ETH Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering

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  • Day40

    Fünf Fotos-Basel Day 2

    May 23 in Switzerland ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    "Today is Monday. If you don't know that the whole system might fall apart. " This was a leading quote on a wall art installation by a 32 year-old Swiss artist named Yoan Mudry that we noticed on our walk back to the hotel this evening. http://yoanmudry.com/) For the last quarter-century Kunsthalle has been commissioning art installations. Mudry's work was clever and provocative. A number of pieces caused a few laugh out loud moments for us while others were a bit more sobering.

    I am finding the combination of retirement and vacation as causing the abstraction of what Monday meant to me for decades of school and work. I do hope that my lack of orientation will not disrupt the system. 😆 On second thought, perhaps we would all be better off with a disruption.

    We launched the day after a light breakfast at the hotel with a river walk along the Rhine. Jim C proposed that we do it earlier in the day as the air was quite muggy, and hadn't yet begun to heat up. Initially, we thought we would walk up the river a bit and then cross the bridge to Altstadt GrossBasel (Old Town).

    We decided instead to stroll to a outcropping on the river where the borders of Switzerland,Germany,and France meet known as the Dreiländereck. On the way, we passed several moored river cruise ships including one from the company that will be hosting our Rhine cruise on Wednesday. It was pretty fun to see the boat up close and to dream about our upcoming adventure.

    When we arrived at the Dreiländereck, it was pretty fun getting email assurance alerts from my phone service noting my presence in new countries and my continued coverage. While we enjoyed the novelty of standing in the three countries, I want to share an observation from my friend Adin after seeing our FB selfie:

    "During my Berlin student days on a summer break, I visited a park where the boundaries of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany intersected.

    I recall watching the birds flit from one “nation” to another. That's when I learned the lesson that the powerful fabricate national borders. Schengen's gone a long way towards making them much, much less relevant."

    Thank you, Adin. It's a good reminder that there are too many artificial constructs that polarize us.

    I want to share a few impressions of Basel that we absolutely love.

    First, when we arrived at the hotel last night, we were handed a Basel card that gives us free access on all public transportation. The reduction of car traffic and a well-networked transit system has a clear impact on the carbon footprint as well as just making the city quieter. It was a Monday, and the whole day was tranquil.

    Second, we see many examples where something old isn't an abandoned eyesore, but a repurposing of something beautiful. Metal containers became raised bed planters planted with wildflowers along the riverwalk. Another example that we discovered on the way to the Dreiländereck was a temporary use area of all kinds of salvaged structures ranging from old ships to freight containers. While the area is only open on the weekend, it was a marvelous collection of restaurants, lounges and dance venues. There were many creative venues, and I'm sorry that we'll miss seeing them in action.

    Third, the city is immaculate. One can sense collective pride and welcoming to locals and visitors alike.

    On our return trip we noticed incoming thunderheads and lightning from afar. Rather than retracing our steps, we took the metro back and we stopped at a local bookstore. It was a good thing because the skies let loose with torrents of rain and dramatic bolts of lightning. While many were not prepared for the downpour, I noticed the general amusement of the people who embraced the rain with shrieks of laughter and resignation as they sought shelter. We waited for the rains to subside, grabbed some lunch and shopped for a few shirts before heading back to the hotel. As we were walking back, we noticed a small ferry boat latched to an overhead cable to help navigate a river crossing amidst the swift current.

    After a long nap, we headed out to a tiny gay bar and watched the people riding their bikes and walking. We couldn't help notice the number of adults riding bikes with cello cases strapped to their backs as they rode up hill as well as many children with stringed instrument cases who were accompanied by their parents as they walked together to their destinations.

    We grabbed a burger and fries at a local restaurant and on the way home after dinner we found the art installation previously mentioned.

    Happy Monday! (I'm just doing my part to preserve the system for one more week.) 🤣
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  • Day41

    Fünf Fotos-Basel Day 3

    Yesterday in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    We enjoyed a laid-back day today. Jim C headed to the laundromat so that our clothes would be ready for our river cruise launch tomorrow. When he returned back to the hotel, he remarked, "It turns out that the first stop was a dry cleaners so I went to France to do the laundry instead. " 🇫🇷 It is a bit surreal to cross the border without it being a convoluted checkpoint.

    Yesterday I remarked about us receiving a complimentary Basel Card that gives us free access on all public transportation. An additional perk of the card is discounts to a number of area attractions. We opted to take a trip to the Zoologischer Garten Basel (Basel Zoo) and when we arrived we learned that our admission price had a 50% discount with the card.

