Well, I was going to do some local sightseeing!

Basel Travel Blog

 › entry 13 of 16 › view all entries
Very pretty houses right across the Minster

Long entry, lots of photos, be warned!

So, the first leg of my 3 European phased holiday was approaching an end. And, well, as a fitting end, I decided to end it (I know, too many ends!) by sightseeing the town that I stayed in - Basel. Mind you, I did get a sneak peak the previous night when Christos and I went for dinner. We walked through the Old town, several spots which I'd be seeing this day as well.

So, as ever, woke up around 730a. Had breakie with Christos who promised he'd come back early in the evening. I then showered, packed up and left my luggage in the storage room. Two remaining lockers were broken, fortunately one was ok so I grabbed that, pushed a heavy 5Fr coin through the slot and left.

Basel Minster

There was a really nice church with courtyard flanked by long trees leading up to it, right next to the hostel. I wanted to visit but it was locked. I liked the walk through the church courtyard (I'd done it a few times now). That leads to a ramp up to the residential road dotted with white washed houses with very colourful and distinct borders. I continued walking till I reached the Basel Minster.

Prior to this, I walked past the city court where there was a very colourful wedding procession/celebration going on. Turns out a West african was marrying a local man (both looked in their 50s) and there was an African dance going on. It was fun to watch. I was taking photos next to their official photog, so it was kind of funny seeing the stares I was getting! It was fun to watch no doubt, I really miss that African gay abandon.

View from Basel Minster (one can see the old and the new!)

So, back to the Basel Minster: I'd mentioned in my Zurich entry about how this area went through a transformation from Catholic to Protestant. Well, this Minster was an example. The one thing that hasn't changed about it though is the fact that it's still one of the city's "skyscrapers". It also is the city's biggest tourist attraction. I went there about 1030a when the tourist crowd had started to pour in. Entrance to the church is free, but a trip atop the tower sets you back by 5Fr. The thing is, according to the notice written by the door to the tower, you're supposed to go in a group. So I asked the clerk - "can I go alone?". He says "no, but there's a family that just went in. Quick, join them". And so I ran. Then he calls me back saying in a not so nice tone - "you're supposed to pay".

Another of my favourite photos - something about this is so captivating. the space, the autumn colour, those lovely lampposts, etc.
I was quite angry - I told him I was going to, and that he was the who told me to run and catch up with that family. By the time I paid and went up the tower, I was alone anyways! The climb up was like.... well, another other tower. Lots of tourists, surprisingly from France. I meandered around the middle rung of the balcony taking in views of the wonderful tiles and steeples of the Minster, in addition to the Rhein and the modern part of Basel. I returned downstairs, had a customary walk around the interiors (nothing to write home about) and left past noon. I walked into the garden and cloisters, but again, nothing to write home about. There were some kind of festive decorations going on.

I spent some time just hanging around the courtyard of the Minster. The setting is really nice.

Basel Minster at a distance. Basel is a town of fountains
There's a row of pretty dotted houses across from the minster, flanked by the River Rhein on the other side. I don't know if it was the autumn weather and leaves, or the fairytale lamp posts, or the people, or the houses, but something about this moment gave it a very surreal setting. It's like I was in a Hans Christian Anderson story or something. I spent time just...well, sitting!

From here, I walked down the road that houses the museums, and also, some fountains. 1 thing I learnt about Europe, or at least Switzerland is that unless it says otherwise, fountain tap water is safe to drink. I overheard a tour guide who was explaining to some Asian tourists about how fountain water could even be purer than the tap water. She was giving some pretty good facts and plans for Switzerland going green.

Helvetia auf Reisen ("Helvetia on her travels"), statue in Basel. Helvetia is the female national personification of Switzerland.
.. and removing the concept of water purification is one such.  I spent some time here taking a lot of photos.

From here, walked past 2 churches (can't remember their names) onto the city centre (the Radhaus and the market square). This was, as expected - buzzing with people, trams and stalls. It was very lively and in total contradiction to, well, just 2-3 streets away that were a haven of silence and peace. I went into the town hall for their famed  murals and drawings. Met a couple of friends (well, 1 lives in London and discovered her neighbour from back home in the Philiphines now lives in Basel, through FB) so they were sightseeing. We had a good chat. I took lots of photos here. I reckon the Radhaus functions as an admin building because there was some heavy duty Govt type work going on when I peeked through the windows.

The allegory is typically pictured in a flowing gown, with a spear and a shield emblazoned with the Swiss flag, and commonly with braided hair, commonly with a wreath as a symbol of confederation.

