After pastries and espresso, SMS and I were off to Bern. I was really looking forward to Bern for one reason: swimming in the River Aare. The Aare wraps around Bern’s Old Town like a horseshoe and swimming in the river is a very Bern thing to do. People even go for a swim during their lunch hour, which sounds amazing!
SMS and I went to Marzilibad, an open-air park with swimming pools and stretches of green grass to sprawl out on. We rented a locker, which required a hefty (refundable!) deposit. Then we sat on our towels and thought about our plan. I had read an article that gave tips on where to launch from and how to get out of the river since the horseshoe bends over a set of falls that could put quite a damper on a person’s fun time.
We walked towards the river where there is a clear pedestrian/bike path on the shore. We turned right and walked about 20 minutes to the Eichholz campground. There’s a pebbly beach that allowed us to walk into the river, sit down and get whisked away in the ~4 m.p.h. current. I went in first and I was off! That is, after overcoming the initial shock of how cold it was. SMS decided that it wasn’t for him so we decided to meet at the “jumping bridge” featured in a lot of videos. Since we were there mid-Tuesday morning, there were very few people around and I was nervous about getting in trouble for jumping. But then two guys came by, jumped in and floated away so I figured it was fine.
I climbed over the rail (this is how many good ideas start!), stood on a support beam and jumped. It feels higher than it looks on the videos and it was so much fun! I floated back to Marzilibad where I met up with SMS. Although I felt badly that he wasn’t as into the experience, I decided to have one more float so off I went. This time, SMS decided to bask in the sun back at the park. I walked up to Eichholz in my bikini, hopped in the water and floated without stopping back to Marzilibad. It was so awesome! The current was swift and it is so fun to bob along in the water. The exits are marked by red staircase rails and you have to swim diagonally towards them about 200-300 meters before the exit. I wouldn’t recommend this river float for a weak swimmer but if you are a decent swimmer and can handle a current, this place is a great stop!
For lunch, we ate at the park, ordering some currywurst from the on-site cafeteria. I only at a bit because my lunch was going to be at the Gelateria di Berna. It was delicious! I got the Frigola with balsalmic and the marzipan, SMS got the niciola and the nutella. So amazing! There was a pretty big crowd but the line moved along and it was really a fantastic way to end a great time at the park.
After our ice cream, we took the little funicular up the hill because we are lazy and really, who wants to burn calories? Just kidding, we took it because it looked so cute. It was a short ride, but a lot of fun to take a different form of transportation. We walked around the Old Town, admiring the Gothic Cathedral and Clock Tower.
Then we were off to Vevey except halfway to Laussane, I realized I had left my black bag in our Bern luggage locker. Heart attack! We got off the train at the next stop, headed back to Bern and I ran to the locker, very fearful that someone would have rented it and I would be really SOL. FORTUNATELY, the locker was open and my bag was inside, tucked behind the change holder and really difficult to see. Phew!
So, off to Vevey, take 2. We took the train, transferred at Laussane and reached Vevey. Our hotel, Le Charlot, was an 8 minute walk from the station. The first floor was a panini shop with delicious smelling food. We decided to have an easy dinner so we shared the chorizo panini and the parma panini- both were excellent choices, especially when accompanied by rosé wine.
The lake was absolutely beautiful. Our time in Vevey was short but it was really stunning. We went to Yatus wine bar for a night cap. That night, we slept really well without any midnight/early morning, jetlag-induced wake-ups. Yay!