Neighbourhood: Breite

Text by Lilia Rusterholtz & Alex Erath
Photography by Xenia Wiederkehr

There are two ways to start: climb in slowly or jump. Either way, seconds later you will find yourself between a medieval quarter on the left and a Bauhaus industry complex on the right. When you turn slightly you will catch sight of a reddish building, the Tinguely museum. But take care to get out of the way of the old wooden ferry connecting two banks of the river you are swimming in: the Rhine in Basel. You can continue, the ever changing scenery passing by, but always keep in mind that you will have to walk all the way back to where you left your belongings.

The best place to start your swim is the public river bath, known locally as Rhybadhysli Breiti. Built in 1898, it originally served as a public bath, of course with separate days of usage for men and women. Two times, the iron structure was about to be demolished and it was only due to civil initiatives collecting both money and political goodwill that it still exists.

Some things, like the changing rooms and the steel structure, are still in their original state. Yet the relatively new holders of the café-bar have managed to give the place a neoteric ambience. Despite being probably the most beautiful place in Basel, it is never overcrowded and always keeps a familiar atmosphere by focusing on the important things in life: good coffee, good ice-cream and a spacious view.

Read more in N˚3: Fight.