Babysitters -- Babysitting can be arranged through most hotels. Make arrangements as far in advance as possible.

Bookstores -- The best for English-language books is Buchanlung Stauffacher, Neuengasse 25-37 (tel. 031/313-63-63;

Business Hours -- Banks are open Monday to Friday 8am to 4:30pm (on Thurs until 6pm). Most offices are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, and on Saturday 9am to noon.

Currency Exchange -- This is available on the lower level of the Bahnhof, on Bahnhofplatz, open Monday to Friday 7am to 8pm, Saturday 7am to 7pm, and Sunday 9am to 7pm.

Doctors & Dentists -- Call tel. 0900/576-747 for a referral to an English-speaking doctor.

Drugstores -- Try Central-Apotheke Volz & Co., Zytgloggelaube 2 (tel. 031/311-10-94; It's near the Clock Tower in Old Town. The staff speaks English and can suggest over-the-counter substitutes for foreign drugs that can't be found in Europe. Hours are Monday to Wednesday 8am to 6:30pm, Thursday 8am to 8pm, Friday 8am to 7pm, and Saturday 8am to 5pm. Bahnhof Apotheke, at the Bahnhofplatz (tel. 031/329-25-25), is open daily 6am to 10pm.

Embassies & Consulates -- The U.S. Embassy is at Sulgeneckstrasse 19 (tel. 031/357-70-11). Other embassy addresses are Canada, Kirchenfeldstrasse 88 (tel. 031/357-32-00), and United Kingdom, Thunstrasse 50 (tel. 031/359-77-00). New Zealand citizens should call their consulate-general in Geneva (tel. 022/929-03-50).

Emergencies -- Call tel. 117 for the police, tel. 144 for an ambulance, tel. 118 to report a fire, or tel. 140 for the road patrol, but only for an emergency.

Hairdressers & Barbers -- One of the city's best-known hairdressers is Erminio, Marktgasse 50 (tel. 031/312-22-33). There are separate sections for men and women. Hours are Tuesday to Friday 9am to 6:30pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm.

Hospital -- The city's largest is Insel Hospital, Freiburgstrasse (tel. 031/632-21-11), the clinic affiliated with the University of Bern.

Internet Access -- A centrally located internet cafe is at Kramgasse 47 (tel. 031/311-55-11; It is open daily 9am to 11pm and charges 8F per hour.

Laundry & Dry Cleaning -- Jet Wash is a coin-operated, conveniently located laundry at Dammweg 43 (tel. 031/330-26-38). For dry cleaning, try Textilreinigung (tel. 031/312-00-77), which is located in the main railway station.

Lost Property -- The lost-property office at Predigergasse 5 (tel. 031/321-50-50) is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm (till 6pm Thurs).

Luggage Storage & Lockers -- Storage facilities are available on the lower level of the Bahnhof, on Bahnhofplatz.

Police -- The police station is at Waisenhausplatz 32 (tel. 031/634-41-11).

Post Office -- The main post office (Schanzenpost), at Effingerstrasse 16 (tel. 0848/888-888), is open Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 9pm, on Saturday from 8am to 4pm, and Sunday 4 to 9pm.

Safety -- Bern is Europe's safest capital. Nevertheless, you should take the usual precautions; protect your valuables. It's generally safe to walk the streets at night, and crimes against women are rare.

Taxes -- A 8% value-added tax (VAT) is included in the price of all goods and services rendered, including hotel and restaurant bills. There are no other special taxes.

Telegrams, Telex & Fax -- Most hotels will arrange the expedition of faxes and telegrams. If not, head for the main post office .

Toilets -- You'll find public facilities in the Bahnhof and in some squares in Old Town.

Transit Information -- Call tel. 0900/300-300 ( for rail information or tel. 0848/888-888 for postal-bus information.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.