You haven’t seen Bern when you have not seen its harbor.
Nature has done little for it, and government has done less.
The concentration of business is so high here, it will take many years to
overcome all difficulties:
The river’s strap will be straightened, the fishmarket paved,
the harbor enlarged and the piers filled with Cuban and Chinese vessels.
Bern is a city of desirable aspects to the eye and the feet,
but the harbor is the merchant’s ideal of paradise. It smokes and roars.
The river is choked with craft, the streets are filled up with boxes and bales,
swarms of dock workers are going in and out.
The merchants can’t get goods from the East and West fast enough:
Car seat covers in January,
Air conditioners in February,
Appliances in March,
E-Bikes in April,
Drapes and curtains and Camping equipment in Mai,
Bathing suits in June,
School clothes in July,
Batteries and mufflers in August,
Coats in September,
Television sets and phonographs in October,
Handbags and frozen vegetables in November,
Party items in December
All this incessant turnover under the relaxed observation
of Björk and Finn in their sloping park
– two lovely bears chewing carrots and ship rats and
the captain’s labrador and anything that won’t eat them first.
to Peter Bichsel, Author of: Im Hafen von Bern im Frühling.