    It was almost as fun to watch the families and school children at the zoo as the animal exhibits. It felt a bit unusual to be at the zoo without Olive as we frequently take her there. Overall, the zoo made for a nice stroll. One of the exhibits had nutria, a rodent that resembles a beaver. When I looked at the geographical map showing the distribution of this species in South America- they forgot Oregon. I knew that nutria are an invasive species in Western Oregon as they were released in the wild decades ago.

    After the zoo, we went to the Markthalle, an open food market and seating area with an extensive cuisine representation. Jim opted for Pad Thai, and I had a Vietnamese noodle dish. I think we were both feeling a bit homesick for take-out back home.

    As we were leaving, I noticed the proximity of booths representing countries typically in conflict, and it served as yet another reminder about building bridges across cultural and political divides.

    Given our ample lunch, we opted to skip dinner and instead have a beer and people watch near a traffic circle. In contrast to traffic circles in Italy where it's a "me-first" mentality without attention to any other rules, Basel seems like a choreographed cooperation dance. It was fun to watch bikes, scooters, cars, busses and pedestrians looking out for each other. In particular any pedestrian approaching a crosswalk is given right-of-way without exception.

    I'm getting ready to call it a night with a cool breeze beckoning me to sleep.

    Gute Nacht, Freunde und Familie.
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  • Day39

    Fünf Fotos-Basel Day 1

    May 22 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    After one last filling breakfast at IL Segreto de Pietrafetta, we offered a grateful farewell to the staff who really made us feel at home the last ten nights.

    Today was mostly a travel day as we needed to get from Firenze to Basel, Switzerland.

    Our first leg of the journey was in returning our rental car with the added twist of navigating several street closures in Florence due to some kind of race event.

    I think that Jim C was very happy to relinquish the car as he was tasked with being the chauffeur extraordinaire. We walked a few blocks to the station and found our first leg of the travel: a two-hour fast train from Firenze to Milano. We rode coach for this leg of the journey to conserve some Euros. It was a bit crowded, but the trip was smooth and on time. We noticed that most of this segment was through rural northern Italy. It was pleasant, and less dramatic than the Tuscan hills. We arrived in Milano with about a 50-minute layover.

    I was really looking forward to this next leg of the trip as the path from Milan to Zurich goes through the Italian Alps and navigates around many beautiful lakes. We had a slight upgrade on this part, and I thought we might have a little more space.

    I was dead wrong about that.

    We ended up in a set of two pairs if seats facing each other- Jim and I at the window and two younger women whose expressions and body language for the next three hours exuded their displeasure that we were their "neighbors" The woman next to Jim removed a few layers of clothing and juggled some massive shopping bags. My "neighbor" turned her back to me, and the only words she uttered was to ask me to shift so the she had better access to the phone charging outlet. Meanwhile, Jim's new found friend decided to sit sideways in her chair with the delusion that somehow she would contain herself to her seat. I know that I'm giving this way too much energy. We were just taken aback by the experience.

    The mountains and lakes really were quite beautiful, and we passed over a bridge with many flags that we surmised was the border crossing.

    At one point, an automatic recording flashed on the screen saying that there was a problem with the train and that all passengers would have to disembark. In the midst of the announcement, the screens went dark and there was no further explanation.

    About thirty minutes later, we heard announcements in several different languages, and we figured out that there would be a few stops to let other trains pass. When I heard the announcement in different languages, all I could think of was the scene in "Young Frankenstein" where the conductor and passengers repeated the same scene in different languages while Dr. "Frahnkensteen" is traveling to Transylvania.

    We arrived about twenty minutes late to Zurich, but we still managed to make our last train to Basel with about ten minutes to spare. This last part of the journey went smoothly, and we appreciated having a row to ourselves. Our train arrived just before 8 p.m. Jim C figured out the light rail train that we needed just outside the train station. It arrived shortly after we reached the stop, and Jim C figured out the nearest stop. As we were looking on our navigation app to find our hotel, Jim looked up and pointed to our hotel about 50 yards from the metro stop.

    We checked in to our hotel room and decided to take a walk and find a restaurant. There is an Italian restaurant at the foot of our boutique hotel, but we both agreed that a break from Italian cuisine was a good idea.

    We enjoyed a walk over a bridge crossing the Rhine River knowing that we will become much more acquainted with the river later in the week.

