Sometimes Bern has it hard. Particularly when a foreigner gushes too much about the glamor of Zurich, the grandiosity of Lucerne, the cosmopolitan flair of Geneva. But the irritation never lasts too long. For the Berners are proud to live in their city, which they would never describe as a "big city" (even though it is, of course - with its many possibilities). Bern is the capital city of Switzerland (pop. 127,000) and a wonderful city for for strolling and shopping, a city of bears (notice its mascot), a great city for fountain and bridges. With its many geraniums, Bern is also a city of flowers and a bohemian city filled with artists and students. The people of Bern, at least in their own heads (called the "Bern Noggin," or "Bärner Gring") are even more Swiss than other Swiss citizens (not more Swiss, as some wags insist, just slower). The citizens of the capital don't mind - they are proud of their well-preserved old town. In addition, from almost anywhere in the city, it takes only minutes to get to the lush and green Aar, the river that flows around the old town of Bern in a long loop.
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