Swimming in the Rhine ...

The Rhine is one of my favourite rivers. It has a solid quality about it - a sense of trudging on day after day, carrying water in its wide girth from Grisons in the eastern Swiss Alps to the North Sea off the coast of Holland. It slithers in a turquoise ribbon, splitting Rheinfelden in Canton Aargau into its Swiss and German halves. When we spend the weekend with Tim's Godmother Marion and her husband, Achim, the weather is the hottest it has been this year - well into the thirties. What better excuse to jump into the somewhat cooler waters of the Rhine? There is a lovely little swimming facility set up on the edge of town.

We acclimatise with a few lengths in the pool before taking the plunge. Having basked for some minutes on the rocky river banks, the sensation when I dip my toes into the water is somewhat 'Atlantic'. Having mustered the confidence to get in though, I am pleased that I did. The current carries me along with such force that I barely need to move my arms and legs. I feel the great power of nature as I reach the end of the short route and struggle to stay to the edge of the river.

During our trip to Rheinfelden we also go to one of the SOLsberg concerts. Organised by Sol Gabetta, an Argentine cellist of French and Russian roots, the festival takes place around Midsummer each year. The Basel Chamber Orchestra (baselkammerorchester) accompany her in the concert we attend and it is just stunning: the crescendos as the orchestra come together, then retreat into silence, the enchanting cries of Gabetta's rare Guadagini cello. Rheinfelden's St. Martin's church with its ancient frescoes was a lovely location for a baking summer's evening. Although we were seated near the back, we could see Gabetta's head bobbing up and down as she became one with her music and cello. A truly magical and not-to-be-missed experience.
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