History, culture, and nature: these are three things LAS Summer in Switzerland students get to look forward to every year as they travel to Bern, the capital city of Switzerland. As you pull up to the outskirts of the city, these elements can already be seen from the carpark—the old buildings and Bern Minster cathedral are just visible in the background, shops and visitors wind down the streets, and the deep blue-green Aare River and a thick line of trees encircle the city center.
DID YOU KNOW: The Bern Minster was built during the early 15th century?
Students exit the bus and quickly scarf down their lunches, eager to venture forth and claim the city as their own. Before they are given free reign of the streets though, they are shown some city highlights not to be missed. The Bern Bear Park is considered by many to be one of the main attractions of the city and rests just beside the Aare river. Bears have been a symbol of the Swiss capital for many centuries and today visitors from all over the world make a stop in Bern to see their family of brown bears fish, swim, and play.
DID YOU KNOW: The Bern Bear Park is home to three bears – Björk, the clamest bear, Finn, whose favourite activity is bathing, and baby Ursina who is the most playful.
Students are also shown some top spots for gelato, and encouraged to look out for the old Zytglogge clock and Bern Minster. After that, they are released, the rest of the city’s secrets theirs to discover—market places, hiking paths, and Swiss restaurants all hidden in small niches, waiting to be found.
In the late afternoon students reconvene at a designated meeting spot and depart from the city center… but the day is far from over! Bernaqua is the final and most anticipated stop of the day and it’s not hard to see why. With two hours to navigate a maze of waterslides, saunas, hot tubs, and an indoor movie screen, it’s no surprise that the bus ride home is met with an exhausted silence. And yet, even though we’re all worn out from a day of exploring and playing, we wish we could stay just a little longer. One day in the dynamic city of Bern just doesn’t feel like enough!