Lunch was at McDs. Why? a) It had a great view from across the Town hall b)I needed to charge my phone c) i needed free wifi! 

After lunch, I continued walking as per the tourist map - visited a few more churches, walked the other side of the Old Town and returned to the Basel Minster for some more photos and a spot of rest outside.

The view on the other side of the river looked tempting, so I crossed the ornate bridge and had the most amazing walk on the other side. Very well planned town - tree lined avenues dotted with very colourful houses, flanked by the river  on one side, and so many water fountains of all shapes, sizes and for all kinds of purposes. I caught a boat to cross the river again (which was cool - it's actually drawn by a rope that goes from one end to another).

I just loved walking by the Rhein - beautiful scenery to be had here
 

I returned to the hostel by 530p - met Christos one last time and headed to the train station at 7p for my 745p train. I bought a baguette and a piece of cake for dinner. It was funny - the guy at the bakery was responding in German to my French questions. Funny how cultures work!

Train arrived on time - and it was smooth riding onwards to Zurich. The return journey seemed a lot faster than when I  left Zurich 5 days ago.

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Very pretty houses right across th…
Very pretty houses right across t…
Basel Minster
Basel Minster
View from Basel Minster (one can s…
View from Basel Minster (one can …
Another of my favourite photos - s…
Another of my favourite photos - …
Basel Minster at a distance. Basel…
Basel Minster at a distance. Base…
Helvetia auf Reisen (Helvetia on …
Helvetia auf Reisen ("Helvetia on…
The allegory is typically pictured…
The allegory is typically picture…
I just loved walking by the Rhein …
I just loved walking by the Rhein…
Crossing the Rhein
Crossing the Rhein
Crossing the Rhein
Crossing the Rhein
Crossing the Rhein
Crossing the Rhein
At the Basel Minster (climbed the …
At the Basel Minster (climbed the…
At the Basel Minster (climbed the …
At the Basel Minster (climbed the…
At the Basel Minster (climbed the …
At the Basel Minster (climbed the…
At the Basel Minster
At the Basel Minster
The church id walk by every day (…
The church i'd walk by every day …
Road leading up to the old town
Road leading up to the old town
Road leading up to the old town
Road leading up to the old town
Supposedly the oldest museum in th…
Supposedly the oldest museum in t…
typical house in Basel
typical house in Basel
The African wedding first thing I …
The African wedding first thing I…
Theyre dancing through the street…
They're dancing through the stree…
Tower of the Basel Minster
Tower of the Basel Minster
In the courtyard across the Minster
In the courtyard across the Minster
View from the Basel Minster
View from the Basel Minster
View from the Basel Minster
View from the Basel Minster
Inside Basel Minster
Inside Basel Minster
Inside Basel Minster
Inside Basel Minster
Basel Minster
Basel Minster
Basel Minster
Basel Minster
Basel Minster
Basel Minster
One of the several old fountains i…
One of the several old fountains …
These are how the city walks are s…
These are how the city walks are …
Another old fountain
Another old fountain
Forgot which church this was!
Forgot which church this was!
The oldest bridge in town
The oldest bridge in town
At the town hall /Radhaus
At the town hall /Radhaus
Murals at the Radhaus
Murals at the Radhaus
Murals at the Radhaus
Murals at the Radhaus
Murals at the Radhaus
Murals at the Radhaus
Murals at the Radhaus
Murals at the Radhaus
Murals at the Radhaus
Murals at the Radhaus
Helvetia auf Reisen (Helvetia on …
Helvetia auf Reisen ("Helvetia on…
Helvetia auf Reisen (Helvetia on …
Helvetia auf Reisen ("Helvetia on…
I just loved walking by the Rhein …
I just loved walking by the Rhein…
View of the Minster
View of the Minster
I just loved walking by the Rhein …
I just loved walking by the Rhein…
Model town
Model town
That rope is what the ferry boat i…
That rope is what the ferry boat …
I just loved walking by the Rhein …
I just loved walking by the Rhein…
some nice fountains
some nice fountains
I just loved walking by the Rhein …
I just loved walking by the Rhein…
Our ferry boat driver
Our ferry boat driver
Modern Basel!
Modern Basel!
Crossed the Rhein, back to the Old…
Crossed the Rhein, back to the Ol…
Crossed the Rhein, back to the Old…
Crossed the Rhein, back to the Ol…
Part of the old fortress (a block …
Part of the old fortress (a block…
Basel
photo by: spocklogic