With a couple of days off over the Easter weekend I managed to find a cheap flight to this small Swiss city just over the border. So close to the border in fact, that in the airport you head for the exit and reach a sign giving you the option to turn left for France and right for Switzerland.
We turned right and started our 48 hour visit to this border settlement. Upon leaving the confines of the airport the first thing we noticed was the integrated travel system. The bus we needed left from right outside the door. Excellent.
The public transport is excellent, but expensive. Luckily, as part of the hotel package, we had a free travel pass for our stay. If you’re looking to spend time in Basle, see if your hotel offers this, we used the buses and trams extensively and would have spent a small fortune if we’d paid for each trip.
We arrived at our hotel (situated just on the outskirts of the city but still within free public transport range) quite late, so ordered room service sandwiches and relaxed, ready for a long day of exploring on the morrow.
The morning dawned cold, wet and generally not very exciting but after a good breakfast we headed out of the hotel, got on the tram right next to the hotel and headed into town.
First stop, the Town Hall. A fascinating building, steeped in history, covered in paintings and statues and totally incomprehensible for the most part. This city, only a short hop from the French border is a German speaking canton. My German is fairly poor so any translation on my part was at best a guess.
No idea who this fella is. Very smart though.
The mixture of architecture in the city is fantastic. A real melange of old and new, Gothic, Tuetonic and typically Swiss,
with the difference really noticeable on the banks of the Rhine, where new has replaced old over the years.
The first morning was spent wandering round the city, just taking in the ambience, with the afternoon being spent in the Tinguely museum:
There were plenty of small lanes to wander through, a new city is always a new jewel to explore,
This one led up to Basle cathedral and the culture museum, both of which were well worth a visit.
Not quite Prague, but a fascinating clock nonetheless.
Did I mention it was cold?
The stained glass windows were pretty impressive.
There is still one of the original outer gates of the city in existence. Beautifully restored, the city have worked hard to keep some of their heritage intact.
We ate out both nights we were there, both nights were very expensive although very good. We spoke to a local couple on the first night and were told that the custom is not to tip in Basle (and probably all over Switzerland) as it’s so expensive unless the service really was exemplary.
The snacks and titbits available in shops and cafés all over the city were very appealing, although again expensive. Switzerland is expensive, Basle is expensive but its certainly a city that we enjoyed.