Bern + Thun + The Alps

11:51 AM

The University of Bern that hosted my conference the last couple of days is crazy gorgeous. Its 18th c. buildings sit on top of a hill overlooking the city and there are huge grassy lawns where students lay out in the sun and drink coffee (the Swiss and Germans looooooooove coffee. I've never seen such a coffee drinking group as my conference colleagues!) 

The inside of the art building is also ridiculous:

Just ridiculous.

The conference was 2 days of intense, mind-blowing conversations. Everyone there was both incredibly smart and advanced in their careers - I was by the far the youngest and frankly also the dumbest (I mean, these people had years and years of study on me, so I was doomed). It was simulateously terrifying and exciting and overall pretty tiring so when we all went out to eat last night, I carb loaded Swiss style with local hefeweisen and a plate of Swiss bratwurst and potatoes, or rosti, swimming in a rich onion sauce.

After giving my talk and getting thoroughly interrogated, I was exhausted and wanted to go somewhere new and pretty. I went a little further into the Alp region so I could get a good view of the mountains. While you can see the peaks from a distance in Bern, the view isn't particularly good, so one of the women at the conference suggested I take a short train trip to the small medieval city of Thun.

Thun is like Bern in a lot of ways (though much smaller) with winding medieval streets and a gorgeous, clear river running through town.

Thun is built around a hill topped with a 12th century castle that was just about as fairy tale as I've seen. It was a hike to the top of the hill, but the views were gorgeous and I rested in the castle's cafe overlooking the Alps for a beer before I headed back down.

It was a kind of hazy/cloudy day so my pictures of the mountains aren't the best but they were still lovely.

The hill leading up to the castle is filled with winding residential roads and classic Swiss chalet style homes. I wandered around for awhile imagining what it would be like to live somewhere so beautiful and tranquil.

Tomorrow I head out to Basel (about an hour by train away) for a couple of days of city rambling and art gazing, updates to come!

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