Crave Online reports: “We’re very laid-back people,” said Regula, a 30-something resident of Bern, appointed one of my unofficial ambassadors to Switzerland’s capitol city. It’s easy to see, literally, where Bern’s chilled-out vibe comes from; the city is surrounded by dramatic views of the Aare River. It’s so clean, the motto is, “Swim with your mouth open.”
The Swiss are mad for swimming. Each city seems to have its own special, logo emblazoned on a dry bag, rubberized to keep the contents safe while floating down the river or lake.
In Bern, there are river entry points all over the city, with railings and signs warning of the next place to get out. The river is Bern’s local amusement park, and it’s free. The water flows so fast, it’s like being on a water flume, and the only way one can properly do strokes is to go against the current…
Now in the UK we can’t boast freezing cold pure and bubbling glacial waters running through our city’s, but clean water has returned as our polluting industrial past fades away in memory. Getting swimmers back into our waters is another matter. Unlike the Swiss, far from being a laid-back chilled-out people many feel sure that river swimming is a fringe activity and are very suspicious about the concept of outdoor swimming. It wouldn’t be so bad if we had more of a ‘live and let live’ attitude, but if that cannot be achieved we can always visit Switzerland to see just what were missing!