With a few furry friends by my side, I was ready to explore a new corner of Bern.
My first trip to Bern was over 15 years ago and I fell in love with the city. Back then, I enjoyed long walks along the river - and a few swims too! - and had a wonderful time exploring the medieval city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But there were many corners that beckoned me to explore further and I finally had the opportunity recently to return to Bern, making it my final destination of a 13 country trip. It was the perfect destination to cap off an incredible journey and a visit to Bern's Rose Garden was just the thing to end the trip on a high note. Here's what I loved about our adventure.
A rewarding hike.
The walk up to the Rose Garden is a steep trek up a well maintained cobblestone path. I'm not going to lie - there were several moments when I felt it was imperative that I "stop to take a picture". I know, I know - pitiful! Fortunately, I didn't have to fake interest in the gorgeous view. It really is a lovely walk.
Putting me to shame was a nimble orange cat, who politely rebuffed all offers of petting in favor of darting in and out of the gardens that lined the path and occasionally executing a vertical pounce on a tree. I couldn't determine if Kitty was a permanent fixture of the Rose Garden or a resident of a nearby home. Regardless, it seemed utterly at home and completely unphased by the steep path.
If the walk isn't for you - take heart. The number 10 city bus (which also goes to the train station) goes up and down a parallel street. Be sure to ask your hotel for aFREE city transit pass, the Bern Ticket, during your stay - all accommodations provide them and they're an invaluable travel tool.
A reward by any other name would smell as sweet.
The Rose Garden is a very popular spot for families - I saw plenty of parents and young children enjoying a picnic on the grounds. So if you have little ones, this is the place to let them burn off some energy. (But no word on how they managed to lug the strollers up the path!)
Come for the roses, stay for the scenery.
A meal with a view.
Ryan enjoyd a local roast sausage with root vegetables and sauteed zucchini, peppers, and celery while I had a herb roasted spatchcock chicken with a barley pilaf. Our meals were succulent and savory and hit all the right notes and we were impressed by the good value of the prices (especially the specials), the availability of vegetarian choices, and the nice selection of Swiss wines on offer.
When a spattering of rain hit just as we were concluding our meal, we moved from the open terrace to the covered veranda and warmed up with some hot chocolate - the perfect conclusion to our meal and oh-so very Swiss!
Saying hello to a fine, furry friend.
"Barengraben" translates to "bear pit" and, for much of history, the city's beloved bears really did reside in a bear pit - not exactly the kind of environment that animals thrive in. Today, the Barengraben is part of the BarenPark, a much more spacious and natural park by the river, including a special swimming enclosure.
The Bargengraben is located at the base of the path that goes up to the Rose Garden and it's a perfect fit to visit the two at the same time.
Everything is coming up roses in Bern.
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