Urban Swimming in the Aare

The capital of Switzerland is the city of Bern. Flowing through this city, you find the river Aare. On the banks of the river Aare, you find river beach Eichholz. This beach would technically be in the suburb of Wabern, this is just outside of Bern. What I am about to tell you, is a long standing tradition in the warm summer months of Bern. 

What you will need: one swimming attire, one small floating device like a pool noodle, a camera, a towel and a party pooper buddy thats willing to watch your stuff or a couple of francs to pay for a locker. (The locker option is more possible at the public baths at Marzili). Okay, back to Eichholz. You can either take on the pebble beach and enter the fast flowing river at the beach Eichholz or you can walk upstream about a km or two and float down to the beach or even past this beach. 

As soon as you hit the water you are taken by the 2m/sec stream. The two kilometers you just walked upstream, that took 20min, will fly by in a few minutes. Soon after, you can wave “hi” to your buddy watching your stuff, as you pass by beach Eichholz. Twenty counts later and you are almost half way on your way to the first bridge in the distance. This experience is quite refreshing in the summer heat but equally exciting. What a rush! When you feel comfortable to get out, you can swim towards the left hand side of the river, and every now and then you will see these red bars or balustrade looking pipes sticking out of the water. As you approach one of these bars, be careful to take the power of the stream in consideration as you grab them. Getting out is pretty easy though. You can do this run over and over again. 

The river is a beautiful asphalt blue colour, they say its all the minerals in the melted glacier water. On a hot summers day the water can reach up to 20 deg C. Later on the river Aare reaches and merges with the river Rhine, but you will not be able to float all the way to this point. Approaching the city centre of Bern you will have to ‘disembark’ or else you’ll hit the water barrigade prohibiting swimmers through the city centre. Enjoy this best kept secret of Bern. Please also be safe. Even if you are a good swimmer. Its advisable to take a small floating device with. Have fun. 

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