    Our first impression of Basel is that it is clean and relatively peaceful for a city of 570,000 people. We enjoyed the sedate walk back to our hotel after dinner, and we look forward to exploring the city over the next few days.

    Gute Nacht, süße Träume!
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    Sorry for the ignorance of your fellow passengers!

    Jim Fotter

    It was a blip in an otherwise great travel day.

    Richard Isaac

    Enjoy Basel! I haven't been but know it as the site of the first Zionist Congress in 1897, a milestone in Jewish history: https://jguideeurope.org/en/region/switzerland/…. This is a famous photo of Herzl, founder of modern Zionism, in Basel: https://bit.ly/3Nu85ZP

    Richard Isaac

    With your beard(s), you could re-create that photo ;)

    Jim Fotter

    so cool! Thank you for sharing that, Rich.

  • Day83

    Show #34 Basel

    February 7, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 4 °C

    Ein schöner sonniger Tag in der Schweiz und wir verbringen die Zeit in einer komplett schwarzen Halle 😂.
    Zumindest am Mittag finden wir ein paar Minuten um mit Tee draußen zu sitzen und uns blenden zu lassen.

    Der Aufbau fing langwierig an, fand dann aber ein überraschend schnelles Ende.

    Leider ist es heute nicht so super voll, aber die Gäste feiern für jeden leeren Platz mit. Naja, so gemütlich ausgelassen wie der Schweizer eben feiern kann 😋

    In dieser großen Arena könne die Trucks rein fahren, was beim Abbau bzw. Laden einfach Gold wert ist.
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    Irene Falkner

    Hauptsache ihr habt Spaß bei der Arbeit 😘

    Marion Viefhues

    Klaaar immer 🎉😊

    Irene Falkner

    Die Sonne tut sooooo gut ☉

    Irene Falkner

    👍so ist das richtig 😆

  • Day1


    September 22, 2019 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Nach gut 6 Stunden Autofahrt haben wir gegen 16.30 Uhr unser Hotel in Saint Louis (Frankreich) erreicht. Das Hotel ist ganz in der Nähe vom Flughafen, von wo aus es Dienstag früh nach Island geht...
    Am Abend sind wir dann noch die 8km nach Basel gefahren und ein bisschen durch die Innenstadt geschlendert. Dort waren wir dann ganz lecker Essen, das Christian bezahlt hat, da er gestern Abend bei FIFA mit Frankreich gegen Hansa verloren hat :)
    Danach noch ein kleiner Spaziergang den Rhein entlang und dann ging es zurück ins Hotel, gerade noch rechtzeitig, bevor es wie aus strömen anfing zu regnen...Gutes Timing!
    Morgen erstmal ausschlafen und dann schauen wir mal was der Tag so bringt und was wir hier noch machen ;)
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    Voll die schöne Idee euch hier begleiten zu können. Viel Spaß euch 😍.


    Achso... Liebe Grüße von Sarah 😊


    Huhu man fühlt sich als sei man dabei:) viel Spaß

    2 more comments
  • Day1

    Basel und Emil

    October 5, 2019 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Heute hat uns der Wecker bereits um 4 Uhr aus den Betten geholt; so können wir also über einen richtig langen ersten Urlaubstag berichten. Berlin hat sich mit einem unangenehmen Landregen von uns verabschiedet, die Anreise zum Hauptbahnhof verläuft jedoch unproblematisch und unser ICE steht bei unserem Eintreffen schon einladend am Bahnsteig. Nachdem Räder und Gepäck gut verstaut sind, haben in den folgenden 8 Stunden nur die Kaumuskeln was zu tun, um sich intervallweise durch den üppigen Proviantberg zu kämpfen. Mit Lesen, Rätseln und "einfach nur sitzen" vergeht die Zeit rasch und gegen 14 Uhr erreichen wir Basel. Der Weg zum Hotel geht durch die schöne Innenstadt mit Überquerung des Rheins. Am Hotelempfang erhalten wir außer dem Zimmerschlüssel noch Tickets, mit denen wir kostenlos die öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel nutzen können. So stürzen wir uns in das bunte Straßenbahngewimmel und fahren zunächst zum Theater, um Karten für die Abendveranstaltung zu erwerben. Dann schlendern wir durch die hübschen Gassen und erfreuen uns an vielen hochwertig restaurierten alten Gebäuden. Schließlich holt uns das Berliner Schmuddelwetter ein und wir beschließen ein Ruhepäuschen im Hotel, bevor wir zum Theater aufbrechen. Es erwartet uns ein Kabarettabend mit Emil, der uns im Fernsehen und auf Schallplatte bereits vor über 30 Jahren erfreut hat. Hier in seiner Heimat spricht er Schwyzerdeutsch; das ist für unsere Ohren schwierig, man hört sich ein bisschen ein, Rüdiger mehr und ich weniger. Jetzt gibt es noch ein gepflegtes Glas Wein und dann wird das Licht gelöscht.Read more

