Old City of Bern
Margarete Schaller-Samuel, city and the Clock Tower guide:
What is your role in this UNESCO World Heritage Site?
For almost two decades I have been travelling to Bern as a city and clock tower guide for the Bern Welcome tourist office and privately as "Bärner Gritli", where I play the role of a maid from 1870 (gritli.ch).
What is your relationship with the site?
I was born and raised in Bern, this is my home. The arcades, alleys and squares are familiar to me.
What's your favorite place? Can you tell us some secrets?
Well, there are many places I like in particular: the view from the rose garden (Rosengarten) over the city in the early morning, when perhaps there is still a mystical fog on the rooftops, or the view in the evening, when the sky to the west becomes theatrical. A walk on the Federal Terrace is always a highlight, with views of the countryside, Museum Island, the Marzili outdoor swimming pool on the Aare and often as far as the snow-capped peaks of the Bernese Oberland with the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau (for those at home, these majestic views can be seen on Bern Welcome webcams). An absolute must is a visit to the Märit (farmers' market) on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, where people meet not only for shopping but also for a little chat.
When is the best time for a visit and why?
Spring and late autumn are my favorite seasons, but a visit to Bern is not tied to a specific time. I am also thinking of the Advent period, when the alleys are decorated in a suggestive way as well as the Christmas markets.
What activities do you recommend in particular?
We in Bern are considered to be particularly slow people, which is no offence to me. I enjoy strolling comfortably under the arcades, especially on the side streets or along the Aare in the Mattequartier. Those looking for sports activities will find, among other things, a free fitness offer: using all the stairs connecting the upper and lower districts of the city, you can take more than a thousand steps. Of course, a guided tour of the city is highly recommended, not only for guests from all over the world, but also for locals. I look forward to seeing you.
April 2020 (translated from German)