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Readers of “the Guardian” may be tempted to spend the next European heatwave in Basel. In an inviting article about Rhine swimming, the British newspaper delves into Basel’s quality of life.
When temperatures reached 38 degrees Celsius in Basel this summer, British journalist Ella Foote broke all the rules about swimming in dangerous, dirty and current-riven rivers. In Basel, as she floated down the Rhine for “the Guardian”, she found that things were very different.
The Rhine reminded Foote “of moonstone, a pearlescent blend of blues and greens”, she writes. Noting the clearly marked safe swimming area, she packed her passport and mobile phone into a Wickelfisch and joined the local swimmers on their way into the water. Once in, the experienced swimmer’s instinct was to “swim, kick and control” – but, as she discovered, “relaxing into the flow was the best way”. Foote’s dip in the Rhine turned into a watery city tour: from the river, she saw all Basel’s sights. After 30 minutes, when she exited the water at one of the marked points, all she wanted was to “do it all over again”.
Swimming in the Rhine was not the only aspect of life in Basel that Foote experienced. She writes about the Swim City exhibition at the Swiss Architecture Museum until the end of September, which shows how Swiss cities “have gradually made the river accessible as a natural public space in the built environment”. Foote also highlights bathing houses, such as Restaurant Le Rhin Bleu in Rheinbad-Breite, where you can relax and watch other swimmers.
Now, having swum in the city center, the British journalist has a different impression of Switzerland and Basel. “I’ve always associated Switzerland with winter travel,” she writes. But “in this city centre a swimsuit is the typical summer outfit”.