The past two weeks have been particularly busy and full of events for me here in Bern.
Summer is now well and truly in full swing and we have all been enjoying basking in the glorious weather – picnic’s by the river, dinner outside at last, long walks out in nature and braving swimming in the river again.
The famous Aare river that flows through Bern is filling up with cool glacier water that has the most incredible blue to it, the water temperature is around 17c which is rather refreshing to say the least, but on a cool summers afternoon it’s perfect for a quick cool off. The outside public swimming pool’s are a much more bearable affair, 23c water temperature, hitting the note just right for a lovely relaxing swim.
The family I live with here recently celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset meal overlooking the city in the Rose Garden, an incredible experience. I also recently cooked a big three course sunday roast for the entire family plus a few guests, almost 9 people, as always everything went well – except for my attempt at making yorkshire pudding for the first time, more of a big pancake unfortunately.
I’ve enjoyed a good few walks along the river with friends, it’s great to be outside of the city within ten minutes walking and really in the heart of nature which is especially beautiful at this point in the season.
Talking of season’s, my season here with Bern Ballet is coming to a close, I’m now in the last three week’s and it’s been go-go-go for me. This week we are in the Opera House rehearsing lighting/spacing/costume etc before the premiere of Momo this very Thursday.
Today the Orchestra joined us for rehearsals, what a magical atmosphere.
It truly is a really special feeling to hear a full orchestra in action, there’s a place inside of me that is particularly moved by such music.
Towards the end of last week a friend of mine from London visited and what a great time we had. There was a movie premiere on the thursday – a dance documentary (Buebe Go Tanz) with dancers from Bern Ballet and local Bernese band Kummerbuben, it was very well filmed and put together and I thoroughly enjoyed the film.
Friday saw us being tourists around the city going camera happy, a ballet performance in the evening and champagne under the stars, a lovely finish to a wonderful day. Saturday was possibly one of the craziest day’s I’ve had in Bern. Following dinner and a sunset photo-shoot over the city I headed into the town with friends.
There was a protest scheduled for the evening, the authorities here want to close down a venue popular with the youth here which isn’t going down to well with them. Over 10,000 people registered online to attend and I read it was closer to 20,000 people who turned out in the morning’s papers.
There was a big procession throughout the city, mobile dj booth’s on the back of tractors and vans followed by groups of revellers. There was a relatively low police presence for what I’ve seen before at protests in Bern, they usually outnumber and definitely out arm the protesters if there looks to be a possibility of trouble.
The evening passed without to much of a commotion but I have seriously never seen Bern as it was that evening – there was glass and rubbish everywhere, people where swinging from lights and on top of buildings, even the houses of parliament didn’t escape the party goers – they have been completely trashed – smashed windows, graffiti all over the walls and windows besides anti-capitolism and anarchistic flags flying proud over the evening’s conquest.
Of course by the next afternoon as I was making my way through the city to visit friends all the litter had gone and the only suggestion something out of the ordinary had taken place only a few hours before was the extensive damage and graffiti on the Parliament building.
I was amazed that the police had taken such a passive role and more or less sat back and let it happen, but from speaking to people present and in perspective, it was probably a good move, it would only of fuelled already high tensions and led to more damage and unrest. A lesson for the London police to learn perhaps?
While I in no way condone the kind of damage or methods of protest that some took to use, I can empathise with it and it fills me with pride to see a whole community come together to protest in a largely democratic way to hold on to what is a massive part of the social scene for young people – a safe environment where they can all meet and socialize. Imagine everyone doing that in the UK if their favourite local community hall was to shut, it’s just unheard of, and to me a fine example of how switched on and politically aware the youth of Switzerland are.
On that note, I’ll leave you with a few snaps of the past two weeks to enjoy, and until the next time,
it’s good-bye from me.