Friday, 8 March 2013

Capital of Switzerland – Bern & The Gambler Awakens

Train ticket from Milan to Bern was an excruciating 65 euro but I soon realized even within the non-border-less Europe travel between countries was not going to be cheap. Switzerland was everything precise with the train arriving and departing on time.

Money was a new problem for me too since I was only spending euro currency so far and this was the first where I needed another. I took some chance and arrived in Bern without a single CHF currency in hand. Nearest ATM and withdrew CHF thankfully avoiding all the money changer.

Bern Old Town

Bern was a small town for a capital. One of my main targets for reaching Bern was to visit the Einstein House where he developed the theory of relativity. The house was surprisingly small, very small and was almost empty. A little disappointing as there was not much to be seen but still fascinating to see how great mind required so little a material comfort.

 The cost of travel was going up as well and I was confined to Berne backpackers - Hotel Glocke a nice place where you could cook your own food and stretch the budget a little. The hostel had a little picture on the wall which is shown on the right.

“When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Tourist”
Picture at Berne Backpackers Hostel
Cheep thrills were all I did in Bern. I got a free bike rental which was part of the welcoming tourist into Bern and toured the city and as far outskirts my leg would bring me. The city is truly beautiful being circled by the river and life here was at a very slow pace. By 4 pm almost everything closes and shops don’t open before noon.

To my excitement I have now seen a living bear which was house at the open park near the river. Long walks and more long walks …. Switzerland was truly calming.

The Gambler Awakens

Bern Clock Tower
I had underestimated the cost of traveling Switzerland. The first withdrawal of CHF money was not going to last me even a week. I had a choice to either get more money out to see more of Switzerland or head straight for Zurich and get out into Austria or Germany for that matter.

Bern however had a casino.

With the little money I had there were decision to make. Plus there was nothing much to do either after 5 pm where everything was close. I took a walk at night everything seamed deserted and headed for the Grand Casino Bern. This would be the start of my gambling antics around the world. Something I am not proud off but if I would to do it again I doubt I would do it any differently.

My casino experiences however before Bern were not a virgin one. I had in my younger days work in a casino as a croupier and after graduating and working as an engineer I would frequent them monthly with a small budget. I looked at them like adult video games. Kids go to the arcade and spend maybe 50 bucks once a month well adults go to casino and maybe spend 150 bucks a month. Just make sure you have enough self control to quit when the times up.

There was also a chance of doubling your money ....

I went in with a mission to work not play. I had to make enough CHF to sustain more visits and time in Switzerland or I would have to leave the country much sooner if I lost what little money I have.

Six hours of work later I came out with double the money I withdrew on the first day in Switzerland. Happy and relieved I returned to the hostel and re-planned my travels in Switzerland having more budget now than ever. I could now visit Interlaken and Lucerne and Zurich and have a nice local Swiss meal. 

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