Tag Archives: bears

Arosa Animal Adventures

18 Sep

Last weekend we headed to Arosa in glorious sunshine to get in touch with nature. Arosa is famous in the winter for being one of the best ski resorts in Switzerland but there is also plenty to do in the summer.

There is an “Eichhörnchenweg” (“Squirrel Pathway”) which you can wander down and feed squirrels and birds. 

I was sceptical that the squirrels would be tame enough to come up to you and take food from you but they did. In fact, I would say that a few of them were very cheeky. They would take the nut from you, go and bury it in the wood and then come back to get another one. It was so much fun. We even spotted a very cute squirrel who looked like he was wearing white socks – we nicknamed him “White Feet”.

Birds wanted to get in on the action as well. There were some bigger birds that I didn’t like. Their claws dug into you when they swooped down to rest on your hand and their beak dug into you when they went to eat the nuts. I liked the little birds. You don’t really realise that they have landed on your hand because they are so delicate. I felt like Snow White with little birds landing on me.

After the squirrels and birds we took a gondola up the mountain to see the bears. Unfortunately, two of the bears were sick and they weren’t outside. But Napa, part brown bear and part polar bear, was happy to show off to the crowds. The bears have all been rescued from places where they have been drugged, forced to perform and chained in small cages. It’s sad that people feel that they have to exploit animals for their own amusement. I’m sure the bears are happier now, living on a Swiss mountain being looked after properly.

Of course, there were lots of mountains on the hillside as well. I don’t feel that I have had a lunch on a Swiss mountainside if I can’t hear the jingle-jangle of cow bells in the distance.

I had thought that the summer was over and days and weekends spent like this were already over but the weather seems to be good again, so I am hoping for one or two more days like this – enjoy the weather and nature before winter really begins.

Bern, the Beautiful City of Bears

14 Nov

One of my favourite cities in Switzerland is Bern. Not everyone is aware that Bern is the capital of Switzerland and that might be due to the fact that the city itself is not as big as you would expect. In fact, Bern is only the fifth largest city in Switzerland.

The city name actually means “bear” and bears are all over the city. They feature in architecture and in the cantonal flag. I have no idea why the tongue on this bear is so long. It looks like a bear has mated with a komodo dragon or maybe it is just like that for artistic effect.bern

There are actually real, live brown bears in Bern. This is always a highlight for my trip to Bern. Up until a few years ago, the bears lived in a small bear pit. I guess because of the increased focus on animal rights and welfare, the bears were moved from the pit to a new Bear Garden which is along side the river Aare. The garden is 6,000 square meters and the bears are free to roam around and also play in the water. The bear pit still remains at the site and is still used when, for example, the keepers need to come into the gardens to clean up or leave food for the bears. The pit is very small, especially for the size of the bears. I am glad that they now have a larger space to live in.

When I visited with my mum in June, we saw the father and the daughter “fighting”. It looked pretty violent but I am pretty sure that they are actually just playing. The mother was not interested at all. She was off somewhere sniffing bark or something.

When I visited with my brother, the bears were not so animated. They had just been fed and were having a nap. But I did manage to get this shot of Ursula the bear before her food coma hit.

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