The River Aare, A Bernese Odyssey.

In the space of only a week since I was last by the river Aare here in Bern, a lot has changed.

Today I took my bike, book & camera & headed off for a lovely cycle along the river. The snow on the alps must be melting because the river has risen dramatically, to levels I am used to seeing during the summer/autumn season here. The water temperature still remains too low for any sane people to get in, averaging out at around 11c, 17/18+ and you’re in the business.

Recently Bern, already a UNESCO world heritage site, was declared the best place to live in Europe, a high yet extremely deserving accolade for this beautiful city. The secret weapon? Not the beautiful old city, not the fun loving bears, not the delicious cheese or chocolate that comes from here, it is the river Aare that is Bern’s secret weapon. Along with the above mentioned things, the friendly atmosphere the people of the city endure to create, the bustling nightlife, and the inspiring cultural scene all make this one heck of a city to live in.

Not that it’s stopping people, a few brave souls are braving the cold for a refreshing swim and the public swimming pools at ‘Marzillibad’ are now open for the season. The water here at least is mild, 18c, so weather dependant, tomorrow I may well grab my trunks & head off for a nice afternoon swim.

Passing further up the river heading out of Bern towards the Zoo, I decided to take a different course from the usual one I usually go on whilst exploring the nature around Bern, I continued straight ahead on the left after the famous ‘jumping’ bridge (that leads you over to the Zoo from city direction) more officially known as ‘Schonausteg’ where the adventurous young and old people of the city jump into the water during the summer.

Right next to the Marzillibad you will find a nice beach volleyball area, already primed for the beautiful bikini clad girls of the city to entertain the Ray-Ban wearing youth’s looking on hopefully at their latest crush in the summer months.

The campsite is open again, a few families where pitched up in the large camping lawn – making me think about the 4 night’s of camping I’m going to try to survive at this year’s ‘T in The Park’ concert with my brother in Scotland. ‘Camping Eichholz’ as it is known properly can accommodate families of all sizes with their own accommodation starting at just 17.50CHF for a two bed room, that is of course if you don’t want to do it the proper way & pitch up your own tent or stop over in your camper van – much more fun i think you will agree!

By the campsite there are a few barbecue areas where you can sit with friends and/or family and enjoy many a nice sun-soaked afternoon or evening during the warm summer months we are about to be blessed by.

The glacier ice and snow that is melting up in the not so distant Alps brings a distinctly clear icy blue colour to the river, really quite a sight to see.

There are a few cafe’s dotted along the river as you go up, all with lovely locally produced food, the cake’s & coffee always a good shout for a nice afternoon break.

With spring comes hay-fever, the bain of my existence! However, today was a good day in the fight against pollen and I enjoyed the fresh scent of elderflower, tulips & of course the lovely smell of campfire wood which i love so much.

20 minutes by bike along the river & you arrive alongside the airport, Bern-Belp. Probably the smallest airport I’ve seen, you can cycle right by the run-way if you make a right turn from the river. There is a small terminal operating a few airlines to destinations around Europe, Skywork being the main one offering cheap flights to places like Germany and Spain, with a complimentary iPad for your flight of course, they don’t do things by halves in Switzerland!

On this particular day, I opted for an ice-cream and sat at the airport cafe outside reading my book and observing the numerous small and light aircraft taxiing along the run-way and taking off. A few aviation enthusiasts, people waiting for travelling friends/family to arrive and a few air stewardess’ sat around in the sunshine.

No luck today on my scratch card, when will that 5k come my way?

Until the next time, enjoy the photo’s & look to the bottom for links to info about the campsite, airport, swimming pools & where to find more videos/pics of the river. Ciao.

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