the bear pits in Berne



I’ve pored over pictures and collected old postcards…




but it was time to pack a sketchbook and go to Berne to see those bear pits (now the BärenPark) for myself!




The original pits are still there, exactly as described in the books…




but the current inhabitants have somewhere far nicer to live, with lush greenery to potter around and a river to bathe in. At first there was no sign of life at all, so I waited and waited.
The keeper came out and left a trail, not of iced buns or condensed milk, but of generous portions of carrots and fruit.
And at last they lumbered out, (Bjork, Ursina and Finn) – two large bears and one huge bear.






Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 12.45.11


Their snuffling snouts and easy, rolling, fat-shouldered, lazy movements are a joy to see.

Then they returned to their sleeping quarters and didn’t reappear for the rest of the day.
Priorities. I approve.

To think – the descendants of the bears that Gwynedd Rae saw and was so inspired by, all those years ago!

In Berne I also needed to draw the clock tower…


P1110733small (1)


and a tram, with their complicated power lines…




both of which you’ll be able to spot in the books.

Tomorrow… well… tomorrow is a secret.
I haven’t quite decided if I’m going to tell you about it, actually.


Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 13.45.51