We had a wonderful supper last night with Hildi, a Swiss friend, at the Kronenhalle. Formerly a favourite place for artists and writers to meet, they frequently paid their bill in kind – with their art rather than money. So, we had the huge privilege of sitting beneath an original Chagall masterpiece
(on a postcard rather than on the wall, since the chic restaurant wasn’t really the place to start snapping photographs here and there).
On the wall opposite was a lovely Miro and around the room were other great works, but of course, we were chatting twenty to the dozen auf Deutsch and in English at the same time and I’m afraid the art did get a little overlooked.
So, it was a slower start this morning, on the tram first to the station and then onto the 0930 to Solothurn. Not at all busy, it was a good start to what turned out to be another excellent day.
We arrived to find the usual postbus waiting for the connection, but we were planning to look around this lovely small city for a while. My hero and I had known it for some years, since one of our friends grew up here and had showed us around on a previous visit. Actually, Edward was there too, but of course, remembered little of it, so we started at the station and made our way down to the town centre.
The first thing one notices on stepping out from a Swiss station is the wealth of information and opportunities there. For those feeling more energetic than we, there were cycle paths, roller blading routes and a suggestion for the mountain bikers too.
Our first stop was the cafe at the foot of the steps leading to the magnificent cathedral. And just in case you think we are turning into the kind of people who drink beer morning, noon and night, here’s the proof that we do, actually, enjoy other beverages
Apfelschorle is a mix of apple juice and spring water and on a morning such as this, hits the spot perfectly. Refreshed and reinvigorated, we dashed up those steps (not) and went inside.
The cool, white interior was so elegant and the peaceful ambience inside was ideal for slowing us down, to bring us into the here and now and to inspire our exploration of Solothurn.
Because outside, the farmers market was doing a brisk trade, the sunshine had come out and the temperature was rising.
And Solothurn is a great city with many small but lovely details. It’s not somewhere to run round, but rather a place to wander, to savour and to notice. We very much liked the painted fountains, for example and on a very hot and sticky morning, how refreshing to dangle hands in the cool water and to take a drink from the water spout.
Just around the corner, another curious building, with malachite green onion domes either side which contrast so well with the deep blue sky.
Looking more closely, the downpipes from the gutter are surprisingly elaborate too.
We also noticed one or two details on the front doors along the street. Such a lovely tradition to adorn a door with a small wreath of flowers, berries or whatever, isn’t it?
Around the corner is another fountain, which means another photograph and another dangle of the hands. Bliss on such a warm day.
This fountain is actually in the market place and whilst there, we thought on and bought a few bits for a picnic lunch later: A piece of bergkase, some apples, an air-dried sausage or two and some bread rolls. What more could we ask for?
Well, we passed by the Konditorei selling the Solothurn speciality and felt that we really did need one of those to finish our picnic. I bought a small one “to try” but later, regretted the choice and wish I’d gone larger…
Taking one last look at the sunflowers we’ve been admiring as they were carried from the market, we returned to the station to catch the train to Bern, our destination for this afternoon. The train was already on the station as we strolled (!) up to it and left almost immediately.
Find out what happened in Bern in the next post!