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    • Day 39

      Fünf Fotos-Basel Day 1

      May 22, 2022 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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    • Day 40

      Fünf Fotos-Basel Day 2

      May 23, 2022 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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    • Day 41

      Fünf Fotos-Basel Day 3

      May 24, 2022 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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    • Day 42

      Fünf Fotos-Basel Day 4

      May 25, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      "He was as fresh as is the month of May."
      Geoffrey Chaucer

      We woke up to the news of the Texas school shooting. As a former teacher, a father, and a grandfather, I have no words other than a feeling of deep despair and anger. I was haunted by that notion as I watched every parent on the streets of Basel today. As we made our way over to Basel's Altstadt GrossBasel (Old Town) we paused to watch elementary aged students play a game of Kubb, a game that is a hybrid of bowling and horseshoes. I loved watching the collective joy of the students engaged in this competition, and I couldn't help but think of students deprived of that joy and future promise. I hope that we figure out a better solution soon. Kids deserve to get to be kids.

      We took the time to tour the Basler Munster, a historical and strking sandstone cathedral that was once Catholic and ultimately became a Reformed Protestant Church. The church was originally built in the early 11th century and it was destroyed in an earthquake about three hundred years later. There were several modifications of architecture and style over the centuries.

      It was fascinating to tour the crypt and see the remains of the original cathedral with an integrated multimedia production that outlined the timeline of events in the church and society at the time.

      Among the famous people buried in the cathedral was Queen Anne of Habsburg and her son Charles; Erasmus, a Catholic priest whose writings has great influence on the Reformation movement; and Jacob Bernoulli, a mathematician known for his contributions to calculus.

      In the 1500's many of the paintings and statues of the original church were destroyed in rebellions against what was viewed by Reformists as idol worship. In the 1850's New stained-glass windows were installed. They were quite beautiful, particularly in the light of this sunny day.

      I've been meaning to share about one of the prominent icons that we have seen all over the city. At first I thought they were dragons, but we learned that they were instead the baselisk, In medieval animal books, basilisks are often depicted as hybrid creatures with the torso of and head of a rooster, and the abdomen of snake. A basilisk's gaze petrifies or kills. Its breath is deadly poisonous. The legend in Basel was that a jet black rooster laid an egg the size of the rooster and the townspeople must destroy it to save themselves from the hatching of the baselisk. The basilisk has remained an important symbol of Basel over the last five hundred years, and is now depicted carrying the town shield and coat of arms. Harry Potter fans might also recognize the reference to basilisks.

      After this visit, we took the light rail to see if we could locate where our river cruise ship was moored. We found it, and we learned that we would be able to board early although our cabin wasn't due to be ready for hours. We returned back to our hotel to retrieve our backpacks, and we made our way back to our boat.

      For the remainder of May (thus, my chosen Chaucer quote), we will be aboard Riviera Cruise Lines' MS Geoffrey Chaucer as we make our way up the Rhine from Basel to Köln, Germany. This boat is beautiful and new; it was commissioned in 2020 and Covid limited its use over the last two years.

      For the first several hours, we were the only passengers on the boat, and our room was readied for us early. The staff have all been very lovely and welcoming.

      We settled into our cabin, Room 222, with visions of the old TV show in our heads. We had a nice nap in our cabin and we then relaxed in the lounge and on the deck. We learned that there will be about 94 passengers on the ship, At first glance at our fellow passengers, it appears that we are on the younger side of the spectrum. Most of the passengers appear to be from the UK. I imagine that we'll have plenty of opportunities to meet them over the next week.

      We enjoyed a great dinner, and then we attended an obligatory safety briefing and an overview of our itinerary tomorrow. We feel very fortunate to have this experience. 💞
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    • Day 27

      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

    • Day 1

      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

    • Day 83

      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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    • Day 296

      Gegen den Strom

      June 19, 2020 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

      Immer gemütlich stromaufwärts bewegen wir uns zunächst Richtung Süden an Basel vorbei und dann immer weiter dem Rhein folgend Richtung Osten. Ohne Wind und deutliche Höhenunterschiede gestaltet sich das alles recht gemütlich. Und einen ersten Zeltplatz mit dem neuen Zelt im Freien finden wir direkt am Rheinufer kurz vor Waldshut.Read more

    • Day 3

      Hin und her in Basel

      July 11, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Morgens steht noch einiges auf dem Plan: wir müssen Lebensmittel einkaufen, ein paar Sachen in der Drogerie besorgen, zur Apotheke und Christians Rezept noch einlösen und auch tanken. Als das alles geschafft ist, fahren wir die A5 wieder Richtung Süden. Nach ca. 1 h Fahrzeit sind wir auch schon in Basel
      Als allererstes müssen wir uns eine Prepaid-Karte fürs Handy besorgen. In einem großen Einkaufszentrum steuern wir den ersten Laden an. Hier gibt es das was wir suchen nicht und werden zur Post um die Ecke geschickt. Die Post bietet allerdings nur Handyverträge, für die man einen Wohnsitz in der Schweiz braucht an und wir werden zu einem anderen Laden im Einkaufszentrum geschickt. Auch hier kann man mit Prepaid nichts wirklich anfangen und wir ziehen wieder ab. Als letzten Versuch steuern wir den 3. Handyladen an und es klappt endlich. Für 40 Fr bekommen wir eine Karte, die für unseren Aufenthalt reichen sollte. Das wäre schon mal geschafft.
      Als nächstes geht es zu dem einzigen ausgewiesenen Wohnmobil-Stellplätzen in Basel. Einen zentrumsnahen Campingplatz gibt es nicht. Die Sage und Schreibe 7 Stellplätze sind natürlich alle belegt. Alle anderen Stellplätze sind als Anwohnerparkplätze ausgewiesen bzw. haben eine Parkhöchstdauer von 1h. Also fahren wir weiter. Ziel ist ein Campingplatz im kleinen Erlach am Bieler See, der zwar ziemlich teuer, aber dafür super ausgestattet ist.
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    • Day 17

      Dr. Joe Dispenza

      August 7, 2022 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      Noch etwas abgefahrener als das vorangegangene Wochenende war das Seminar mit Joe Dispenza. Der US-Amerikaner scheint so etwas wie der „Popstar“ in der Meditationsszene zu sein. Das Seminar in Basel wurde von 7.000 Menschen besucht und war innerhalb weniger Tage ausverkauft.

      Sandra kannte ihn schon, für mich war das neu, aber ziemlich spannend. Er hat es sich zur Aufgabe gemacht, die Auswirkungen der Meditation wissenschaftlich zu belegen und hier schon wirklich viel publiziert. Seitdem meditiere auch ich… wer hätte das gedacht.

      Informationen und Videos gibt es im Internet zahllos. Danke Björn und Teresa für das Auto und Alina und Stephan, dass ihr die Erlebnisse mit uns geteilt habt.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Kanton Basel-Stadt, Basel-Stadt, Basel-City, كانتون مدينة بازل, Bâle-Ville, Basilea Città, 바젤슈타트 주, Basilea-Citad

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