  • Aug18


    August 18, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Basel ist anders, sehr gepflegt mit wunderbar schönen alten Gebäuden.
    Wie in einem Sissi Film.
    Die Gastronomie macht sich rar dafür ist sie sehr edel. Der erste Versuch etwas zu Mittag zu essen läßt uns schwitzen 😅 nicht aber wegen der hohen Luftfeuchtigkeit.
    Dicke Regentropfen zwingen uns zur Pause in der Kasernen Bar.
    Hier werden Tappas zu cooler Musik 🎵 serviert.

    Klybeckstrasse 1b, 4057 Basel, Schweiz
    +41 61 681 47 17
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    Wie gemalt😍

    Beate von Lübke

    Ich konnt’s nicht glauben, aber hier schwimmen 🏊‍♀️ die Leute im Rhein, einfach nur so... weil‘s erlaubt ist 😳

    Kira Misu

    Chorizo? 😁

  • Day27

    Basel/Weil am Rhein

    August 27, 2019 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    und wieder ein Tag mit neuen Geographie Erkenntnissen. Heute nochmal die Schweiz durchfahren und befinden uns jetzt im Dreiländereck D/CH/F direkt an der Grenze in Weil. Hochsommerliches Wetter veranlasst die Bevölkerung sich mit einem Schwimmsack den Rheinabwärts treiben zu lassen. In der Innenstadt geht man dann an Land und geniesst das Wetter bei einem erfrischenden Drink.Read more

    Jutta Gottschling

    Finger weg

  • Day6


    July 31, 2021 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Nach dem Aufstehen schnappe ich mir aus einem spontanen Impuls heraus das Rad und hole mir Brötchen von der Bäckerei. Das Wetter ist der Knaller (nämlich heiter bis wolkig), sodass ich gaaanz in Ruhe noch einige Sachen in die Sonne hänge.

    Die App hat mir nach Basel eine Route ausgesucht, die mich teils am schweizerischen Rheinufer und teils auf deutschen Seite entlang führt. Am Nachmittag erreiche ich dann Basel.

    Für Basel habe ich zwei Nächte in einer Jugendherberge gebucht. Ich schließe mein Fahrrad in den Keller und nehme mir fest vor, es erst zu meiner Abfahrt wieder rauszuholen. Dann mache ich mache ich mich zu Fuß auf, um mir die Stadt anzuschauen. Der Rhein legt auch hier ein beeindruckendes Tempo vor - kaum vorstellbar, dass die Leute hier tatsächlich im Rhein zur Arbeit schwimmen. Eine hübsche Altstadt und viele kleine Gässchen sehe ich, bevor ich übermüdet aufgebe und ins Hostel zurückkehre.
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  • Day1

    Devon to Basle

    May 9 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    (Updated) Started badly coming to a halt after 20 minutes on A38 just before it becomes the M5, fortunately stoppage was only 10 minutes and as usual once moving there was no obvious cause for the jam. Heathrow car park just after 12 and by 1 we were checked in and through security. Plane ready on time, then the normal 45 minutes taxi to the takeoff runway! Arrived Basle, interesting airport half in France and Half Switzerland, ( look for fence in photo, the other side is France), have to be careful which exit you use once you’ve picked up your cases. Short coach ride to ship and efficiently checked in. Only 63 passengers (capacity 168) this trip, partly as early season and partly because crew is short staffed as Ukrainian and Indonesian members have not been able to travel yet. Downside is second “Bistro” restaurant will not be open, ( tonight’s dinner in main restaurant was excellent), upside as compensation we have been given the restaurant drinks package, glad I didn’t advance buy,
    The ship is moored in the largest port in Switzerland, there are hundreds of containers a short distance further along the quay side just waiting either to be collected by lorries for distribution within Switzerland or loaded on a commercial barge to travel down the Rhine to France and Germany. Now understand the church we have been looking at during meals is actually in France.
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ETH Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich