Thursday, 25 May 2017

Basel Day One

Our first mission the next morning was to find the tourist office, which I gather was at the train station. Since I didn't have Switzerland anywhere on my bucket list I just followed where Jane or Bill led. It really wasn't until I started looking through my photos that I realised it had actually been a far more interesting trip that had occurred to me while it was happening. Perhaps I shouldn't admit to that. I'm remembering all the pleasure I've had in the past reliving the holiday and researching all the questions that popped up at the time.

Anyhow, I had the impression this building was called something like the fenster or fenêtre building, after the many windows, but in fact it is called Südpark (South Park!) and it's meant to remind you of Tetris, the computer game. Whatever. It's near the train station, a much more stately affair.

Trams run all over the place, which is great...until you want to take a photo.

At tourist information Jane found a brochure that featured several walks in Basel city centre, each assigned a colour and a famous name. Well, I recognised a few but could only actually identify one; so much for being 'educated'. 

It took us a while to learn to spot the signs along the walk and I'm not at all sure how well we did, but we saw some astonishing things. Jane discovered how confusing it is to have two people navigating (both she and her brother are accustomed to leading). Chris and I are more followers, but while the rest of us might hang back, unsure if entry was allowed, Chris would go snoop march forth, discover wondrous sights and return to beckon us on. When everyone got stymied with indecision I would volunteer a suggestion to keep us going. So, it all worked out.

Major points to Chris for discovering this inside!

Another priority was to figure out how to say Basel. It isn't a silly question at all, given that there are about as many spellings and pronunciations of this city's name as countries that surround Switzerland (and even those that don't). Jane was accustomed to the French manner (Baal) and I think I had been using the American version that sounds like we say the herb, but since we were in a German area I switched over to their pronunciation. You can read all about that here. Another place we were to visit later on was Thun, which is easy to say: Toon. Just like the name Geordies give to Newcastle.

But enough of semantics. One of the best sights in Basel was the town hall or rathaus (rat house!). Which reminds me that I never wrote about our last meet-up with Jane & Chris, in Vienna (where we stumbled upon the Eurovision song contest!) Must figure out how to do that, though much of it will be forgotten by now, sadly.

Anyhow, I gather that while the original council house is about 500 years old, much of the original fresco work has been lost and some of the building was torn down and rebuilt in the last hundred years or so. Still, we thought it was pretty spectacular.

I have no more words to share, so I will just leave you with the photos.

Each face different! I wonder who they were?

Even the down pipe is decorated!

Almost made me think of cartoon drawings, but still very effective.

Scary lady?

I had this last, but it looked like he was peaking up the soldier's skirt...


Indigo Dragonfly said...

Well, if the rest of Basel (however you pronounce it) is anything like this first bit, it looks gorgeous. Sometimes just going along for the ride it best - you get to absorb everything with no expectations in the way.

Looks like you had a wonderful trip.

Beryl said...

I really need to visit Switzerland again. It was my favorite on my first Europe trip, and yet, somehow I never went back. Chocolate alone should have been reason enough for a return.