Switzerland: Go on, feel the Bern; Anna Coogan; Independent

Switzerland – Old City of Berne

I had completely underestimated the appeal of the common onion.

Yet here I am, at 6.30am on a November morning in Bern, the capital of Switzerland, at the Onion Festival, or Zibelemarit. And thousands of people are milling around stalls filled with vegetables, in particular onions produced by local farmers, and which are woven into pretty braids or festive-style wreaths.

In all, there’s a total of 648 food stalls to visit on the medieval streets – when the sun comes up I’ll see the snow-covered Swiss Alps in the distance – 171 of which are selling onions, and 57 tons of onions will be sold by the end of the day.

Yet people are up early for a lot more than onions, and are out and about in the pre-dawn darkness drinking glasses of spicy gluhwein and eating sweet pastries. The air is filled with the smell of roasting chestnuts, and children have gotten their hands on bags of confetti and are liberally showering everyone who comes near to them.

It’s all a bit mad, in a totally cheerful way.

Read more from source: Switzerland: Go on, feel the Bern

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