The film takes the viewer on an interestingly varied journey along the river Aare. From the peaks of the Bernese Oberland highlands to the confluence of the river Aare with the Rhine, culminating in the spectacular finale at the Rhine Falls.
The Aare is the longest river whose entire course lies within Switzerland. From its source in the rugged mountain terrain of the Bernese Alps all the way to its confluence with the River Rhine, the film portrays the river and its surroundings as a richly varied natural environment.
Four of the largest rivers in Europe – the Rhine, the Rhone, the Danube and the Po – have their origins in the Alps. The Aare, the longest river with its course entirely in Switzerland, also rises in the mountains of the Bernese Oberland highlands. The landscape here is shaped by water: the weight of the glaciers’ enormous ice masses bends solid rock, flowing water cuts gorges hundreds of metres deep into mountain stone. The film shows many of the impressive landscapes that are created, such as the ten subterranean Trümmelbach Falls, or the pretty Lauterbrunnen Valley, whose 72 water cascades inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to immortalize them in his mammoth classic, “Lord of the Rings” as Rivendell, the Elven town. The further downstream the Aare flows, the more colourful and rich its surrounding flora and fauna become. The river must assert itself often enough against attempts to tame it, yet some of its returning natives, such as the beaver, and some new arrivals such as the cormorant, still manage to find quiet refuges in the midst of densely-populated Switzerland.