Arriving in Bern a week last Thursday I dropped my bags off and took a walk in search of a secondhand book shop that I’d read about somewhere on the internet.
“Bücherbergwerk Monbijou, Monbijoustrasse 16 (on the street through which tram line 9 descends from Hirschengraben near the main station, in the basement of the building marked ”SWICA”), ☎ +41 (0)31 381 71 25. Open Tu-F 10AM-5PM and Sa 11AM-3PM. The used books store of the Swiss Workers’ Aid Society.”
The Swiss Parliament Building from Monbijou Bridge
The Gurten from Monbijou Bridge
From B’s place you cross the Monbijou Bridge from where you gain fantastic views of the city, the Bundeshaus (Parliament Building), the River Aare and the nearby hills of Gurten.
Along Monbijoustrasse I spotted the sign for SWICA and dived underground to find a cavernous book shop filled to overflowing with secondhand books and maps and comfy chairs and lamps. Two floors under is the foreign language section with a large section labelled English Books.
The English books section in the lower basement
Generally the price of each book seemed to be 3 Swiss francs but on selecting 5 to buy the assistant suggested a total of 10 francs. This seemed a very fair price to me.
I bought two old paperbacks :
An illustrated story of Tom Thumb – it’s the 200th anniversary of the publication of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and my German Conversation Class have been talking about them:
The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski for Barbara and a copy of Charlotte Bronte’s Villette which I gave to my other Swiss friend, Susan.
I dared not buy any more books as I had to watch the weight in my suitcase and I knew everyone at home would prefer Swiss chocolate to musty old English books!
My walk then continued to the Hirschengraben and the Bundeshaus and Bundesplatz and over the Kirchenfeld Bridge and back to Barbara’s place.
The Bundesplatz with temporary ice rink
View from the Bundes Terrasse (Kirchenfeld Bridge on the left)