A visit to Biel/Bienne
Nick and I are currently visiting Rachel in her new Swiss home in Biel/Bienne, a completely bilingual town. It is like walking inside a dictionary. Where ever you go, the street names, the newspaper, the menus, the shop fronts are written both in German and in French. Finally I know that Arsenale means Zeughaus, Menagerie means Tierpark and Faubourg Vorstadt. When you go to the shops, the cashier thanks you with a ‘mercie vielmals’. It must be translator’s paradise (incidentally Rachel’s flat mate is one). One should have a city like this for any language, go there, learn it quickly and then live happily ever after.
But this is not all that Biel/Bienne has on offer. Great lake to swim in and cycle round. Good restaurant (if you ignore the prices); I had already my fair dose of Roesti and Fondue. Also Jean Jacques Rousseau stayed here; he says he was never as happy as here on the St Peter’s island on the Bieler See. Must get his book ‘Reveries of a solitary walker’.