It’s always great when you think you’ve got a bargain and arriving in Basel we absolutely did. The trip from Titisee was free with the KONUS Card and because we had a booking at a hotel in the city we just needed the confirmation notification before we picked up the BaselCard at the hotel, then all transport around the city was free.
Ha…but that was about it for a bargain in Switzerland. It is very expensive particularly eating and sleeping but other than that…
Prioritising is essential. There are 900 museums in Switzerland and 40 of them in Basel. We decided The Beyeler, Kunstmuseum and then the Vitra. The first was a thirty minute tram ride from the Old Town to Riehen, just outside Basel. On the way we passed through the Basel Expo Centre and got to see the ‘Fenster zum Himmel’ (window to heaven). We were starving and it was very early – 9:30??? I think I’m turning European! We indulged in a coffee and croissant at the museum cafe- price equivalent to a pub meal at home!! The gallery across the road was in a garden but the gate was open so I ventured in and took photos. The feature exhibition at the Beyeler was Mondrian. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed that and the rest of the museum.
Next the Kunstmuseum. The Picasso El Greco exhibition was sensational. According to Wikipedia ‘the Kunstmuseum Basel houses the oldest public art collection in the world and is generally considered to be the most important museum of art in Switzerland. It is listed as a heritage site of national significance.’ Just to add tension to the ‘brain sucking overload’, this museum is housed in three buildings in two locations. Enough!!! We had reached the end of our Basel museum experience – the Vitra Design Museum, the Tinguely, the Basel Paper Mill…another time maybe!!!!
It was time for indulging another part of the anatomy. Market Square was a couple of hundred metres from the hotel – downhill. Seriously we discovered Tram 3 would take us to within 50m of the hotel…we did that!!! Old Town Basel is hilly!!! Movenpick Brasserie was making us offerings that we simply couldn’t refuse. We indulged!!!!
There is always action in the square and I was wondering why the police were there- a dozen of them in two vans. What could be so dangerous. At first I thought it might be an explosive devise cleverly disguised as a mop/dog, or the bubble man and the out-of-control children but no …it was the protest!!! And what was that about? The US Roe V Wade. Abortion. Ummm I don’t know the laws here in Switzerland so I suspected with such a police presence it might be seen as potential insurrection.
The hotel did offer us a Wickelfisch to do the Rhine thing..ie put your clothes in a float (wickelfisch) and float down the river with the current. One look at the river convinced us that it was not going to happen. I prefer to be able to see into the water- at least a few centimetres. Instead we wandered the streets and found the famous Gothic Cathedral, saw the cable ferry and the swimmers.
We had some great eating experiences, bistro, restaurant and tapas bar. We even found ourselves in some sort of cafeteria where there were a half a dozen Eames chairs around a huge circular coffee table where office workers, bankers, families and cheapskates (like me) gathered to have an amazing salad bar for 16 euros.
Basel was wonderful. Our next destination…Croatia. I wasn’t particularly happy when our flight was changed from a leisurely 12:45 departure to 7am with warnings to be at the airport at least two hours before. 5AM!!!! Buggar…this was going to be interesting.