Untertorbrücke, Bern

The Untertorbrücke is one of the oldest bridges in Bern, crossing the river Aare. The first bridge was built of wood on this site and opened in 1256, and was replaced in 1489 by a more substantial, fortified stone version. It was Bern’s only bridge until 1834 and has stood in its current form since the 18th century, when the fortifications…

Untertorbrücke, Bern

Aare You Safe?

Swimming in the river Aare is a regular summer pastime of the Bernese in Switzerland. But there are occasionally mishaps. The campaign “Aare You Safe?” is intended to remind the public of the dangers of swimming in the river: not with a wagging finger but with a “cheeky wink”. Keep an eye on yourself and on others The…

Aare You Safe?

The Severn Crossings

The first crossing for the M4 motorway across the River Severn was opened in 1966. This bridge features heavily in my memories of travelling to Pembrokeshire as a child, as well as later visits to friends at university in Cardiff. Back then, I didn’t know the extent of the history of river crossings here. Until the bridge…

The Severn Crossings

“Aareböötle”

I took part in our company day out yesterday, when we went down the river Aare from Schwellenmätteli in Bern, beneath the towering heights of Bern’s old city, to Eymatt, on the north western edge of the city suburbs. Although it sounds like a city-centre trip, the area around the river in and near Bern is…

“Aareböötle”

Never-ending story

The view across the river and weir at Schwellenmätteli in Bern is wonderful on a late summer evening, and will be vastly improved from a photographic perfectionist’s point of view once the restoration work on the minster is complete. If I understand this article on Swiss newspaper website Der Bund correctly, there has been scaffolding on the building, astoundingly, since…

Never-ending story

Swimming with the fish

Swimming in the river Aare is a hobby I’ve taken up this year with gusto, having been initiated by colleagues at work last summer. Once past Bern, the river slows down as it meanders through the countryside and the greenness of the pastures below the ridge of the Jura mountains extends into the river itself, reminding me of childhood…

Swimming with the fish

A pint with a view

I’m sometimes asked for tips on places to see and to visit in London. Among other things, visitors want to know where to eat and my usual tip – especially in the summer – is the Tattershall Castle. Although it may sound like the name of a pub, it’s actually a paddle steamer, built in 1934 and originally serving…

A pint with a view

London bridge trivia

In the British Parliament building, the Palace of Westminster, there are two parliamentary houses. The House of Commons is in the northern part of the building, in which ministers sit on green leather benches. In the southern part of the building is the House of Lords; here, incumbents sit on red leather benches. Spanning the river Thames, which flows past…

London bridge trivia

The Shard

The Shard opened today in London and I’m looking forward to seeing Konstantin‘s photos, when he goes up to the viewing gallery – 245 metres above street level – this weekend. Firstly because I greatly enjoy seeing aerial photos of the city, but also because I received (as yet unbooked) tickets to go up the tower myself as a…

The Shard

Back in town

I'm on the train back to the provinces after a fleeting visit of around 36 hours to London. It's been incredibly tiring as I've tried to pack in as much as I can in the time I've had. The daily travel cards I've bought - at a fairly reasonable £7 each - have done their fair share of taking…

Back in town

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

This medieval bridge in Florence, rebuilt in 1345, is the only one remaining which is lined on both sides by shops. Originally hosting butcher shops, the bridge has been populated by jewellers and goldsmiths since the late sixteenth century. The bridge is the only one in Florence to have survived the Second World War: on the specific instructions of Hitler,…

Ponte Vecchio, Florence