off the head of the pageant winner and thrown it into the stage set behind her and there is a massive explosion. It was a funny scene.

More to follow! About Switzerland, not Sandra Bullock movies.

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