Saturday, 22 September 2007

Solothurn - my adopted town

Although I was born a Londoner from the East End, I have been living in Switzerland for the last 40 years. After two years in Zürich I went to the town of Solothurn and have been living in and around the town for the last 38 years. My husband and I lived in Solothurn for 28 years and for the last 10 years we moved a kilometer down the road to the village of Feldbrunnen, but as towns grow Feldbrunnen is really just around the corner tp Solothurn. I am not going into historical details with dates and all that, as you can find what you need on our good old Internet. I just happened to take a couple of photos this week on a rainy day and these are the results.

First of all we have our cathederal, the St. Ursen. Solothurn is a catholic town - very useful for getting more holidays during the year, so we have a cathederal, very old. My youngest son even sung with the choirboys before his voice broke and went on a couple of international trips with them.

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It is the big building at the back with the tower. As you can see we have a River, the river Aare which sort of flows from the Bernese Alps, through the capital city of Bern and eventually arrives in Solothurn. From there it goes on a journey until it runs into the River Rhine (I mean nearly all rivers in Europe flow into the River Rhine and one time or another). The building on the left on the river bank is the so-called Besenval palace. In earlier days Solothurn was the French ambassors town and he lived in Palais Besenval during the Winter. These days it is used for art exhibitions mainly or other local happenings.

If you go down towards the left you arrive at the following building.

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Known as the Landhaus, it is mainly used for exhibitions, concerts and lectures. Inside very roomy with a stage. The annual literature days are held there when Solothurn invites Swiss writers to read from their works or introduce their books. Although not only Swiss, but it can sometimes get quite international. Mainly books in German, French and Italian (3 of our 4 national languages) but now and again might get the odd English writer. It is also used for the annual film days, also mainly Swiss Films, but now and again you get the odd personality turning up. Two years ago Maximillian Schell was here (Swiss actor, but internationally known). This building also burnt down once - according to my other half around 1955, but was built again.

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Still looking towards the Northern bank of the River Aare we have some original old buildings. Over the years their outward appearance has not been changed very much, just painted up a bit, but if you would like to live in one of the renovated ultra modern flats, then you have to be earning well. Something comparable to the docklands in London. The large white building on the left used to be a bank, but even small Swiss banks get taken over by bigger Swiss banks. After they cleared the gnomes out that changed it into a pool billard hall. with bar. My youngest son has spent many happy moments there. Three months after it was open, the roof caught on fire, so it was closed for a further six months to have it rebuilt again. The building next to it was a restaurant and over the years changed owners often. The original name was Storchen (storks), afterwards it became a pub with the name of Charleys and then eventually it was the sport bar. In the cellar there was always a sort of bar with young ladies who danced, mostly without clothing, from the eastern part of Europe. They even lived in the top floors. Today the building is empty and up for sale - anyone interested? For more see next photo.

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The building third from left brings many happy memories back. On the ground floor there is the Restaurant Chutz. In earlier days when hubby and I were newly sort of married we often spent many a happy Saturday evening and Sunday morning there. It was known as a Jazz restaurant and Jazz groups from the local area would give a concert either on Saturdays evenings, or a so-called Jazz matinée on Sunday morning. My husband played drums himself (being a keen be-bop jazz fan) and now and again would play or join in in a jam session. Happy days - the last time he played was to celebrate his 60th birthday together with the piano player. He still has contact today and we still have the drums - you never know. The Restaurant itself belonged to a painter (arty stuff) and his paintings were often on the walls. These days there is not so much jazz there, but quite often the local rock/beat bands will have a concert. My oldest son is always there helping out - sort of roady.

So that was a short and sweet tour of the town where I live and have sort of got to love over the past years. Of course, not everything is so perfect. We also have our share of drug dealers, dodgy types and layabouts, but today they just belong to our civilisation. The place lives and that is the main thing.

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